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Disgraceful Behavior at CVS Pharmacy

Posted Thu January 24, 2008 12:00 pm, by Heather R. written to CVS

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On December 29, 2007, at 9:30 a.m., I had dental surgery to replace gum tissue that had receded from my teeth in the lower right jaw quadrant. After the procedure was over, my periodontist gave me prescriptions for antibiotics, prescriptive mouthwash and pain pills. I went to the CVS pharmacy closest to my house, located at 6360 West Third Street, Los Angeles, CA 90036, to have it filled.

Once there, I waited in line for ten minutes while the girl behind the counter read a beauty magazine. When she finally decided to help me, after being prompted by her supervisor, she informed me that my prescription would take 30 minutes to fill. At that time, it was 11:35 a.m. I returned to the pharmacy at 12:10 p.m. to pick up my prescription. I was then asked by another girl for my insurance card, which took another 30 minutes of my time to enter it into the system. At 12:40 p.m., I went back to the pharmacy to pick up my prescription only to be told by the attendant that the pharmacist had gone to lunch. She told me that as no medicine could be released without the pharmacist's approval, I would have to come back in 90 minutes, after she had returned from lunch. I asked if there was another pharmacist present only to be told that she was the only attending pharmacist at the store at that time. I was then curtly asked to "step aside," as other customers were waiting. I stated that I had been waiting for over one hour already for my prescription to which she stated, "Yeah, 90 minutes is a long time to wait in a lifetime." I then asked to speak to a manager. The manager came just as she was telling another customer that she could not release her diabetic medication for 90 minutes due to the pharmacist going to lunch. The customer became visibly upset and was also referred to the manager. The manager rudely told the diabetic customer to "calm down" or she would not help her. The manager then went on to explain that the pharmacy could not release any medication without the pharmacist's approval or CVS would be fined. She then walked away without another word.

Exactly what kind of operation are you running? Not only do your employees have zero customer relations, but they seem to likewise have zero understanding of the repercussions of such outrageous behavior. The only pharmacist on hand leaving the store is the equivalent of the only emergency room physician leaving the ER. It cannot happen. It should not happen. Do you have any idea of the consequences that could occur if customers do not receive their medication? A diabetic could go into shock and in my case of post-surgical care, serious complications could ensue without proper antibiotics. As there is a strong nexus between receiving proper medication and preventing complications or disease, liability would fall squarely on CVS for failing to ensure proper standards are kept. I do not think that anyone needs to remind CVS of the lawsuits that could ensue from such egregious conduct.

I am further shocked at your employees' cavalier attitude toward their customers. Your customer is your base, and word of mouth travels quickly. My friends, family and colleagues were shocked that such a widespread business such as CVS would hire people who would behave in such a glib and uncaring manner. The matter is especially disgraceful when taken in light of the fact that it happened at the pharmacy, where healthcare and good bedside manners are paramount.

Lastly, I would like to state that if it is CVS policy to leave the pharmacy "unattended" while the pharmacist takes a 90-minute lunch break, signs should be posted letting customers know so their time can be used more efficiently.

I want a personal apology from either the attendant, pharmacist or the Pharmacy Manager.


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by John W. Posted Tue February 15, 2011 @ 3:38 AM

This is a reply to everyone who has posted on this complaint. I work
for CVS pharmacy in Illinois and have since I was 18. I have worked in
the Pharmacy and in the front of the store, as a chasier, pharmacy
technician, and manager, And I am currently in my final semester of
pharmacy school and taking part in clinicals at a local hospitle. With
all this experience I feel I am probably in the best position to
comment on all of this.

First to comment on the actions of the staff. If they actions that
were discribed were accurate then I agree they are disgraceful, and no
excuses can be made. The managers actions were especially

Second to address the practices in the pharmacy. Corporate policy
states that for every 8 hour shift a person is to receive one 15
minute and one 30 minute break. In every CVS district near me there is
one pharmacist for a 14 and a half hour shift monday through friday,
and a 8 hour shift on saturday and sunday. The reason there is only
one pharmacist is because corporate has cut hours dramatically. This
causes there to be time during the day when there is no pharmacist on
In Illinois, and in most states but not all, a technician can sell a
perscription without a pharmacist present if it has been verified by
the pharmacist. This verification is the final step in preparing a
perscription. For a person with no documented medical conditions or
extencive perscription history this process only takes a few minutes.
If you have taken or are taking other perscriptions recently or have a
condition this process can become prolonged.

When it comes to insurance cards and insurance companies you enter a
whole new issues. If you have never been to the pharmacy the
technicians have to create a profile for you and enter your insurance
information. This in itself can be troublesome because although it
seems like there are only a few insurance companies there are
literally millions of insurance programs and cards. Each card has a
specific number identifying the type of insurance. This number pulls
up a list of coverages. These coverages vary by state, coverage level
of the card holder, and company. Once this list has been pulled up it
is up to the technician to choose the correct one. There is no sure
fire way to choose the correct one. It is basically an informed guess.
After years and years of practice a technician may know exactly how to
enter only a handful of card types. All of these steps are for a new
patient, but that is not the only problem. Every year cardholders are
issued a new card. Often this new card contains new numbers or new
informations. This starts the process all over again. The next problem
comes when submitting your new perscription to your insurance. If you
have had the medication before or if it is a common medication this
normally goes smoothly, but I would say ever 1 out of 10 new
perscriptions is denied. There can be many reasons for this. The
following are just a few reasons for denial of coverage:strengh of the
medication, the physical amount of the medication being dispenced, the
brand, or the medication might not be covered at all. Most of the time
the pharmacy is given a reson for a denial and they are able to remedy
the problem, but this still takes a few minutes. Sometimes the only
way to fix the problem is for the pharmacy to call the insurance
company and talk to someone. If you have tried to call any companies
help line you will know that this can be a very frustrating and time
consuming taskl;however, calling an insurance company about a denial
is not acually the responsibility of any pharmacy or staff anywhere.
It is the cardholders responsiblity to insure that they are covered
for a perscription.
All of this means that a process that is ESTIMATED to take 30 to 45
minutes can be drawn out to hours in some cases not because of the
pharmacist, the staff, or the pharmacy, but instead because of the
insurance company that takes so much of your money.

