MIDDLETOWN, NEW YORK -- Welcome to an evermore dehumanized world where a genuine smile is now extinct. I have found myself in the middle of a dispute with CVS, and not quite sure how I got to this point. It began when I went to fill an allergy prescription with a new insurance card. Having walked to the store with my 3 children, waiting for the prescription to be filled would be a nice rest on such a hot day.
Apparently, I was not the only person happy to escape the heat in an air-conditioned store. There happened to be an elderly woman sitting, obviously suffering with the weather. As I approached the pharmacy counter, she was harshly asked, "What do you need?!" from a loud woman behind the counter. She seemed flustered as she explained her need to rest. Why should any elderly person be questioned on such a hot day?? If that woman wanted to come in, grab a cold drink, sit in a chair, and put her feet up -- she should be allowed to. Instead, she was made to feel like a burden or eyesore.
Forgive me, I digress... Anyway, I give my script to a tech behind the counter along with my new insurance card. I asked if she knew how much this drug would cost. She simply said, "No" and left it at that. True Customer Service would have had her make a phone-call, check a chart, or ask someone.
This May seem petty to some but when you don't carry more than $20 on your person, these things matter. I wish that was the extent of my troubles -- I was then told it would take 30 minutes to fill, so I took my children to a neighbor store for 20 minutes before returning to CVS. When we returned, I was sure to purchase snacks for myself and my children as not to seem as loiterers (I mean, they kicked an old lady out for just sitting).
Knowing I still had 10 or so minutes before my script would be ready, we sat in the pharmacy waiting area and had our snacks. At that time, I see the 2 techs whispering and looking my way. The harsh-voiced woman then told me they needed verification from my doctor about the new insurance. All of this was said as I sat quite a distance away and she didn't even approach the counter... So much for privacy.
I nodded in response and continued to eat my Snickers bar - I could wait. I guess she didn't want me to wait because then she informed me that the verification process could take all day and that I was "crazy" if I wanted to wait! At this point she is still deep in the pharmacy area and talking across the way to me - so much for the HIPPA laws! As I was determined to sit and wait, a fax came through - the fax she said would take a day or more - it was regarding me.
My privacy finally became important to her, because she finally called me up to speak to her "in private". Instead of 15 feet apart, now we were 3 feet apart - too bad the volume of her voice didn't change! The tech puts the fax on the counter and tells me I have been terminated from my insurance. I found that odd seeing as that I had received the card the day before.
I meekly explained that I had not yet seen my physician with my new insurance so they were probably confused. The crass woman then picks up the fax, holds it eye level to me, and begins pointing at the name on the fax, loudly stating, "NO! NO! Your INSURANCE is saying you're terminated, NOT your doctor!" I couldn't believe this woman was talking to me as if I didn't speak the English language.
I asked her for a copy of the fax and that really ticked her off, but she gave it to me, eventually. I then sat down, took out my cell phone and called the insurance company. I, in fact, was an active member. Then I called my doctor, explained that I had new coverage and was told they had misunderstood the pharmacy's query. Two phone calls that took me less than 5 minutes to make. That should have been done by the people behind the counter.
Instead of dismissing me as some black woman who didn't pay her bill, they should have tried to help me figure out where the miscommunication was coming from. I relayed the information to the tech who seemed annoyed that I did her job for her. I informed her that my doctor would be faxing the info needed and that it should take no more than 2 days. There was no apology for not believing me nor one for her rude behavior.
As I left, I stopped the store manager and told him that his techs were very unpleasant, and I even told him that the loud one "needed an enema"! I called CVS Headquarters and told them this story. Has anything been done? If it has I don't know about it. This is only part one of my story, after all, I had to go back and get my pills! You'll have to check out part two of what I've termed "My CVS Experience".
SURFSIDE, FLORIDA -- I got my medication for free, but I ended up taking an incomplete dose, late, with a busted lip, graciously accompanied by prostitutes, drug addicts, geriatric alcoholics and the mentally ill - in prison. Shall we take it from beginning?
