Walgreen’s: Really?

by Loolwa Khazzoom • October 22, 2014 • Keeping It Raw

My mom needed some over-the-counter meds urgently. My mom is disabled, and all her usual suspects for helping out were unavailable, for one reason or another, so she had no way to get to the local pharmacy, which is Walgreen’s. I asked a friend to pick up the meds for my mom, and he agreed. The catch was that he said he didn’t have the money to pay for the meds, and my mom didn’t have the money either. Meanwhile I was managing the whole affair long-distance.

So I called the Walgreens closest to my mom’s house and spoke with the manager, explaining the whole situation. I asked if I could pay online but have my friend pick up. After putting me on hold and talking with some Walgreens powers-that-be, he said he was “99% sure” it would work – ie, that I could order online and that my friend could pick up the meds that night.

So I went online and attempted to place the order. The manager had advised me that I would get the option for “in-store pickup,” but I didn’t. I only got the options for shipping to my address. So I jumped onto the online chat. After about 10 minutes of back and forth, with the representative telling me that it seemed the meds I was ordering were not available for in-store pickup, I was told that I would need to call the Walgreen’s national phone number.

I did as told and seemed to have successfully placed the order with a very helpful representative (who later turned out to be the supervisor on duty). The thing is, at the end of our call, she told me that the only place where the meds could get picked up in the store was at a location quite out of the way. I informed the representative that the local store manager had advised me that I could arrange for pickup at his store. I then did a conference call to that store, so that the manager and national rep could communicate directly.

Due to some glitch in the call, both the national rep and I were able to hear the head cashier, who picked up, and the head cashier could hear the national rep and me, but the national rep and I could not hear each other. A communication circus ensued. Finally the manager got on the phone, and I was able to explain the situation to him. In a backpedaling move, he told me that he had thought it might be possible to order an in-store pickup from online, but that he had not been sure. He apologized for the confusion.

Since I was unable to hear the national rep, I had to call the national phone number again. A different representative answered the phone and asked for identifying information like the spelling of my name and my email address. I get way too much spam as it is, so I told her I did not want to give out my email address. She said that they needed to have it. I said I didn’t want to give it but that I was happy to give her other information. She said that she needed it “to identify” me. I asked what she was identifying me for and what records she was looking at. She said she couldn’t find anything on me. I told her I don’t have an account. She said that she needed to look up my information. I asked what information she needed, and from where, reminding her that I do not have an account.

It’s like I was talking to a wall.

“Are you trying to look up my account information,” I finally spelled out for her, “because I do not have one.” That’s when she told me that she would need to create an account and that she would need my email to do so. I told her that I did not want to create an account, that I wanted to order as a guest. She told me that was not possible. Knowing I had just done that, I asked to speak with a supervisor. She told me that no supervisor was available until 7 am the next morning. I hung up the phone.

I called again and spoke with a third representative. She assured me that the meds – which I had found in my online search, and which the first phone representative had found in her search – were not available, like, at all. I assured her they were. She kept rattling off this med and that med by the same company, and I kept telling her that was not the med. I gave her the full name of the brand and the med, subtitles included. She still was unable to find it, after several tries. I asked to speak with a supervisor. Fortunately this representative actually acknowledged that there was a supervisor, and put me on hold to speak with that individual – who turned out to be the first phone representative I had spoken with.

The new representative got back on the phone and told me that my order was still on hold with the original phone rep, ie, the supervisor. Still, for some Walgreen’s-representatives-are-idiots reason, it took about another 15 minutes to move forward on the order. She needed the spelling of my name, several times. She needed my phone number, several times. After telling her at least once but probably twice that I was arranging an in-store pickup, she asked what kind of shipping I wanted. “I don’t want shipping,” I said. “As I said previously, I want an in-store pickup.”

She then asked for the address of the store where I wanted pickup. The first rep had simply asked for the zip code, so I asked why I had to give her the full address (twice, of course), when it was one of their stores. She assured me that she needed the address, so I complied. She then asked about my shipping preferences. “I don’t want it shipped,” I said. “I want in-store pickup.” That’s when she told me that the only way to get in-store pickup is to have the products shipped to the store. In other words, over the previous 90 minutes, nobody had bothered to inform me that I was not in fact paying online or on the phone so that my friend could pick up tonight, which was the whole point, but that I would be paying for the products to arrive in a few days, well after they were needed.

“You have got to be kidding me,” I said. I then asked to speak with the supervisor. The representative told me she would “consult you with the supervisor.” I said I didn’t want her consulting with the supervisor; I wanted to speak directly with the supervisor. The representative said, “yes I’m going to consult you with the supervisor.” She then corrected herself, saying she would “connect” me with the supervisor.

As I began telling the supervisor the whole saga and attempting to get the pick-up to be arranged post-haste, my friend – whom I’d been updating throughout the ordeal – told me that he would spot the cost of the meds. So I told the supervisor “never mind, I don’t need any help,” and gratefully hung up the phone.

I have just one word to say to Walgreen’s: Really?




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About Loolwa

Loolwa KhazzoomLoolwa Khazzoom has worked with leading media outlets, including The New York Times, CNN, Rolling Stone, and ABC News. In addition, she has published two books and has lectured at prestigious venues including Barnard Center for Research on Women, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, and Harvard University. Loolwa is passionate about health, music, dance, multiculturalism, and Judaism.

Holistic Media, Marketing, PR

Loolwa Khazzoom is a a public relations manager specializing in holistic media, holistic marketing, holistic public relations, and holistic promotions. Her services include branding and messaging development, image and communications management, website content development and optimization, social media management, traditional media campaign management, book development, and in-house writing and editing.

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