Another issue that people do not seem to understand is when pharmacies
have to deal with the doctors and dentists. Doctors and dentist do
know what medication to perscribe for specific ailments and they do
have some basic knowledge of medications, but they are just doctors.
Doctors are trained to diagnose ailments and perscribe medication that
should remedy the problem. They spend on average 8 to 12 years in
school learning all of these things. During these years they learn
about viruses, diseases, and other ailments. They learn about
medication as a second or even third focus, and because of this they
make mistakes. Pharmacists recieve the same amount of education, but
their focus is on the medications. It is the pharmacists job to insure
that the medications perscribed are correct and that they do not
interact with existing medical conditions. Pharmacists are the ones
who know about medication not doctors. That is why they exist. No one
knows more about medicine than a pharmacist. A comparison can be made
between a pilot and an airplane mechanic. The pilot may know how to
tell someone what was wrong with their plane and even be able to
explain why, but the mechanic is the only one qualified to repair the
So your doctor may perscribe you a medication but that does not mean
it is the right medication, does, or strength for you. If it is not
right the pharmacist may call and get a new correct perscription
written and faxed or sent in. Also if the perscription is not legable
then a call must be made in order to verify. A pharmacy cannot take
your word on what a perscription is written for by law(blame the drug
addicts and liers out there for that). If there is any problem with
the script as it is written it is not the pharmacies responsiblity to
get the problem corrected. Pharmacists and technicians do this because
they CARE.

So in summary. CVS has cut hours in order to insure that they continue
to make astronomical amounts of money. By cutting hours they are
forcing pharmacists to work 14 hour days. In Illinois any employee
working at least 7 and a half hours must take a 20 minute break no
later than 5 hours into their shift. Although each states laws vary,
all states have similar labor laws. During these pharmacist break
times no perscriptions can be competed and only previously completed
perscriptions can be sold. And finally if your insurance card needs to
be entered then your wait WILL be extended.

If you want to insure that you only have a 30 minute wait time then
these are the things you should do. Bring the perscription to the drop
of counter. Be sure you have the name and phone number of the doctor
who wrote the script(doctors signitures are almost impossible to
read). Bring your RX insurance card(it is not always the same as your
medical insurance card), and if you have not had a perscription filled
in the same calendar year give your insurance to the technician with
your perscription. Also to insure that if there are any problems with
your script it can be remedied be sure your doctors office is still
open at the time you are getting the perscription filled. And go to
the pharmacy at a time when they are not busy or taking their breaks.
The times of most pharmacy volume are early morning when people are on
their way to work or school or about 8am to 9am, around lunch time for
customers or about 11:30 to 2 pm, and the busiest time of day is when
schools and work days are ending or about 2:30 pm to 5pm. Now also
remeber the pharmacist has to take a break somewhere during that time
period and they most likly will be doing that during a low point in

Hopefully with all of this information you can get a glimps of a how
retail pharmacies work. The people who work in these positions do so
because they want to help people. With all the schooling and work they
put into their attaining their jobs technicians and pharmacists at
stores such as CVS, Walgreens, and RiteAid could have followed a
different careers and made the same amount of money. The customers who
come to a pharmacy often come straight from a doctor or dentists
office where they had to sit and wait in order to go through something
that is never pleseant. So often the customers are not happy when they
arrive. Then they are told they have to wait again before they get to
go home. As a result it is easy for the customers to become upset. The
staff deals with this to the best of their abilities, but you have to
remember this is not a once a day occerance. It happens over and over
all day, and after a while it wears on the staff as it would with
anyone in that position. On top of all that quite often the staff is
blamed personally for any problem that arises. Any job that deals with
the public is stressful, but pharmacies stress levels are heightened
by the issues being addressed. So give these people a bit of a break
when dealing with them. They may not know your situation, but if you
calmly talk to them I am positive more often than not they will be
glad to help you.

After all this I would like to say that after working at CVS for so
many years it is defenatly not the greatest company. In my area it was
not until last year that we recieved pharmacy computure software that
is made for this CENTURY. They have cut hours in the pharmacy and
front of the store to such a degree that we are ALWAYS understaffed.
Their policies and managment practices are not condusive to a well
functioning company. The longer I work for the company the more I
think that the people who work in the far away headquarters no nothing
about running this type of company. Although the company has many
flaws you cannot blame the store level employees for these problems.
We do our best with what we are given every day. Sometimes it is our
fault when there are problems and I will be the first to admit it, but
9 times out of 10 we do not cause the issue we just have to fix it. If
you have a problem in the future try and understand that it may not be
the employees who caused it. It could be the company they work for,
the laws of the state they work in, the insurance company, or even the
doctors. Ask for an explination if you want to know what is wrong, and
hopefully with the information I have provided you can understand what
they tell you.