I walked into the pharmacy and said hello, and I asked **, the assistant, for my pills. She typed something into the computer and told me that my refill had expired. Judging by the way she brushed off my introductory hello, and her tone of voice, it was plain that she either lacked the most basic customer service skills or she really was in a bad mood. I asked if she would talk to my doctor, who had personally answered my call right away. With an expression bordering on repugnance, ** looked at my cell phone and announced that that was the pharmacist's job.
I asked where he or she might be. A man's shout identifying itself as the person in question came from a tiny cubicle. The man grabbed my phone from out of my hand. The attitudes of both employees had struck me speechless. I've been shopping at CVS pharmacies for 20 years - that's since they were called Eckers - but honestly, this Surfside, Miami Beach store was something new to me.
I muttered to myself that perhaps they were deaf. The pharmacist, Mr. **, had no hearing problem; he cut off the call with my doctor, and shouting again, he said that he wasn't going to sell me anything. He didn't like the way I was looking at him either. What? What?!
My health is delicate. I need to take these prescriptions daily for my digestion, for the rest of my life. I called 911 for help; they conveyed that the problem was not an emergency. It was then that I lost control. I was now the livid one, and I demanded service.
A pair of buffed out cops appeared. The way they walked in indicated they weren't there to clear things up. Quite the contrary. They had come to humiliate me even more by defending the candies that I had knocked to the floor in my show of disgust. The presence of the repressive force caused ** and ** to metamorphose. They suddenly began to act how they should have from the start, politely. The pharmacist said that he would give me the medication. It was too late, the everyday me had been pushed over the edge.
The bodybuilders cum policemen ordered me out of the store, and I refused. They took me by the arms and pushed me down, in the process busting my lip on the floor, and then handcuffed me. I cried that this was an abuse; I demanded a proper report of the events be taken. The officers waited until I was given the medication. The pharmacist "(oh, mother of Mary, so diligent and philanthropic!) said of course I wouldn't have to pay a dime.
The paramedics arrived to attend to the busted lip the officers had given me. I was then loaded up into the patrol car and taken to jail, where I fainted several times and was denied my medicine and medical assistance, but survived to tell the tale. I learned first hand that my experience was nothing compared to how two lady cops dragged an old lady in the middle of an epileptic seizure by the hair, but I leave that story for another time.
The next day, they took me to appear before a judge, who immediately let me go. I was "free". They returned my wallet. Ten dollars were missing. I was as shocked as surely you are now: robbed by the police! I felt lucky - one prostitute was missing her money, jewelry and cigarettes. We were both especially bummed about the cigarettes.
The police report's record of events started after the candy incident. The initial verbal aggression and the refusal of the employees to help me aren't mentioned. There is said to be a video, which I can have access to if I hire a lawyer; provided said video has audio, has not been edited, and covers all possible angles to establish causes, consequences and responsibility for the events.
It's been more than a month now, with me trying to recover physically and emotionally. I've also used the time to reflect on all the ** and ** working at CVS pharmacies and other places. These employees are poorly trained and paid even worse. They never get to sit; they have problems eating and sleeping because they work such irregular shifts. They are totally alienated individuals. For these poor souls, the American dream has long since turned into a nightmare they can't wake up from. They hate their lives, and consequently they are incapable of empathy with other human beings.
They derive pleasure from provoking and hurting people, especially those who, like me, have a triple minority condition: woman, Latina, handicapped. They know well that they are protected by the lackeys who serve the interests of big business: the officers of our brutal police departments. In the words of Huxley: "The individual will be repressed and oppressed, freedom and initiative will be abolished; only at this highest of prices may humankind survive."
Logically, I switched pharmacies. There's not much I can do: send these lines to different places, write a blog, a webpage, things like that. All talk and no trousers. This microscopic experience appears to confirm the idea that in small and great acts, the human race has already failed.
GILBERT, ARIZONA -- On 10/4/12 I went to my nearest Minute Clinic in Gilbert, Az and I paid my $10 convenience care Co-pay. I just received a bill for $15 from Minute Clinic on 11/04/12 stating that my insurance stated I owe a $25 co-pay not a $10 copay. Well my insurance card shows that convenience care co-pays are $10, on 10/4/12 before I went to the Minute Clinic I called my insurance company and was told that my co-pay would be $10 and when I got to the Minute Clinic the NP confirmed that my co-pay is $10 for convenience care and that is what I paid.
