Wal-Mart Complaint - Over-the-counter medicine (or lack there of)
KNOXVILLE, TENNESSEE -- This is pertaining the Wal-Mart store on Walbrook Dr. in Knoxville, TN.
I went into to buy three items. One of those items is an over-the-counter, store brand, non-drowsy cold medicine (ephedrine-free). This is an item I purchase regularly. As I look for it on the shelf I notice, instead of the product, there are cards available to take up to the pharmacy window. The more expensive product, Vick's DayQuil cold medicine at about $4-$5 a box, is still available on the shelf. I also notice that there is no longer a price tag for the store brand product. I look a little farther and notice that all store brand cold medicine, including children's, is now no longer available on the shelf and none of them have a price tag underneath them. All name-brand products are still available on the shelf.
I pull a tag to take up to the pharmacy and notice it is still closed. (During this time I notice an elderly man come up to the pharmacy and notice it is closed and turns away shaking his head.) Because I am in a hurry I ask an employee working nearby if there is any way I can get this product sooner. Her curt response was "No" with no further information. So I ask to speak with a store manager. She says she will call one and disappears around the corner. In a few moments she is back with a manager. I ask him if there is any way that I can get the product sooner since I have a sick child waiting for me (I was also purchasing children's tylenol). He says there is no possible way until the pharmacy opened 15 minutes later. I then asked him why the medicine was now being stored behind the counter and how recently had this changed. He replied that the medicine could only be dispensed by a pharmacist because of new regulations, (here the employee inserted her two cents and said it was because of Bush's Patriot Act in a very snotty voice - obviously that employee has not got her facts straight), and said that it has been like that for a while. Turning to the other employee he asked her how many months had it been that way. I jumped in here to tell him that it must have been very recently as this was a product I bought often. The other employee agreed with me and said it had only changed recently. (Now either this manager was being very rude to me, a customer, by showing off how little I knew or he was mistakenly thinking of the cold medicines containing ephedrine that our state recently regulated because of high amounts of illegal drug manufacturing.) Anyway, he informed me I was just going to have to wait until the pharmacy opened. As I was so shook up by this, (I am not in anyway a confrontational person), I did not think at that time to point out the lack of price tags and the name-brand product that was still available on the shelf. I will let Wal-Mart know that customers are becoming aware of their tactics to force customers to purchase higher priced products when the pharmacies are closed. What if you are sick or have a sick child during the times the pharmacy is not open? You are forced to pay a higher price or go somewhere else?! I think Wal-Mart needs to consider either 24-hour pharmacies or keeping a pharmacist on call in the store.
What ever happened to ALWAYS LOW PRICES? I think they need to change their slogan to Always Low Prices - WHEN IT IS CONVENIENT FOR US!