For what it is worth I apologize for any incedents that were
unsatisfactory at any CVS anywhere. If you have any questions or
comments your welcome to contact me at jhnsmit@msn.com

by lolo l. Posted Thu June 17, 2010 @ 10:20 PM

Heather, I believe you are most likely being over dramatic. I work for
this company (not at that store.) I take pride in making customers
happy, but there is a legal stand point to the process of filling
scripts. CVS has also cut hours back tremendously on hours which leads
to poor customer service from lack of staff. Speak to corporate do not
lash out at the employees. 1-800-SHOP-CVS

I take this personally since I have had people purposely complain
about me and make up lies and being over dramatic to get me in trouble
when I do nothing but try to make you people happy. TAKE A CHILL PILL.

by vvega5 Posted Sat January 16, 2010 @ 2:14 AM

Firstly, do you take a break when you are at work? I'm sure you do,
so don't get in a tizzy because a pharmacist wants to take a break as
well. Most doctor's offices regularly take one to two hour breaks
every single day, in which the entire office closes down. Secondly,
you state how serious consequences could occur if patients don't
receive their medication, which is true. However, a retail pharmacist
not being available is not in any way equatable to an ER doctor
leaving the emergency room. If you are in the emergency room and are
discharged to fill your prescriptions...it clearly is no longer an
"emergency". If it were an emergency, YOU WOULD STILL BE IN THE
EMERGENCY ROOM. And in the case of the diabetic, there exists what is
called "patient responsibility". This means that you do not wait
until you are in an emergency situation to get your prescriptions
filled; as a patient and an ADULT you are expected to fill your
prescriptions ahead of time to prevent such instances from happening.
And if you are irresponsible enough to allow yourself to get in the
situation where you desperately "need" your medication ASAP, you do
not go to CVS. YOU GO TO THE EMERGENCY ROOM. I think you are having
a slight problem discerning what is an emergency and what is your
clear lack of patience. When you go to the doctor, even the emergency
room is most cases, you expect to wait don't you? People often wait
hours to see an emergency room doctor and their own personal
physician, why is a pharmacy expected to be any different? Also,
please try to understand that you are not the only person in the world
using the pharmacies services. Pharmacies fill hundreds of
prescriptions every day, and there are many other extremely
intolerable and impatient just like yourself who demand their
prescription be filled INSTANTLY. When multiple people come in at
once and need their prescription asap, there is no choice to wait.
And a pharmacy is more than just pill counters, pharmacists have
doctorate degrees and are trained to screen your profile for drug
interactions or incorrectly written prescriptions from doctors. This
takes time. Working in a pharmacy myself, you have no idea how many
possibly fatal mistakes pharmacists have caught from prescriptions
written from doctors. There is a lot more to filling prescriptions
than just counting the pills and putting them into bottles, more than
you can ever imagine, and the service pharmacists provides requires
time and you should be glad that they are there to protect you. Add
in the time it takes to deal with extremely prevalent insurance
issues, and the fact that you did not have your insurance card
information (which again is your responsibility and contributed to the
delay in your prescriptions) and it all equates to simple patience in
waiting for the process to be done correctly. Do not come into the
pharmacy expecting to get fast-food like service and instantly have
your prescriptions be ready. Pharmacies are not mcdonalds, the
process takes time and just like you would in a doctors office or an
emergency room be prepared to WAIT. When people like you come into
the pharmacy is hassle pharmacists to fill your prescriptions as fast
as they can, you increase the risk of errors occurring. By calling
the manager, complaining etc you are only causing the process to take
longer. Would you want a pharmacist rushing and not taking time to
ensure the dose/drug is safe for your child just because you are too
impatient to wait? Just because a doctor wrote the prescription does
not mean that it is completely correct, again doctors make a scary
amount of serious mistakes that pharmacists prevent. And again,
everyone is entitled to a break, you, your doctor AND pharmacists.
You're just angry your antibiotic and pail pills were not done at the
speed of light. You're clearly just an extremely uninformed and


Customer Service by Lysander S. Mon February 22, 2010 @ 7:37 PM

by \\ Posted Thu January 22, 2009 @ 2:28 PM

Let me give you an answer :)

1) You need to find yourself a new dentist who gives a prescription
before surgery. Good dentist and surgeons do that ...

2) The pharmacist by law is entitled to a lunch break. Humans need to
eat food to live. The pharmacist is a human, therefore he needs to
eat! Don't you?

3) Talk to your insurance and ask them why they are cutting pharmacy
reimbursements so maybe there could be two pharmacist splitting a 12
to 14 hour shift. You could talk to CVS about that too (why they like
to break labor laws?).
And "Yes" if you take an hour lunch, then you got to give yourself
about 30 minutes to takes care of the bag of problems that come your
way at soon as you walk back in. So 90 minutes is about right if the
pharmacist just walked out and that he is the only person in duty.

4) If you want quality service why are you going to CVS?!! It kinda
like going to Burger King and expecting a 5 star hotel restaurant
mannerism. Find yourself a good old fashion pharmacy.