When I called my insurance this morning (11/05/12) I was told that CVS had incorrectly coded their claim as an office visit not as a convenience care visit and that is what triggered the $25 co-pay instead of the $10 convenience co-pay. I was told I needed to contact Minute Clinic and ask them to re-bill using the correct code. I called Minute Clinic customer service and got to **.
I explained to her the situation and ** was very rude and very unprofessional telling me that they bill as office visits not as convenience visits and she didn't care how that affected my co-pay and that I could have my insurance call them if they wanted to and hung up. I cannot believe at the rudeness of their employee and at the deceptive business practice of CVS/Minute Clinic.
I then re-called my insurance company and they called Minute Clinic and to try to sort this put and Minute Clinic told her they would "look into it". If you know that different codes trigger different co-pays then obviously Minute Clinic/CVS are out to deceive its patients and fraud insurance companies into paying more if you they knowingly upcode a visit as an office visit to get paid more.
So I'm in line at my local CVS about to pay for my Mountain Dew. As luck would have it, I get behind a member of my second least desirable class of consumer....The Coupon Queen (my least desirable is the thief).
Anyway, onto the story. Woman (call her Queen C) walks up to the counter with 52 sticks (yes...52) of some deodorant that was on sale for $1.99. Well it turns out Queen C also had 26 replicates of a manufacturer's coupon to buy one, get one free. The coupons carried a max value of $3.99. So the cashier finishes ringing and charges the customer 50 some dollars, which sounded about right since she was actually paying for only 26 of the sticks of deodorant at $1.99 apiece. Well this didn't sit right with Queen C who felt that since the coupon carried a max value of $3.99, that should have been the amount credited to her, which would have made the entire purchase free.
The cashier (who was super polite), explains that since the items were being sold at $1.99 each, that each coupon could only be worth the retail price of the item and thus she still had to buy the first 26 sticks in order to get the second 26 sticks free. So after several minutes of useless arguing and holding up the line, Queen asks to speak to the manager. Much to my chagrin, the manager decides to give Queen the max value of all her coupons, and 52 sticks of deodorant at no charge to her.
Now I realize coupons are a part of the retail game and keeping customers happy is obviously the goal. But retailers really, really need to take a stand and come up with ways to put limits on what these people can do. This lady didn't spend a penny in that store, and now all the good customers who want to take advantage of that sale won't be able to because one customer wanted to be greedy and abuse the manufacturer. Anyone else out there wish all coupons that exist on Earth would be invalidated?
So a fellow M3C user emails me several days ago, asking me to share with her the worst complaint I've ever heard or read from a customer. So I've decided to share with all of you. For those who aren't aware, back in the day I worked in a call center for a chain of department stores, so I've heard/read just about everything imaginable. Here's how I would cateogrize what I would hear.
CLASS A; Legitimate Complaints. These were the people who had a good reason for calling because the store they dealt with either couldn't or wouldn't resolve their problem, or gave them just an unreasonably hard time. Estimated percentage of call volume falling into this category was about 30%.
CLASS B; Wishy Washy Complaints. These were the nitpicky people who probably didn't need to call. Not that they were necessarily unreasonable or wrong, but usually what they were complaining about was not really a big deal like having to wait in line for a few minutes longer than they wanted to or something to that effect. Estimated call percentage was 60%
CLASS C; The Tattletales. These people would make me crazy. Customer would call me to tell me about some silly thing an employee did that in no way negatively impacted the customer's experience or the flow of business in the store. An example that comes to memory was a customer called me to inform the company that she spotted an employee sitting in his car smoking a cigarette and she didn't think that was professional. If you call "corporate" to tell them something like this, you have way too much time on your hands. (Call volume 10%)
Okay now to the classic. The dumbest complaint I ever got from a customer was from a man telling me that the store he visited was managed by an Asian female, and he didn't think this was appropriate. I asked him if he experienced a problem in the store or if this manager or an employee gave him a hard time, and he said "no," that his experience was actually very good.
