January 5 – CVS is Hell

 Let’s be honest, dealing with the pharmacy at CVS is torture.  It is what I imagine hell will be–eternity spent waiting for your prescription to be ready.  Our CVS is always busy, busy, busy.  There is usually a line for the pharmacy counter while the four or five women behind the counter run around like mad processing prescriptions.  A constant voice hovers over them repeating, “Pharmacy call on line 1,” … “Pharmacy call on line 1,”which they are very astute at ignoring.  I know to never, ever call because I will be on the other end of that line waiting for someone to pick up.  It is easier to just drive over and stand in line. At least they can’t ignore me (much). 

            Today the waiting customers looked defeated.  But one guy is unwilling to accept the attitude and keeps going up to the counter asking about his prescription.  The overworked and stressed-out pharmacy clerk who looks like she just needs a break tries to explain to him that they are working on it.  But you said it would be ready in half an hour and it is almost an hour, he argues.  She did not flinch.  I really feel for the clerks.  I think if I was in their position, I’d be the same way.  After a while, it would be really hard to care as someone vents.  It becomes a cycle of angry customer to clerk I-don’t-care, to an angrier customer to clerk I-really, really-do-not-care.  The employee numbness syndrome sets in and forget it. 

             In our store waiting in line means staring at the baby product aisle.  Aside from shampoos and eczema cream, I study the whole industry devoted to breast feeding, from pumps to storage to nipple balm.  I finally get to the counter and, of course, my prescription is not ready despite my having called it in three days ago.  As I wait, I wander around trying to bide my time.  The place looks like a Soviet-era shop with empty shelves and jumbles of unwanted products.  It’s a mess.  They lock up stuff to prevent shoplifting.  I am fascinated by what gets the protection—Tylenol, electric sinus rinse devices, and razors seem to be popular with the petty theft crowd.  Then I spend some time browsing through women’s magazines.   It’s January—diet season has arrived  Lose three dress sizes in thirty days!  Finally, almost an hour wasted and they call my name and I hurry out  of the store wishing I never have to go back. But alas….

Companies wonder why on-line shopping is so popular.  Because I never have to wait.  I never worry about the vagaries of inventory.  I can always find what I want and I don’t have to waste a trip.  It may be more expensive, but it saves me a lot of time and frustration. Think about that CVS.  Customers who are not frustrated are happy customers.  

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