5) CVS is a grocery store that decided there was money to be made
selling drugs. They don't care about you. Don't be naive now. If they
did they put MORE HELP in there. Please don't compare CVS to an ER you
are trying to compare apples and oranges. In an ER you are a patient
at CVS you are a customer two completely difference ways to see

I hope this helped

The one who knows


by Brad F Posted Fri December 12, 2008 @ 12:40 PM

My own experiences with CVS have shown that the pharmacy staff just
does care. Either this is because of poor training or corporate policy
- but in the end it doesn't matter if the problem is caused by
management or staff - the pharmacy service sucks.

CVS should get out of the pharmacy business and stick to what it is
good at, being a small grocery store.

Pharmacy work should be left to companies that can hire, train and
retain good staff. CVS can't or won't do this.


correction by Brad F Fri December 12, 2008 @ 12:47 PM
by Confidential C. Posted Sat July 12, 2008 @ 10:53 AM

I am a pharmacist in New York State, and I would like to first say
that I firmly do not believe that that man waited 10 full minutes
while the technician read a magazine. It did not happen. He would
have said something to get the clerk's attention. Secondly, in New
York State most retail companies do not give their pharmacists any
break whatsoever. It is crucial to note that these pharmacists work 12
to 14 hour shifts! There are, not only legal implications to this
odious behavior, but there is also the matter of mental and physical
well being to the pharmacist. Pharmacists are expected to remain
professional, courteous and tolerant of rude customers. However we
are human, and when 10 hours goes by and you still haven't eaten food
that feat becomes extremely difficult. I would also like to note that
within those 12 to 14 hours, a pharmacist has to also assume the role
of a cashier, liaison with physicians' offices and many other roles
that we did not endure 6 years of schooling for. My personal favorite
is when we spend 40 minutes on the phone with a patient's insurance
company, only to take the brunt of the customer's anger when drugs
aren't covered. Finally, I would like to say that a patient's health
is important to me,but i don't buy this person's story. If he was in
so much pain, he would not have waited the 30 minutes (especially
after supposedly waiting 10 minutes to even be acknowledged) he would
have taken his presciptions and gone to another pharmacy.


by mickey m. Posted Thu April 10, 2008 @ 3:17 PM

I am a pharmacist and I will tell you it is not an easy job. CVS does
not give you enough tech hours. They want you to fill 400-500 rx
daily w/ the least number of tech hours. They also does not give you
any overlap b/w pharmacists. That means I have no break of any kind
what so ever. Sometime, I can't even use the bathroom b/c customers
are waiting and everyone wants their meds in less than 15 minutes. It
is really not the employees who doesn't deliver good customer
services. It is the company who wants to increase profit while
decrease expenses (like tech hours) that serve up the bad customer

by musekill Posted Tue March 4, 2008 @ 3:43 AM

[From and CVS employee message board on the internet]

"Why does it take so long to fill a prescription?"

You come to the counter. I am on the phone with a drunk dude who
the phone number to the grocery store next door. After I instruct him
on the virtues of 411, you tell me your doctor was to phone in your
prescription to me. Your doctor hasn't, and you're unwilling to wait
until he does. Being in a generous mood, I call your doctors office
and am put on hold for 5 minutes, then informed that your
was phoned in to my competitor on the other side of town. Phoning the
competitor, I am immediately put on hold for 5 minutes before
to a clerk, who puts me back on hold to wait for the pharmacist. Your
prescription is then transferred to me, and now I have to get the 2
phone calls that have been put on hold while this was being done. Now
I return to the counter to ask if we've ever filled prescriptions for
you before. For some reason, you think that "for you" means "for your
cousin" and you answer my question with a "yes", whereupon I go the
computer and see you are not on file.

The phone rings.

You have left to do something very important, such as browse through
the monster truck magazines, and do not hear the three PA
announcements requesting that you return to the pharmacy. You return
eventually, expecting to pick up the finished prescription.....

The phone rings.

......only to find out that I need to ask your address, phone number,
date of birth, if you have any allergies and insurance coverage. You
tell me you're allergic to codeine. Since the prescription is for
Vicodin I ask you what exactly codeine did to you when you took it.
You say it made your stomach hurt and I roll my eyes and write down
"no known allergies" You tell me......

The phone rings.

.....you have insurance and spend the next 5 minutes looking for your
card. You give up and expect me to be able to file your claim anyway.
I call my competitor and am immediately put on hold. Upon reaching a
human, I ask them what insurance they have on file for you. I get the
information and file your claim, which is rejected because you
jobs 6 months ago. An asshole barges his way to the counter to ask
where the bread is.

The phone rings.

I inform you that the insurance the other pharmacy has on file for
isn't working. You produce a card in under 10 seconds that you seemed
to be unable to find before. What you were really doing was hoping
your old insurance would still work because it had a lower copay.
new card prominently displays the logo of Nebraska Blue Cross, and
although Nebraska Blue cross does in fact handle millions of
prescription claims every day, for the group you belong to, the claim
should go to a company called Caremark, whose logo is nowhere on the

The phone rings.

A lady comes to the counter wanting to know why the cherry flavored
antacid works better than the lemon cream flavored antacid. What
probably happened is that she had a milder case of heartburn when she
took the cherry flavored brand, as they both use the exact same
ingredient in the same strength. She will not be satisfied though
until I confirm her belief that the cherry flavored brand is the
superior product. I file your claim with Caremark, who rejects it
because you had a 30 day supply of Vicodin filled 15 days ago at
another pharmacy. You swear to me on your mother's'....

