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CVS Pharmacy / my side of the counter

1 United States Review updated:

The first thing I want to say is I have read several of your complaints, not just about cvs but about walgreens and walmart pharmacies as well, and yes several of the stories are...horrifying. In fact, I, in most cases I thank my lucky stars not to be working with coworkers who are as rude as some of the pharmacists/techs you are describing. Some of you have had genuinely bad experiences.

But please, please keep in mind there is another side to the story. The person behind the counter is a human being too. I'm not saying you always have to be sugar sweet. You ARE the customer, and I agree, you DO come first, and my personal opinion is whatever pharmacy you are using, whether it be cvs, walgreens, walmart, whatever, has every obligation to do the very best they can to help you. If there is something wrong, please let them know. But, if the person behind the counter is going to calmly listen to your complaint and try to do something about it, please explain yourself as calmly as possible. (If they're rude to you, then I say have at 'em, or simply leave, because I agree, rude and impatient employees do not belong in a pharmacy). The person helping you is much more likely to do everything in their power to serve you, and follow through, as long as you don't get short or sarcastic, or personally insult them, or spit in their face (this has happened to me). This may seem like behavior 101, but as a pharmacy tech I know: there are days when we become punching bags.

I come home most days thinking I am masochistic, because I love my job, but I take a lot of abuse. And there is a simple explanation for this. I believe that my area of customer service is one of the toughest. If I worked in a restaurant, or at a movie rental store, or a grocery, the one advantage to being in any of those environments is that the customers who come in CHOOSE to be there and shop, spend their time and money, etc. Nobody wants to shovel out money for pills. Nobody wants to be sick. Let's face it, nobody relishes a trip to the pharmacy. It is something the doctor told them they have to do, and many times they have to do it because they are ill, get a bad diagnosis, whatever. When it comes right down to it, most of my customers hate the prospect of dealing with me before they've even met me. I'm another headache, a time waster and money drainer that they did not CHOOSE to deal with. I'm down one from the get go.

But this is why a high level of patience is required. I've been told I have this, but I don't know. Anyway, one thing I sympathize with about most of the complaints is lack of communication. If I see a problem with somebody's prescription, pa required, high price, no insurance applied, new insurance needed, etc, I call the number we have on their file. The customer NEEDS AND HAS A RIGHT TO KNOW what is going on. Communication is vital. Please help us; if you change phone numbers, let us know. I know it's not the first thing that comes to mind when you move, giving the pharmacy your phone number. But people get so angry with me when one of these situations arises and I didn't call them; my honest answer is I tried, but your current phone number is not on file with us. Oh yeah, that's right, you moved two weeks ago. But I should have found some other way. I am still called stupid, and the thing is I am not allowed to talk back. I cannot talk back to a customer, I personally believe this, customers do not deserve rudeness, no matter how rude they are to me. I sit and listen quietly and tell them that now that we are in this situation, here are our options. I will do whichever of these you like, just let me know. And it is so disheartening to me to hear the phrase, "Go blow your brains out, you incompetent bumbling fool, " worked subtly in to the response I get back. I got in to this profession out of a desire to help people, and they all hate me despite my efforts. I consider suicide on a regular basis, by the way.

Additionally, I know some of the things that happen are extremely frustrating. But I will say this: 90% of the time the employee you are talking to is not the one who dropped the ball and caused whatever error it may be. I can't tell you how many times I've been yelled at, cursed at, told very literally to go **** myself for something that happened when this is in fact the first time I've become aware of the situation. I apologize profusely to the person, I tell them I agree, this is inexcusable, I am going to make this right for you while you are standing here, I promise. But despite apologies, and despite the fact that I do resolve the problem while they are there, I am the one that has to take all the flack for somebody else's irresponsibility, I'm told that I should be fired, that I am overpaid (at $9.00/hr), that MY pharmacy always screws up (I am the farthest thing from the top of the totem pole by the way, I have no authority at all). I guess what I'm trying to say is, when something does go wrong with your rx, do not hesitate to say something to the pharmacy staff. But don't unleash unbridled and uncensored tongue lashings on the tech you bring the issue to (unless, of course, they are rude to you first- again I do not tolerate rudeness from fellow techs). Please. Please. Please. Because you are a human being, but so is the tech.

