Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Dear Wal-Mart Pharmacy:

Tonight I was frustrated with you at a level I rarely reach. I came in to pick up a prescription that my wife had called to refill at about noon. I arrived at about 6pm and was told that the prescription was not yet ready. Incredulous, I asked why and got the brush off from the employee at the pharmacy register. "I'm sorry, sir, but I don't control the order they get filled. I've noted that you're here waiting and we'll try to get it out shortly, if you'll please step over there (gestures toward a knot of other hapless souls waiting for their unfilled scripts)." Me: "I'm just surprised because it has been about six hours..." Cashier: "You can check with the folks at the drop-off if you like..." Me: "Would that help speed things along?" Cashier: "Probably not..."

So I waited. For 30 more minutes. Sitting there, waiting, I started brooding, which is probably not the best thing to do. Full of righteous indignation, I called Amelia to explain to her why I was not home yet.

Wal-Mart Pharmacy, I don't understand why you are unable to efficiently fill my scripts. This is the third month in a row that you have messed them up. I understand slow computers and poor communication between people when you're swamped with other issues. I get that you have bad days and grumpy employees and annoying customers. I will even grant that there are myriad complexities about pharmacies that I just can't comprehend. But how do you keep managing to screw it up? It is the SAME script.

I have two children who are type I diabetics. I'm not upset about the occasional mess up with a new cough medicine, but this is something we've been filling with you consistently for months. Is your computer system so complicated that you can't make a note in our file? You said you did, twice. Their diagnosis isn't going to change. They have an incurable disease, for which we have to purchase monthly supplies. Test strips for glucometers, insulin to manage their blood sugars. Because of our insurance, if you'll follow the notes you claim to have put on our files, you'll help us save $50/month on the test strips. Over the course of a year, we'll save enough on the test strips to keep our children alive with their life-sustaining medicine for another 10 months. You see why this is important to me?

Yet, for three visits over the past months, you have managed to make this process difficult. One month, you were out of test strips. That was okay, you said you'd reorder and call. You didn't call. We waited a week and then went back, only to find that they hadn't been ordered. A WEEK LATER! I know we are not the only family who needs test strips in the area.

The next visit, you overcharged us again and it took more time to straighten out. So can you understand why I was so frustrated tonight? To be concise:
- I want you to have the proper test strips on hand (because, you know, I come in every month to get them)
- I want you to have persistent, clear notes in your system that allow your employees to fill the scripts correctly and communicate with my insurance so that I am properly charged.
- I want some consistency with your service so that I can be confident that if I give you SIX HOURS to fill a prescription that I fill EVERY MONTH, you'll be able to come through.

Let's get this cleared up, k?


-a frustrated customer.