The phone rings.

.......life that you did not have a Vicodin prescription filled
recently. I call Caremark and am immediately placed on hold. The most
beautiful woman on the planet walks buy and notices not a thing. She
has never talked to a pharmacist and never will. Upon reaching a
at Caremark, I am informed that the Vicodin prescription was indeed
filled at another of my competitors. When I tell you this, you say
got hydrocodone there, not Vicodin. Another little part of me dies.

The phone rings.

It turns out that a few days after your doctor wrote your last
prescription, he told you to take it more frequently, meaning that
what Caremark thought was a 30-day supply is indeed a 15 day supply
with the new instructions. I call your doctor's office to confirm
and am immediately placed on hold. I call Caremark to get an override
and am immediately placed on hold. My laser printer has a paper jam.
It's time for my tech to go to lunch. Caremark issues the override
your claim goes though. Your insurance saves you 85 cents off the
regular price of the prescription.

The phone rings.

At the cash register you sign....

The phone rings.

......the acknowledgement that you received a copy of my HIPPA policy
and that I offered the required OBRA counseling for new
You remark that you're glad that your last pharmacist told you you
shouldn't take over the counter Tylenol along with the Vicodin, and
that the acetaminophen you're taking instead seems to be working
pretty well. I break the news to you that Tylenol is simply a brand
name for acetaminophen and you don't believe me. You fumble around
2 minutes looking for your checkbook and spend another 2 minutes
making out a check for four dollars and sixty seven cents. You ask
the tablets look different than those you got at the other pharmacy.
explain that they are from a different manufacturer. Tomorrow you'll
be back to tell me they don't work as well.

Now imagine this wasn't you at all, but the person who dropped off
their prescription three people ahead of you, and you'll start to
an idea why.....your prescription takes so damn long to fill.

by musekill Posted Sun March 2, 2008 @ 11:22 PM

I'm a Pharm Tech at CVS and I found this post when doing a google
search for issues regarding breaks for Pharmacy staff.

Let me first say that I'm sorry you had a bad experience at CVS. As a
Pharmacy employee, I can tell you that it may have been a busy day and
there may have been a lack of communication or miscommunication going
on. Considering what goes on behind the counter, miscommunication is
very likely.

However, since this is off the record, I can also say there are
definitely two sides to this story.

As for breaks behind the counter, I am currently fighting for my
breaks while working behind a Pharmacy counter. I have never seen one
of my pharmacists take a break, except two minutes to use the
bathroom. By law and stated within the CVS employee handbook, we're
entitled to a paid 15 minute break when you work 4 hours, a paid 15
minute break and an unpaid 30 minute break for six hours or two paid
15 minute breaks and an unpaid 30 minute break for 8 hours. However,
its the front store that gets those breaks. It's the unspoken status
quo that if you work behind the pharmacy counter at CVS, you're too
busy to take the breaks you're entitled to by law. This isn't just my
CVS. I did my research before working for the company and talked to as
many employees or former employees as I could. CVS pharmacy staff are
notorious for not taking breaks.

As for the pharmacist, it has been my understanding that a pharmacist
only gets a break if there are two pharmacists on at that time period.
However, I've never seen this happen. Theres actually a rumor among
CVS employees that pharmacists have to schedule their bathroom breaks.
Also, pharmacists are allowed to leave the pharmacy as long as there
is another pharmacy employee behind the Pharmacy counter. This happens
very often, because the pharmacists will go out in the aisles to
counsel patients on OTC products. However, I have NEVER seen a
pharmacist leave the pharmacy counter for more than 10 minutes. If
that really was the case at your local pharmacy, then that is a
problem with that one store or that store's district, not CVS as a

Did you stop to think at all that maybe it was a rough day for your
local Pharmacy? Just because we're supposed to be all smiles and
speedy, polite customer service, doesn't mean we're not people, too. I
am so sick and tired of how rudely customers treat people in retail.
We're not robots or your personal bitch, so don't treat us that way.
We work in this environment, so we know the ins and outs and just
maybe sometimes we know a bit more than you do about whats the best
way to do something (especially in the case of being fair to ALL
customers and not pushing other customers out of the way just to cater
to that one customer thats making a scene).

And it's not like CVS as a whole doesn't have a way of dealing with an
issue such as yours. Just recently, our feedback went under 90%
positive. What does that mean? If 20 people call in about our customer
service and 3 people have a negative comment, we're considered a
"challenge store." We were told we should be up around 95. What does
that mean for the employees? If we forget to smile to 1 our of 10
customers, we're in the dog house. CVS is extremely hard on their
employees about customer service and the employees have very high
standards on which they are graded.

So if you wanna go mouthing off about what kind of operation CVS is
running, fine go ahead. Just know that you're doing it in ignorance of
CVS culture and what really goes on behind the scenes.

It is customers like you that make it hard for us to smile. Can you go
8 hours of being treated rudely by hundreds of people and still smile?
What if we mess up once or twice? That doesn't mean we didn't do the
job the best we could for the hundreds of other customers we saw that

Seriously, get a grip on reality. Don't start a campaign against some
company just because you had a bad experience. It's bound to happen in
the service industry. It's the nature of the beast.

