Friday, December 28, 2012

What Can I Do To Make You Feel Well Today?

I went into Walgreens yesterday in a simple quest to get some AAA batteries for a remote control that was dead in the water. I went to the battery section and found a 4-Pack for $3.49. I noticed the sale price was only good "With Card", ($5.49 without). Now, I've been pestered a few times at Walgreens to "get a card," which I've flatly refused. The last thing I need is another key fob or piece of plastic in my wallet. Suddenly it seemed like a good idea. I figured I would get one at the register and save myself a couple bucks in the process.

I walked up to the empty register and told the clerk that I wanted a card if it wasn't too much trouble. She assured me it wasn't and then began taking my name, phone, and other information. In the middle of the registration, her phone rang and she answered it.

"Thank you for calling Walgreens. What can I do to make you feel well today?"

This struck me as an odd and somewhat intrusive greeting for a clerk to make, but whatever. She then went on to click the Page button and say over the intercom, "Pharmacy, a call parked on line 102."

After she apologized, she got back to registering me. When it was done, she rang the batteries up and the total came to $5.77. This seemed high, but I paid anyway. Then, after thinking about it, I said, "These were showing as $3.49 "with card" over there." She walked with me to the display and noticed that it said with card AND coupon.

Oy.

She assured me that she had a coupon at the register, so back we go. As she's rifling through the ads, the phone rings again.

"Thank you for calling Walgreens. What can I do to make you feel well today? Oh, you're still holding for pharmacy? OK let me put you through."

She punches the page button and says "Pharmacy, a call parked on line 102."

Then a line begins to form behind me. She picks up the phone again and says "Customer assistance for checkout at cosmetics please."

She returns to the coupon book and finally finds the coupon for the $2.00 savings, that I am beginning to regret ever mentioning. She's already taken $15.00 worth of my lifespan just getting this far. She determines that the best way to ring things up is to void the one transaction and re-ring the new. The phone rings again.

"Thank you for calling Walgreens. What can I do to make you feel well today? Oh, you're still holding for pharmacy? I'm sorry, let me put you through."

She punches the page button and with urgency says "Pharmacy, a call parked on line 102."

She punches it again and says sternly, "Robin, please come to cosmetic register for customer checkout."

Right about now, I'm thinking about checking out. Or, maybe dashing out. Nothing is worth this wait. But I stick around, more out of curiosity than respect. I want to see how much more broken this work flow can get.

The phone rings again. Stupid greeting ensues. "Oh, I'm sorry Laura, I didn't know. OK. Thank you." Evidently they had a system crash of some sort in Pharmacy, so calls weren't being properly answered and routed.

The line forming behind me begins to move to cosmetics. After much more register number punching and another scan of my new Walgreens card, the clerk finishes the transaction and hands me my $2.00. It should have been $20 if I had been paid for my time and agony, but alas, I took the money and ran.

It occurred to me after I left that the stress that this lady was under was totally unnecessary. By making her use a stupid introduction every time she answered the phone, and making her scan  customer cards to save $2.00, they are setting her up to fail. It causes her to be unproductive, get stressed, hate her job and find a new one. Then they train some other poor slob to do the same idiotic work flow as well as learn the new system. It's a recipe for failure. Pay people to check customers out, efficiently. Period. Because we all have better things to do.

Blogging off...

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