I asked him if the store was neat and clean and if the service was efficient, and he told me "it was." So I asked him what his issue was with this manager, and he replies that "he doesn't like it that an American business is managed by a minority." (his words, certainly NOT mine). So in essence, this buffoon calls corporate to "complain" that he didn't like how this Asian female store manager did nothing but run a nice, clean, efficient store. It just shows you that no matter how good you are or try to be, it won't be good enough for somebody.
RIVERDALE, MARYLAND -- My Husband and Myself visited the one located on Riverdale road Riverdale MD to buy some training pants for my baby girl. Once we reached the register I gave my cell phone # with a 202 area code. She rung us up and the total was $11.12. My Husband gave her a 20 dollar bill and 25 cents, she gave him back 13 cents and then closed the register. He's like "I gave you 20 dollars where is my change?" and she called the duty manager and said that "I need you to count my draw because he said that he gave me 20 dollars and he could be telling the truth because I didn't count it."
What type of mess is this? How could you have ppl on the reg. that don't pay attention to what or how much money ppl give them? So anyway the manager then takes the draw without talking to us, goes in the back room for about 20 minutes then calls the cashier to the back and stay for another 20 minutes. Then the manager comes out and say her draw didn't come up short. OK what does that matter? She then says that he gave her a 10 dollar bill. OK how is that possible? The total was 11 dollars and 12 cents.
After her refusal to give us our change we called the police. The Officer claimed he watched the tape and that you could not see what the bill was that she received. The manager would not let me view the tape even with the Officer present. Something is very wrong with that. I also want to state that we only had a 20 dollar bill 4 ones and three quarters in our pockets at the time. The Officer gave some information on steps I can take to resolve this matter. We just got robbed by the CVS for 9 bucks!
CALIFORNIA -- I have been a pharmacy Tech for 3 years now, 2 years with Long's and 1 year with CVS. CVS bought us out a year ago and things haven't been the same since. Just to let all of you complainers know we do not try and be rude and give you terrible service. I would like to see some of you try to do our jobs, CVS has cut our hours so much that it is hard to get anything done when you are so short staffed.
There is 1 person taking prescriptions, answering phones, and inputting prescriptions all at once at my store. So sorry if you have been waiting 5 minutes and I haven't helped you, I am trying to do 3 peoples job at once. I only have 2 arms and 1 brain. I am sick of all the complaints with how much work we do for you people. I try and keep my spirits up, but it' hard to deal with customers cussing at you, throwing prescriptions at you, and complaints all day, it is not fun and you wonder why we are rude at times?
One time I was held at gunpoint for drugs, so we decided to shut down the pharmacy (God forbid we close) and a woman wanted to drop off her prescription and I said, "Sorry ma'am we're closed, we were just robbed," and all she could say to me was, "This is ridiculous, there is always a problem here." So I am sorry if we have been rude to any of you nice customers out there, but don't think it is because we get some type of sick pleasure out of it, it is because we are tired of being mistreated by all of you ungrateful people. Please just give us respect and we will do the same, we are people just trying to do our jobs, like everyone else.
CHERRY HILL, NEW JERSEY -- My son had been an employee at CVS in Cherry Hill, NJ since Sept '09. He was fired almost three weeks ago because he was accused of stealing. The Loss Prevention Manager in the Philadelphia region came into the store to "convince" my 16 year old son that he's been stealing approx. $20 worth of stuff and that they have been investigating him for a while now. She made him sign a confession sheet. He couldn't deny these accusations because she said they have evidence that proves he did it.
They made me come in and sign this too... I suppose because he's a minor. I did, fully believing my son was guilty at the time considering the "evidence" they said they have. When I asked to see it however, she said she wasn't allowed to show me.
After talking to my son and giving him every opportunity to "come clean" on this, he still asserts his innocence. After talking to numerous people at all different levels of the company from Loss Prevention to Human Resources, I finally got the LP Director to admit there is in fact no "evidence". They also couldn't come up with an accounting of what made up the $20 they said he stole. Another strange thing... the day this firing took place, the regular store manager left early and there was only a mgr trainee there which I believe is against their policy.