I find it funny that the employees who can't do a damn thing about
their company's policies are the ones who get yelled and screamed at
by the customers. Those employees are also the ones responsible for
the customer service. So lets review: the employees that are
responsible for the smiling are the ones who take the beating. Hmmmm.
So yeah, think again the next time you get the urge to get pissed off
at the employees you actually see in a store (cashiers, techs,
managers, supervisors, pharmacists, ect). Because just maybe... we're
human just like you.


by June Posted Mon February 4, 2008 @ 11:18 PM

I had a really bad experience with my CVS Pharmacy here in Michigan
and have not returned.
I have several prescriptions a month and have switched to Walgreens.
They treat their customers like they should be treated.
I agree that when it comes to medicine, you need to have professional,
caring people working for you.
They are only there working because you are bringing them business.
Don't they get this? If they treat everyone this way, eventually they
won't be needed.


It's so funny when you think about it. by BlackJack Sat March 22, 2008 @ 12:41 AM
by Jilajig2 Posted Tue January 29, 2008 @ 4:14 PM

In regards to your situation concerning any medications not being
released without the approval of a pharmacist; that would actually be
a federal law, in which case if it was violated by the Manager of the
CVS he could face jail time and lose his job. You are not worth him
losing his job and going to jail. Also, the pharmacist is allowed to
have a lunch break too. You cannot fault him for that one. If I wanted
to go on a lunch break and had worked hard for one, your concerns
become secondary to me, as I would probably not get paid for working
through my lunch hour to help you get your medicine. Money talks, you
know. While there could have been ways to prevent your wait from
happening, there was none set in place at that time, and they should
apologize to you for making you wait. But as far as the stuff about
getting your medicine without the Pharmacists approval? No-no, that's
jail time there.


I see how you look at it. by sammysmumm Mon February 4, 2008 @ 1:20 AM

To be honest with you... by PsychoSekc Mon February 4, 2008 @ 1:55 PM

I agree 100%... by Harleycat Tue February 5, 2008 @ 10:18 AM

Need Insulin? How about food? by Timothy C. Fri August 29, 2008 @ 12:11 AM

by redheadedmama Posted Mon January 28, 2008 @ 10:31 PM

I would never put up with that at all. I would definitely report them
to the corporate offices because that woman could have gone into a
diabetic shock and you could have serious complications with you
surgery. If that had happened, they could be sued!


your picture says it all by BlackJack Sat March 22, 2008 @ 12:59 AM

by MA Cunningham Posted Sat January 26, 2008 @ 1:55 PM

I'm with the other posters, 90 minutes for a lunch can't POSSIBLY be
right. Secondly, If the pharmacist had dispensed the Rx beforehand,
where is the problem?

I'm also not buying that they can't even give out the Rx's when the
pharmacist goes to lunch. If he or she dispensed them, then weren't
they alreadyshoul approved and all they should need to do is ring them
out in the register, right?

Finally, the fact that the OP had already been waiting over an hour
without getting the script as promised is suspect to me. What exactly
was the pharmacist doing all the time BEFORE going to lunch?

I'm shocked at the whole scenario here too, but there has to be more
to the story. Something is off here.


I would tend to agree with you... by SumnerMan Sat January 26, 2008 @ 2:17 PM

'Tis True by Squad 51 KMG 365 Sat January 26, 2008 @ 6:16 PM

Don't be so sure by Ex-Pharmacist Sun January 27, 2008 @ 12:49 AM

Just wondering by ♥Venice♥ Sun January 27, 2008 @ 4:08 AM

procedure in Texas by SumnerMan Sun January 27, 2008 @ 12:02 PM

Refills.. by SumnerMan Sun January 27, 2008 @ 12:08 PM

I believe.. by Harleycat Mon January 28, 2008 @ 9:01 AM

Here! ;) by SiouxFan Mon January 28, 2008 @ 4:12 PM

Actually... by PsychoSekc Mon January 28, 2008 @ 10:39 PM

Right by SiouxFan Tue January 29, 2008 @ 2:30 PM

by petrohd Posted Sat January 26, 2008 @ 10:34 AM

First off, most pharmacies I've noticed do not take a 90 minute lunch.
30-60 minutes seems to be the norm.

Second, it seems the poster had to wait over an hour initially then
another hour and a half to get something that I think should have
taken no longer than 45 minutes to fill. Yes I know prescriptions may
be called in during the meantime but I thought the first priority was
the people inside the store.

Thirdly, the help sounds like they were very unhelpful....and a
question I have....have you gotten prescriptions from this particular
CVS before? If so, why did it take so long for them to enter your
insurance card? Everything should be on file.

All in all it sounds like a bad experience....and it seems like CVS
would not be the place to get a needed prescription filled (among
other things). This is a well thought out letter addressing the
issues at hand and I hope they get back to you.


CVS , CUSTOMERS AND EMPLOYEES by Yitayish M. Tue January 11, 2011 @ 9:18 AM

by Nate269 Posted Fri January 25, 2008 @ 9:07 PM

I go to Target Pharmacy, and they have a sign that says the Pharmacy
is closed from 12-1 for lunch if only one pharmacist is on duty.

