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Charlie Hatton
Brookline, MA

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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!

Tales from the CVS

Near my workplace, there’s a CVS pharmacy / drug store / convenience mart. I’m in there occasionally — it’s where I buy those Odwalla bars I find morally-disagreeable-but-oh-so-tasty — and things generally look pretty much the same. Shelves full of snacks, fridges stocked with drinks, gum and candy by the registers, toiletries and greeting cards and cheap knockoff doodads scattered throughout. But I was in there today — yes, buying another non-modified genetically inferior granola bar — and noticed a couple of new things. Allow me to share.

First, while I and my stupid non-bionic energy bar were waiting in line, I glanced over at the pharmacy desk, around a corner from the main registers. On the counter was a sign in a little plastic stand, with a few typed sentences. Most of the text was too small to read from my vantage point, but I could easily make out the top line, which read, in big bold letters:

“Look, I’ve got nothing more against Oprah than the next non-watching hetero guy who doesn’t get what all the fuss and the hooting and the yoyo weight thing and the bald twangy guy with the pornstache are all about.”


Hrm. Look, I’ve got nothing more against Oprah than the next non-watching hetero guy who doesn’t get what all the fuss and the hooting and the yoyo weight thing and the bald twangy guy with the pornstache are all about. And if she wants to peddle advice or give away toasters or sit around with seven million of her closest friends and talk about some book none of them got around to reading, then I’ve got no problem with that.

But in the pharmacy? Is there an Oprah Analgesics Club now that I don’t know about? Is she really endorsing medical products now — and worse, is the pharmacy actually encouraging it? It would seem so. And that doesn’t seem right.

Sure, if the sign said, ‘AS SEEN IN THE NEW ENGLAND MEDICAL JOURNAL!‘, or if C. Everett Koop ran a coffee talk and pharmaceutical product highlight show — ‘Here to sing us a ballad from his new album, let’s welcome… Amoxicillin!‘ — that might work. But shilling over-the-counter medicinals based on their appearance on a daytime talk show? What’s next, choosing an HMO based on a Rikki Lake monologue? ‘Jerry Springer’s Big Book of Hepatic Oncologists’? A ‘Dish on Brain Surgeons’ segment on The View? Weird.

Putting that aside, I moved to the register, where I saw the latest Cosmopolitan magazine proudly on display. And the first ‘teaser’ headline, given tip-top billing, which read:


Okay, fine. Ladies, I’ll save you six bucks, or whatever this particular periodical costs. You want to know what sex feels like for men, here it is:



Hey. We got any Chee-tos?

That’s pretty much the gist of it. Mystery revealed. You can thank me later. With Chee-tos.

Finally, I made my way to the register, and used my fancy new ‘Customer Care’ card. This is one of those little keychain dealies that they scan before you pay, and you get cash back or credit or Oprah-brand suppositories or something in return. Theoretically.

Of course, if all you buy is granola bars and drinks, you don’t see the instant savings, so much. But that’s okay, says the cashier. Your receipt contains another bar code, which you can bring back and have scanned next time for a buck off. Simple. Just keep the receipt and bring it back next time.

Right. Keep track of a drug store receipt for more than twelve seconds. And then remember where you put it, find it, and carry it back the next time you need a snack or soda. Like that’s going to happen. These receipts are like single socks in the dryer; they just *poof!* into thin air when you’re not looking. I’m lucky enough to leave the house or the office with my keys, wallet and pants in the right places — now you’re asking me to manage little bits of paper, too? I’m not seeing it.

So I guess that ‘customer care’ plan isn’t going to do me a hell of a lot of good at CVS. Unless I start spending more money at the register to get the instant cash back. Maybe next time, I’ll walk past the Odwalla bars — finally — and pick up a case of those Oprah pills and three copies of Cosmo. I’ve got no use for any of that stuff… but the savings are through the roof. Customer care, indeed.

Permalink  |  3 Comments

3 Responses to “Tales from the CVS”

  1. Funny article! I agree that some ‘customer care’ plans are unrealistic or just take too much effort to make it worth our while. Customer care should be about making things easier for the customer, not making them keep track of little pieces of paper. I wonder what they will come up with next?

  2. I also appreciate when they give me a $3.00 off coupon for the thing I just bought. Thanks a bunch; chances are, since I don’t intend to piss my name in the snow with this contact solution, I won’t need another bottle within the generous thirty day window I have to use this coupon.

  3. Charlie says:

    CCT: I agree wholeheartedly. Maybe you could train some of those CVS people to fall in line with our thinking.

    Preferably with a bullwhip.

    ShieldMaiden: I feel exactly the same way.

    At least, I did, before you gave me the idea to write my name in the snow with contact solution.

    Maybe I’d better buy three next time I go in.

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