Our little town– not the village, the town– has three pharmacies. When we moved here, we chose to do business with the small, not-a-chain one. Customer service was pretty good (although screwups were made) and there was a nice little selection of drug store stuff. Soon after the passing of a certain piece of legislation, it was bought up by a company in the business of buying small, independently owned drug stores. The selection of stuff diminished but customer service remained consistent, and we remained customers.
About a year or so after the transition, the company in the business of buying companies was itself bought up by a national chain and the formerly independent drug store was now “powered by Walgreens.” Things went down hill from there, and rather quickly.
With the first buying up, the staff remained the same– not so when Walgreens came to town. Obnoxious young pricks, some were. There was clearly animosity between the sanctioned-by-Walgreens folk and the old timers who had worked with the independent owner. And everyone had to wear stupid smocks of different colors so each employee’s place on the totem pole was advertised. Of course, there was the introduction of the new computer system, and the new system of identifying pharmacy customers by DOB, mother’s maiden name, first grade teacher’s name, SS#, phone number, etc.– and God forbid if you were picking up a prescription for someone other than yourself!– all of which those in the know knew were going into Walgreens database. And the security cameras. Right.
But the thing that finally got to me was this.
[Tetanus angle below the fold]
When a new customer, such as I, comes along, it didn’t take the ladies long to recognize her, to know she’s picking up for her husband, to greet her, “Picking up for Mr. John?” Chit chat. Those formerly pleasant, and I always thought proud of themselves, ladies were now empowered by Walgreens to greet her, “Welcome to Walgreens, how can I help?” And then, when the transaction concluded, “Have a Walgreens healthy day.” I asked one of the original ladies why she had to say that and she told me it was policy. Everyone had to do it. She looked ashamed. Also, the screwups ballooned. So we found another pharmacy.
But as life in the 21st century would have it, there is now an item that Walgreens has apparently cornered the market on, and so we must go to Walgreens. (I say must, but that’s not true. I could make this part of my Starkvegas errands, I suppose.) So the other day I called in a prescription and naturally the fake lady’s voice did not give me the correct options for refilling and I had to talk to a real person. Roll the die– got one of the nice ladies!
Went to town. Walked in. Waved to myself in the security camera. Walked up to the counter. “Welcome to Walgreens, how can I help you?” I had had a 50/50 chance. Rolled an obnoxious young prick. You know that little keypad thing you have to tap 16 or 17 times– yes, I acknowledge that if my check is returned for insufficient funds, Walgreens will hit me up for 40 extra buck, yes I am picking up for someone else, no I don’t need to talk to a pharmacist– just to complete a transaction? This bitch has an obnoxious habit of twirling the keypad around to herself and tapping. So after she looked back and forth at the stuff stapled on the bag and typed in my phone number, I twirled it back around. I mean seriously. Who is faster at typing my phone number it, she or I? I then tapped 15 more responses, took my bag, opened it, made sure it wasn’t screwed up, and hung on to it. This clearly irked her because she likes to staple my check– which she is returning to me– and receipt to the bag. Done and done and I am… .
Let me interject that I have to tap at the other pharmacy in town. I do it myself. But I have seen the ladies ask especially the really older customers if they need help, or prompt them which buttons to push. All very courteous and helpful.
I had turned and taken two steps when I heard her mumble something. In all fairness, maybe she hadn’t mumbled– Missy keeps telling me I should have my hearing checked– but as there was no one else in the entire store on the customer side of the counter, I knew she was addressing me.
“Pardon me?” as I take one step forward.
“When was the last time you had a tetanus shot?”
“What?” my tone might have been somewhat unpleasant.
She repeats the question and I just stare at her. WTF? But, a response was required and WTF won’t do. “I don’t mean to be rude, but how is that any of your business?”
“We are doing tetanus shots. When was the last time you had a tetanus shot?”
“I have no interest in answering that, and no interest in getting a tetanus shot.”
I was so ticked off I called Miss M!
So two things are going on here. The first is not all that new and is somewhat understandable. Somewhat. The clerk or tech or whatever smock she was had been commanded to persuade customers to get shots. Or fill out credit card applications, or sign up for this or that program. Who knows. Maybe Walgreens gave the formerly independent store’s folks a quota. The way she went about it was rude and obnoxious. “Ma’am, we are doing tetanus boosters this month. Have you had a shot in the last ten years?” Fine. Still not interested but she satisfies her obligation and I can respond civilly. Sellers & buyers playing parts.
The second isn’t new either. There have always been people who think they are entitled to extract information from others for no good reason. But what’s disturbing is the upward trend in the number of these obnoxious young pricks. There is an assumption that I am just going to acquiesce and comply with whatever demands are made of me. And the corollary, what used to be a choice to make is now something allowed.
Permission to discard an email, granted by Google. Demanding to know my personal status regarding a vaccination. One & the same obnoxious attitude. And it ticks me off.