CVS most likely has a similar policy.


by dulynoted Posted Fri January 25, 2008 @ 4:56 PM

Contrary to what the pharmacist wrote below in a comment regarding
that you never actually spoke with a pharmacist...it was not because
you did not try.
And while I agree with him that you should establish a customer
relationship with your pharmacist, in your case it would not have
stopped the pharmacist from going to lunch, nor did it stop the
incompetence of the clerk who waited on you.
I do agree with you that if there is only one pharmacist on duty then
a sign should be posted informing customers of the time when he/she is
out to lunch. Then customers can drop their scripts off and come back
at a later time. Most people would not mind doing that but to be
treated as you and the next customer were is inexcusable.
And the manager needs to learn some customer relation skills along
with the clerk...but at least now you understand why the clerk is like
she is.

(Also his 90 minute lunch break was probably his lunch and break times
all at once...I doubt he gets 15 mins for one otherwise).


Noted by Ex-Pharmacist Fri January 25, 2008 @ 11:26 PM

Noted... by dulynoted Sat January 26, 2008 @ 4:49 PM

Pharmacist access by Ex-Pharmacist Sun January 27, 2008 @ 12:46 AM

Can I ask what you do now? by RedheadwGlasses Sun January 27, 2008 @ 2:02 PM
by Ex-Pharmacist Posted Fri January 25, 2008 @ 12:46 PM

Also, keep in mind, you at not at Macy's arguing over a sweater. This
is medicine which has the potential do serious harm...even perhaps
kills you if not used appropriately.

by Ex-Pharmacist Posted Fri January 25, 2008 @ 12:31 PM

I do not work for CVS and as a pharmacist, feel compelled to provide a
better explanation of what goes on behind the counter. Customers are
trained to expect prescriptions within 15 minutes but will wait an
hour in the same store for photographs. The perception from most
consumers is that the practice of pharmacy involves little more than
moving pills from big bottles to little bottles that have your name
stickered to the bottle. Most folks use one pharmacy, but have
professional relationships with multiple prescribers. Therefore, the
pharmacist is the only healthcare provider who can see every drug the
patient consumes and holds the responsibility for checking a new
prescription against your established profile. If we didn't do this,
there exists a real possibility a drug allergy or adverse effect could
do serious harm. If this happened, you would be first line to sue the
pharmacy for rushing or not doing thier job.

A pharmacist lunch break is well posted in each store. Walgreens over
laps thier pharmacists such that a pharmacist is usually on duty and
the pharmacy does not have to close. If the pharmacist does not
receive a break, they may not be refreshed and more likely to make
mistakes and there exists data to support that premise.

When you present to your dentist office or a physician's office, a
small sign is conspiculously displayed that reads "payment is expected
at time of service." CVS, Walgreens, or any pharmacy operates on the
same premise. We are pharmacists and an extension of your employer's
benefits department nor are we there to negotiate for coverage on your
behalf. This is done as a courtesy because we want your return
business. However, if you do not present us with the most up to date
insurance information at the time you drop off the prescription, it
does take time to rebill the insurance. Depending on how many other
customers are waiting for their prescriptions, it may take thirty
minutes if you present to a pharmacy at the peak time of day.

With the exception of antibiotics, pain medicine, and insulin for
diabteics, there is no reason to wait 15 minutes for a prescription.
If a prescription is for any other medicine, drop it off an come back
the next day. This will give the drug store time to order the
medicine if they just recently ran out. People with refills on their
prescription are told by pharmacists and insurance companies that they
can call in prescriptions when they have three days of mediciation
remaining. Technology also exists where patients like the diabetic
patient you mentioned can have their prescriptions refilled

When a patient is rude and disrespectful, it is very hard for any
employee to do thier job at their best performance level. It is
extremely hard to sit there and do your job when someone who does not
have your skill sets or training is telling you how to do your job.

Your best bet is to call the pharmacy and ask when the pharmacy
manager is either opening or closing the store. I advise going about
20-30 minutes before closing time to speak with the pharmacy manager.
Let them understand your concerns and ask how you can receive better
service and avoid their busiest times of day. If you know the
pharmacist like you know your physicians, your relationship will
become much better and you will have developed a professional
relationship with the pharmacist.

If you reread your post, you never actually spoke to a pharmacist.
Bedside manner is a relationship, not a service tactic. You have to
be a part of the relationship to receive bedside manner.

You may not have liked everything I have said, but if you establish a
relationship with your pharmacist, you will have a much better time
when you visit the drugstore.


You're making it sound by Bobosgirl Sat January 26, 2008 @ 2:43 AM

You're making it sound.... by Ex-Pharmacist Sun January 27, 2008 @ 12:42 AM

They employ 3 and are open for ten hours a day, while CVS is open 14 and the one my wife works at employs 2. by BlackJack Sat March 22, 2008 @ 1:15 AM

by Jeanie Posted Fri January 25, 2008 @ 9:46 AM

There's a CVS branch close to my home in Brooklyn, but unless it's an
extreme emergency, I won't use their pharmacy counter. They'll tell
you that it will take 20 minutes to fill your prescription, but it's
really more like 60. In addition, they charge you for name-brand when
it's a generic prescription, and all prescriptions are served up with
a side order of attitude.

I've since taken my prescription business to an independent pharmacy
across the street from my office. They remember my name as well as
the prescriptions I take. The best part - when they say 10 minutes,
they really mean 5, and when you ask for generic, you get generic meds
and generic pricing!


