Saturday, January 5, 2013

My Love-Hate Relationship with Walgreen's

I admit it, Walgreen's is probably my favorite store. I'd better qualify that. I do 95 percent of my shopping online, in which case, my favorite store is But there are some things one just has to purchase locally and Walgreen's has become my convenience store. I probably shop there two to three times each week. It doesn't have to be one particular store. I'll stop at whichever Walgreen's is most convenient depending upon my other errands that day.

That's probably part of their marketing strategy. They put those flyers in the newspaper. They send me emails almost daily about the latest offers and discounts. They recently started their balance rewards program where you can earn points that turn into money. Wouldn't it just be better for the consumer if they lowered the prices?. They even gave me an iPhone app as well as an app where I can track my walking progress on Walk With Walgreen's. They sucked me in.

I love the convenience. I love knowing I can get in and out with my items much quicker than at a larger store like Target or ShopKo. I can grab a gallon or two of milk, usually at a price that is significantly lower than at the grocery store. So, most of the time I love Walgreen's.

Then there are the other times. One thing you have to realize about Walgreen's is that if they advertise something as "2 for $5" that's exactly what they mean. You have to buy 2! If you only buy one, it is not $2.50; it's usually $2.99. They also don't always have the prices that are posted on the shelves synched with their cash register. Sometimes I've even snapped a photo of a shelf price with my iPhone in case I need to negotiate at checkout.

Walgreen's recently introduced their Senior Discount Day. I am a huge fan of Senior Discounts wherever I go. As with ShopKo, the Senior Discount Day is timed around the 3rd of the month, when most Social Security deposits are made. I learned that my Social Security deposit will be made on the 27th of each month because there are too many recipients to be able to manage payments in only one payment cycle each month. I digress.

I like to wait for Senior Discount Day for those "stock up and save" items - products used on a regular basis that I like to keep on hand. Why pay full price when I can get 20% off Walgreen's brand items and 15% off most other items in the store? Read the fine print, you won't be getting any discounts on your prescriptions and a few other items. But, for the most part, I'm still going to save money on Senior Discount Day.

This week, I had to purchase a few items, so I waited for Senior Discount Day. I have my Walgreen's Balance Rewards Card synched to my AARP card, which I use to get those valuable rewards points. I've also used the barcode on my iPhone, but believe it or not, some of these young whippersnappers at the register don't know how to scan this from the iPhone!

I dutifully scanned my AARP card; the checker even acknowledged that I was using my AARP card. Then I scanned my credit card. The total amount seemed high and it wasn't until after the transaction was complete that I said, "What happened to my Senior Discount?"

CHECKER: I didn't put it in. You'll have to take everything to Photo as a return and have it rung up again.

ME (Mentally, not aloud): You made a mistake and now you are going to inconvenience ME by making me go to another part of the store, wait in line again to correct the mistake that YOU made?

ME: I'll wait.

The checker then started to ring out the next customer! What!?!? You don't take care of one person at a time? Yeah, this really pissed me off. And apparently I pissed off the next customer because I was standing in front of the credit card reader, standing my ground. Squatter's rights or something like that.

The checker had to call for a manager three times before anyone showed up. I don't think he wanted to do a full return, so he got out a calculator to figure out the discount for each item I purchased. Some were 15% and others were 20%.

CHECKER (now in front of the manager): I didn't put in the Senior Discount because I didn't think you were old enough.

ME (in my head only) Don't think you can get off easy by flattering me.

ME (aloud, without a pause): The AARP card should have been your first clue.

Checker clearly didn't like my response.

ME (to the manager): Don't forget to refund the sales tax.

Eventually, the manager handed me a paper slip indicating a credit to my credit card account. It was about $8. Sure, it was an inconvenience at my convenience store. But I'm stubborn enough to stand my ground. After all, there's a reason why I choose to shop on Senior Discount Day.

I just received my daily email from Walgreen's with a sneak peak at tomorrow's ad. So I have to make out my shopping list.

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copyright 2013 Susan M. Petersen

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