I do not like CVS. Not here, nor there.

I don’t know why, but getting prescriptions from CVS is always a hassle. Actually, CVS is always somewhat of a hassle, but let’s start with the pharmacy.

Today, I realized that I needed a refill on my prescription — actually I probably should’ve ordered it already; why CVS doesn’t automatically refill my prescription and send it to me I don’t know. I’m using the CVS Caremark mail order prescription service, but I’ve only just started so it will be my first refill. The bottle had the web site information on it so I went to the site. Not registered yet? Sign up now. So far so good. You need lots of information, some of which isn’t on me, so I hunt it all up and fill out like three forms, and THEN at the very end, after I’ve chosen security questions and put in information about my medication and EVERYTHING, I am told that there is a problem with the site and my account couldn’t be created and please try again later.

What the what?! Grr ok.

So then I call their toll-free phone number — also on the prescription bottle — this must be the only part of the experience that is any good. The computer asks me if I am the patient or a doctor’s representative or a pharmacy. I answer patient. The computer doesn’t understand me. I press the number instead. It asks if I want to refill my prescription, I say yes. The computer doesn’t understand me. It asks for my prescription number. I say it. The computer doesn’t understand me! I enter it using the keypad again. I need to confirm my birthday. I say my birthday. Does not compute! I want to enter it via the phone keypad. IT DOES NOT WORK! I am asked again and again but it never guesses right and doesn’t accept keypad entry! Why not, I don’t know. And finally I am told that a customer service representative will be with me shortly. Once I’m talking with a live person, the whole transaction doesn’t take very long at all. I guess my experience with the live person was actually good too, so there’s that. But why did getting a refill take like half an hour?! (I will be getting my prescription soon, I hope, but who knows. When there was a problem with my initial order, they didn’t call me and it wasn’t until I started to wonder why I hadn’t received anything yet and called them was I told that there was a problem.)

Want to know something funny? I only switched to the mail order service because going to CVS/pharmacy was so awful! I would call and ask for a refill. The computer system would ask me when I want the prescription. I always made sure to pick the next day. Then typically I didn’t even go try and pick it up until the day after the time I’d asked for, but you know what? No matter what, it wasn’t ready yet. They would tell me to wait while they filled it right then, because they were always behind. (The pharmacists and other staff were always nice and helpful and knowledgeable, but always behind.) After a while, I just stopped going to CVS when I was in a rush, but it meant always sitting around for half an hour waiting for the prescription. (Well actually we would go to get coffee or lunch or something, but still we planned it that way figuring that they’d be slow. And they always were.) Sometimes I would purposefully wait until I got a computer generated voicemail message from CVS telling me that my prescription was ready and please pick it up, but even then they weren’t ready!!! I just don’t get it! So I finally switched to the mail order CVS (which is the only choice from my insurance company as far as I know) and <sigh>. At least I only need to deal with it once every three months now instead of every month.

In case you are thinking that the pharmacy is the only bad thing, well it’s not the only, just the worst. The local CVS used to be a Longs, where people were always nice and helpful. Somehow when it switched to CVS, even though it was some of the same people, everything was more confusing and slower. Also, Longs used to have one long line that fed in to the cash registers, but CVS makes you pick a line, and sometimes you pick the wrong one. And the stupid CVS frequent shopper card system generates coupons that tend to expire before I can use them, but I am convinced that it’s part of what’s holding up the line, so really, more annoyance!

I still go sometimes because it’s conveniently walking distance, and because it has some items that are easier to find at CVS than at other local places (items that were there when it was Longs, too, so it’s not an improvement, just not a step back), but it’s never a place I look forward to going to. And in case you think it’s just the one local CVS, actually there’s two, and it’s the same at both. And I go to others in other areas and it’s not better. I wish it would just go back to being as good as the Longs was. Or as good as the Walgreens is — which is where I try to go instead of CVS when I can. I think I’m being reasonable! It’s not an amazing amount of good I’m asking for, just better than CVS is right now.


  1. You have way more patience with the automated phone computer than I do. As soon as I hear that voice, I generally say “Operator operator!” before they have the change to tell me anything else. I want a HUMAN who can deal of things outside of their limited programmed algorithms. Sometimes hitting zero a bunch of times will get you in the queue for a human too.

    And that archane line method they employ sucks. Any operations engineer will tell you that single queue multiple servers is the way to go.

  2. wow. I remember setting up caremark for my parents and having a total headache with it in the beginning. But once I got it set up, it’s a breeze. The doctors just send the prescriptions straight to caremark and they come straight to us, refills and all.

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