Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Hell on earth: Walgreen's sucks

I was in Walgreen’s the other day. I’m usually there a couple of times a day, even though it is one of my least favorite places in the world, and even though a terrible Walgreen’s store went in where a Rite Aid previously had existed across from my office. Although there are many terrible things about Walgreen’s, I have prepared a list of the top 5 terrible things:

1. The stupid products that are locked up. Many of the items for sale throughout the store are kept behind plastic cabinets that require a Walgreen’s employee to come and unlock a case with a key. On almost every aisle of the store, numerous key-access areas exist, requiring you to push a button. So, if I’m standing in the area for the stomach pills and it so happens that the brand of stomach medication I want is behind the plastic flap, I must push the button and listen to the chime and the recording of the old woman’s voice that echoes throughout the store: “Assistance needed in the Antacids Department.” An Antacids Department?

What is so infuriating is that some brands are behind plastic and others are not. The crappy Walgreens versions are often in the open, while the Prilosec is behind plastic. But not all of the Prilosec might be behind the plastic. Some sizes are too large or too small for the plastic, so those are just above it on the shelf. Once you push that button, and a sour Walgreen’s employee arrives to assist you [see more about sour Walgreen’s employees below], he or she pushes the same button and the voice says, “Antacids Department,” supposedly indicating that somewhere in the store, some poor soul with stomach issues has been approached by a Walgreen’s employee with a key. When I started to take two containers out and compare the ingredients, the guy sighed like “hurry up” and then finally said, “I don’t have much time.” I said it would just be a few minutes more and added an apology, but continued to compare the composition of the stomach pills.

Sometimes what is behind the plastic panel makes no sense: Crest is not but Colgate is. Vitamin E is not but Vitamin C is for one brand, and for another brand Vitamin E is and Vitamin C is not. The good news about some of the pills and products locked in the plastic key-access spaces: you can sometimes knock over a few containers of whatever’s adjacent to the case, and stick your hand into the locked area from the side. It means knocking over a few bottles of pills for $11.99 outside the case to reach your box of something for $3.99 inside. Sometimes it’s just easier than pushing the button and waiting.

2. The ugliness of Walgreens, whether it’s the “old” design or the “new and updated” store design. It feels old and dated. The uniforms are ugly. The logo is screamingly tacky. The store displays are ugly. The people who work there are ugly and unpleasant and have never smiled in their lives. And the people who shop there are really ugly.

3. The terribleness of Walgreens products. Need Sudafed? Buy Wal-fed. Looking for Claritin? They have Wal-itin. And Wal-dryl, Wal-tussin, Wal-act. In addition to the products that seem to have been named by a 50-year old woman who is a PTA volunteer in Deerfield, Illinois, they have created a number of fake “brands” that are really manufactured expressly for Walgreens including a line of stale peanuts, ‘European’ chocolate (Albania is in Europe), and dried fruit for $1 that tastes more like the added sugar and preservatives than the name of the fruit listed on the label. Many of their horrible products are actually marketed under the name Deerfield Farms. Do farms exist in Deerfield? Oh, and use your food stamps for some delish Walgreen’s Bridge Mix, Circus Peanuts, Peanut Clusters, and Walgreen’s Comfort Stretch training pants. They even sell their own Splenda-like product: delicious Walgreens Sucralose Sweetener Sugar Substitute in little yellow packets.

4. The awfulness of Walgreens coupons. Ok, so you’re browsing around the shitty Walgreen’s store and you see a sticker on the shelf under that can of toilet bowl cleaner that says ‘only $2.99 with instant savings coupon.’ Next to that is a bottle of dish detergent that says ‘only $2.99 with coupon in this week’s circular.’ Next to that is a can of powdered bleach that says ‘like spending $2.99 after the little crappy coupon is printed out at checkout so you can come back and save a buck on your next purchase.’ In the next aisle is a sign under some candy corn that says ‘2 for $5.00 (or $3.69 each).’ In order to get all of these savings, you have to run to the front of the store and pick up a circular and rip out the coupon, grab a copy of the monthly coupon savings catalog somewhere in the back of the store and take that powdered bleach to the front and buy it and hope that the sour Walgreens employee remembers to give you a coupon for one whopping dollar off your next purchase. And for the candy corn, you have to buy two to save any money, and if you happen to grab one bag of the Walgreen’s chocolate-flavored candy corn and one bag of the Walgreen’s banana-flavored candy corn and expected to pay $5.00, good luck to you because stock boy #1 only entered the banana-flavored candy corn into the computer system even though stock girl #2 put the savings labels under both. Basically, buying anything at Walgreen’s is a frigging ordeal if a coupon is involved.

5. The artificiality of it all. Nothing natural exists in the Walgreen’s store. If Alexander Hamilton were to appear and go shopping in San Francisco, I think the most shocking store he would set foot in would be Walgreen’s . Whether it’s the one at 3rd Street, 4th Street, or 5th Street, or any of the others a block away in any other direction, I think Mr. Hamilton would be mortified that the apothecary had become a bastion of artificial flavors and colors, and plastic-wrapped brightly colored boxes filled with chemicals for fat people to lose weight.

7 comments:

Sarah said...

i am a manager at walgreens and shockingly i could not agree more with your post. i, for one, will apologize on behalf of this stupid company on their dumb ass desicions. :)

Walgreens Medicare Part B Center Watch said...

If you work (or have worked in the past) at the Walgreens Support Center for Part B benefits in Cincinnati (West Chester) and have the inside scoop on anything, send us an e-mail at exwalgreens@yahoo.com. Know of anything illegal or shady going on? Gossip? Send it on over, we'd love to hear about it.

Anonymous said...

absolutely agree, I have e-mailed walgreens in the past-and no surprise-NO reponse.

sentry said...

I hate Walgreens and won't be shopping there at least until April, the end of their one year punishment. It's just like a bad hardware store. They are afraid you're going to steal something. Last time I bought something at Walgreens, I was greeted whild entering. That's okay. But then, going across the store on the aisle in the middle, and looking down the aisles for what I was after, the person greeting me walked across the front of the store, specifically to watch me where I finally stopped. The greeting was not to greet, but to practice 'anti-shoplifting'. This store considered me a shoplifter. Not a potential shoplifter, even. Certainly not a valued customer. I'm not a thief, and sure won't shop at a store which treats me like one. They'll get another chance next year, but they'll blow it again. Just like Staples. Screw them, if they treat you like a criminal and not a valued customer. There are plenty of other places to shop, and some of them are genuinely friendly and welcoming.

Anonymous said...

This is a terrible rant. Yes, fake splenda sucks, but so do you.

Anonymous said...

What is even worse about Walgreens is the millons of dollars that are thrown away. If a can is dented, box messed up alittle or a product expires in 30 or 90 days it all goes in the trash! Walmart,Kroger and others donate these items to their local food banks to help feed the hungry. Walgreens wont do this because it would be to much work and a chance for employee theft. This company is a really sad company. El dorado, Kansas Walgreens throws thousands of dollars worth of product away in just their little store.
This company has a serious problem!!

Anonymous said...

Fyi Walgreens does donate items.

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