To wrap up, I guess (not that anybody will read this whole thing, I've just had a bad day and am feeling down on myself), there are terrible employees in pharmacies. I know. I've seen them. Some of my past coworkers have been awful at dealing with people. But some of us do want to help. I want to help. You will hate me, but you deserve service. I genuinely want to try to make your life easier, answer your questions, and get to know you as a customer. I swear if there is something I tell you I cannot do, it is because I will lose my job for it (write a fake prescription, fill a control early, give away free meds, don't laugh people ask me to do these things), not because I want to impose hardship. I come home every day basically depressed, borderline suicidal. I try and try and try, nobody thanks me when things go right, but they drill me for things that inconvenience them as if I personally stayed up all night trying to plan the best way to sabotage the prescription. I feel sometimes like I've got a bullseye on my forehead that says "Here's a pushover, get him." But I just have to accept the fact that maybe I did help somebody, even if they didn't thank me or even realize it themselves yet. And I have to wear a thick skin, and take it.

There are two sides to the counter. Your side. And my side.

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  • Ne
      20th of Apr, 2009
    0 Votes

    I know what how you feel white coat, keep it up. There are more people like us, trust me.

  • Sp
      5th of Aug, 2009
    0 Votes

    I have to disagree with you about something. You referred to people as "customers'. Sorry, but as a colleague in pharmacy, they are not customers, they are patients.

  • Ro
      11th of Aug, 2009
    0 Votes

    no, they are customers because customers bring in more money for evil company, aka CVS.

  • La
      20th of Aug, 2009
    0 Votes

    I agree. I feel like everyone just assumes I don't care. I have customers that have been awful to me.
    We didn't have this ladies Prenatal vitamins in stock once and I was yelled at for a good ten minutes about how I was killing her baby and how I was such a B**** for not doing something about it. I offered to call all of the of the other local pharmacies, order it for the next day ect. but she wasn't having it. I didn't know what to do. She actually made me cry.
    I had a customer come up to me as I was leaving the store at closing who needed her birth control. This is 10 o'clock at night and we had already locked the doors. She told me I'd have to pay for her Abortion.

    Have a little respect for the people trying to help you. Thanks.

  • Do
      21st of Oct, 2009
    0 Votes

    Not all pharmacist are as calm and understanding as you are. There are plenty of psycho "patients", "Customers" or whatever you want to call them out there that should treat you with respect as well. YOU don't have control of what their insurance covers, you don't have a personal relationship with the CS rep from their insurance, You can't pull their meds out of your butts, ears or mouth, and you can't put this one particular persons Rx in front of everyone else's b/c theirs is MORE IMPORTANT!!! I understand believe me my sister is a Pharm Tech and she is a witness to this on daily bases. I too worked in customer service in the Cosmetics deparment of a Major department store. The customers from hell walk in demanding stuff and its so not necessary. If these kinds of customers are reading this now just know that you have not the slightest clue of what its like working behind the counter with someone yelling at you for something you have no control over. If we are offering you a solution that is not sufficient to you take what we can offer or LEAVE...get the eff out of there!

  • Je
      23rd of Feb, 2010
    0 Votes

    Thank you...We live in a time now where customer service is not represented or respected as well as "years gone by"... Too much form over substance has taken the place of genuine smiles and nice to see you comments.
    Its all about manners, which use to be taught at home sitting at the table with your mom and dad...saying, may I please be excused, or may I please have more mashed potatoes? Perhaps if we just slow it down a notch and think before we react, that may help, just a little... anyway, kudo's to all of you trying to make other people's day as pleasant as you can...and sometimes without a reward. Thank you very much, and it was a pleasure talking to all of you...

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