My son got along well with the store mgr which might explain why he wasn't in the building when this took place. I've been trying to get real answers for weeks now as to why this happened, and why to my son, a 16 yr old part-time employee. When he's tried to talk to other people who work there about this, they've said they can't talk about or they'll be fired.
I'm pretty sure I'm not ever going to get any answers from them and I'm also not sure if I can take any legal action against them. I know they don't have to have a reason to fire but are they allowed to blatantly lie to my son and me to get us to sign a document of theirs? My wife and I feel we have no real recourse. Any suggestions?
So many of you wishy washy people make me laugh when I read all these complaints. Let me help you understand how things work in retail. I used to work for the call center at one of America's biggest retailers (who will remain nameless) when I was in college, so I've heard every single complaint in the book a hundred times over. Trust me, there is NOTHING I haven't heard already.
First off, if you think your opinion counts for anything, THINK AGAIN. I was an 18 year old kid when I had the call center job and if memory serves me I made $12.50/hour. So when all the company's "valued" customers called "Corporate", you weren't talking to anyone with any influence in the company. You were talking to a young 18 year old boy who couldn't care less about you and your family and whether or not you ever came back to shop with us ever again.
Me and all my call center friends listened to the same complaints day after day, then we would apologize profusely, maybe send you a gift card if you were nice, and after we hung up we rolled our eyes and took the next call. We listened how long the lines were, how the cashier was rude to you, how the restrooms were filthy, how the prices were outrageous, why our return policy sucked, how nobody said hi to you when you walked in the door, how nobody told you to have a nice day, how there wasn't enough handicap parking, how your car got dented in the parking lot by a shopping cart and how you were going to take your business to my competitor.
It really was so repetitive that we became desensitised to it after some time. I can remember days when I wasn't in a people mood and I would just let you stay on hold for ten minutes even though I wasn't talking to anyone else, just because it would irritate you more. Of course, this job had an insane turnover ratio because most people can only tolerate being screamed at for so long, but I was able to stick with it because the money was pretty good for a college kid who needed to pass the time in between the weekends.
So in the end guys and girls, complaining may make you feel better, but it really doesn't accomplish much else. Any retail corporation (and any corporation in general) gets thousands of complaints each week from its clientele and very little changes ever take place. At the end of the day, if you don't like the way the establishment does business, don't give them yours. And please be advised that I was NEVER a disgruntled employee and I have no grudges against anyone then or now. I was just pointing out reality.
MAMARONECK, NEW YORK -- I've been a CVS customer for years!... I am well educated and finishing up a medical program. I was approached by a friend asking me if I would be able to work for CVS, because this specific store was short handed. I agreed, and I worked for CVS for over a year. Before I applied for the job, I actually took a course in pharmacy and even got certified as a technician. All of this while I went to school also.
First of all let me say that I feel for the customers of CVS. I know that the technicians and other employees could be rude. I've seen it with my own eyes. I have never once given a customer an attitude. I always went out of my way to always help everyone that I could. I worked for this company for over a year and I never received any sort of complaint on my behalf.
But working for this company was a nightmare. Management was horrible, they didn't even know how to do their jobs right. The store manager spent more time socializing with his employees then actually doing his job. Half the people that work in that store are illegal and working under false or stolen identities and social security numbers.
When I brought up some of these issues with the district manager and corporate, they gave me an attitude and was very rude to me. A few months later the same district manager came to my store and asked to talk to me. He told me that he no longer has a position for me to work in a pharmacy in our district, but has a position for me to work in another store as a cashier. I walked out right then and there and quit.
What I don't understand is that he told me that I wasn't qualified to work in the pharmacy when I'm nationally certified and more educated then anyone else in that store, yet people who don't even know how to read a script or use a computer are still employed there!
I rather be homeless and starving then work again for such a corrupt company like this. My family, friends and myself will never ever shop at CVS again! CVS doesn't care about their customers, all they care about is the money. Next time any of you decide to fill a prescription or even buy toothpaste from a CVS remember this, they don't see you as a human being they see you as a $$$$.