NYS Law.. by Harleycat Fri January 25, 2008 @ 10:58 AM

I don't buy that... by PsychoSekc Fri January 25, 2008 @ 11:06 AM

NYS Law.. by Jeanie Fri January 25, 2008 @ 1:17 PM

That doesn't mean anything... by Harleycat Fri January 25, 2008 @ 4:45 PM

Generic profit... by SumnerMan Sat January 26, 2008 @ 11:48 AM

Chains cost and arm.... by Ex-Pharmacist Sun January 27, 2008 @ 1:04 AM

not really a fair by T. C. Sat February 2, 2008 @ 12:48 AM

by Gino Posted Thu January 24, 2008 @ 11:50 PM

I really can't believe they'd leave a pharmacy station open without
having someone qualified to release prescriptions. There's nothing
more stressful than being in pain (especially dental issues) and to be
treated this way is really disgraceful. I'm sure if someone was there
and attentive to the customers, even a long wait could possibly be

Keep us posted as to how they handle this!


by RedheadwGlasses Posted Thu January 24, 2008 @ 9:28 PM

I agree that this employee sounds pretty horrible. But who just
stands there for 10 minutes, while an employee reads a magazine, and
doesn't say anything? I'd have said, at the very least, "Excuse me,
can you help me please?" I wouldn't have waited even 10 seconds.
It's not being aggressive or pushy; it's being an adult customer.


by olie Posted Thu January 24, 2008 @ 7:40 PM

I like the first poster's answer: Perhaps your periodontist could
have called in the prescription while you were having surgery. Or
even a day or two before. My husband had his gums done, too; at his
last appointment before the surgery, he was handed the paper
prescriptions so he could fill them before he even had surgery.

In Wisconsin, prescriptions MUST be handed over by a pharmacist and
the patient MUST have the opportunity for a consult, even if it's a
refill. While it can seem an inconvenience, this has actually been
helpful at times. A different manufacturer for a generic, so the pill
looked different from previous refills; a pharmacist who mentioned
that a child's antibiotic shouldn't be taken with dairy(which was news
to us, having 3 kids who had taken this med often); child's antibiotic
that was still powder; a pharmacist noticing another item I was
purchasing that might not work well with the particular prescription.

At our Target's pharmacy, there is a sign stating pharmacy hours and
the fact that if there is only one pharmacist on duty, his/her lunch
is from *whatever time* to *whatever time*, and the pharmacy will be
closed during that period. (Thankfully, this does not coincide with
the "normal" lunch period of 11 to 1, so customers can still pick up
prescriptions on their own lunch hours.)

I think this sign is posted on the main entrance door as well, but I
can't be sure. It's the kind of thing that you stop noticing after a

I do agree that the manager and pharmacy staff behaved atrociously
toward you and other customers. They should have asked for insurance
info when you turned in the prescriptions. I hope you hear back about
those issues.


Re: Pharmacist Leaves the Pharmacy? by SumnerMan Thu January 24, 2008 @ 3:39 PM

California law by SumnerMan Thu January 24, 2008 @ 3:52 PM

I doubt by Sunflower Sarah Thu January 24, 2008 @ 5:36 PM
by Michelle O Posted Thu January 24, 2008 @ 5:43 PM

In California, if you can not leave your job for lunch ( there is no
one to replace you and your job is neccessary ) you are permitted to
take what is known as a "working lunch". You stay on the clock while
you eat and remain available to do your job.

I sometimes run into this scheduling management coverage in retail in
general - I would assume that a Pharmacist could fall in to this
category too.

I would also doubt that the Pharmacist would be an hourly employee.
If not, he/she would be exempt from these laws anyway.


by SumnerMan Posted Thu January 24, 2008 @ 5:55 PM

If there is only one pharmacist on duty then they do take a "working
lunch". I've worked in over 20 stores and if there is not an
overlapping time between pharmacists this is exactly what they do.
Actually some pharmacists in stores do work on the clock but most are


This sounds pretty serious by donno Thu January 24, 2008 @ 7:31 PM

One sided arguement by Ex-Pharmacist Fri January 25, 2008 @ 12:43 PM

ex-pharmacist my a** by SumnerMan Sat January 26, 2008 @ 12:00 PM

Watch your language by Ex-Pharmacist Sun January 27, 2008 @ 1:01 AM

You're just proving my point.. by SumnerMan Sun January 27, 2008 @ 1:44 AM

by Queen Green Posted Thu January 24, 2008 @ 3:23 PM

Being a nurse I have frequent contact with pharmacy's. I once worked
for a surgeon, and on surgery day instead of sending the patient home
with a RX we called it in to the pharmacy. The result was it was there
when they went to pick it up. As for the customer with the diabetic
medication, this is a life long illness, the patient is aware that she
requires medication.She should not wait until the last minute (if it
was not last minute, why would she freak?)to fill her prescription.
And cut the poor pharmacist some slack, a girl's gotta eat!


Not ALL Meds can be called in over the phone.... by Squad 51 KMG 365 Fri January 25, 2008 @ 12:05 PM

overkill by Ex-Pharmacist Fri January 25, 2008 @ 12:45 PM

I agree it is overkill.... by Squad 51 KMG 365 Fri January 25, 2008 @ 2:32 PM

.... by Ex-Pharmacist Fri January 25, 2008 @ 2:56 PM

I agree by RedheadwGlasses Fri January 25, 2008 @ 4:00 PM

Depends on the patient.. by Harleycat Sat January 26, 2008 @ 11:17 AM

i have by Melissa Savelloni Sat January 26, 2008 @ 1:02 PM

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