Re: Store #9137 - 14250 Prairie Avenue Hawthorne, CA 90250
I am still shaking my head in absolute disbelief regarding the following situation: For over 12 years, I've taken medication to treat severe anxiety/panic attack disorder and PTSD. As many who have struggled with mental illnes will corroroborate, I'm unfortunately used to people judging me, being dismissive of my experiences and challenges, and/or looking down on me for taking these meds.
What I am not used to is the absolute disregard, lack of customer service skills, and outright hostility recently displayed by this pharmacy's manager, Christine. After requesting a refill online, I was surprised and confused when I checked a few hours later and saw, "Status: On hold (pending review by pharmacist), as this never happened before. Then I realized I had picked up my refill last month a day later than I thought (therefore having accidentally requested my refill one day before I'd intended to do so); however, I'd regularly picked up a 30 day supply 24 or 25 days after the previous refill, so I figured they'd resolve it. The next day?
Same "on hold" status. I called and left a voicemail explaining my situation and asking them to contact me. No response. Later that day, I spent my entire one hour lunch break waiting on hold in hopes of speaking with someone and subsequently left a 2nd voicemail.
No response. Hours later, after work, I decided to just go in and resolve it in person. After waiting in line, the pharmacy staff person informed me that "we will not process your refill until Day 30". I asked to speak with someone and Christine, who was visibly annoyed before I said one word, came to "assist" me.
I tried to explain but I couldn't finish a sentence without her interrupting and talking over me. She barked at me (very loudly, so other customers could hear): "This is a NARCOTIC and we will never process it before Day 30". (Um, no - alprazolam is NOT a narcotic, per neither the legal nor medical definitions.) I then tried to respectfully correct her, explaining how I always pick up my refill on day 24 or 25. She told me I was wrong.
When I proved it, I asked her why, in October, it was fine to process the refill on Day 25 and, in November, on Day 24 but suddenly, in December, it had to be Day 30 with no exceptions. Her answer was, "Because." I asked if a policy had just changed, and she practically shouted, "NO!" I asked her to please help me understand, and while walking away from me, she yelled, "Day 30. That's the earliest. If you need it earlier, then transfer it elsewhere." My issues are as follows: 1) Arbitrary, subjective, and inconsistent policy enforcement / adherence to the detriment of the patient.
I could not have reasonably foreseen such a ridiculous, extreme reaction on Walgreens' part over a difference of one day. 2) The manner in which Christine addressed me - her tone, body language, choice of words, horrendous listening skills, tendency to interrupt, loudly insinuating that I was trying to illegally procure a "narcotic", the fact that she turned and walked away (visibly angry, frustrated, disgusted) without resolving the matter, and most of all her complete and total lack of empathy, compassion, and understanding. 3) Unacceptable communications practices: Not returning phone calls or responding to messages in a timely manner, and waiting on hold for an hour yet unable to reach a human being. 4) Providing me with false/misleading information, possibly deliberately: Christine said if I needed my meds prior to Day 30, I should transfer to another pharmacy - so I did just that, to CVS.
Well, the CVS pharmacist confirmed that, in fact, Walgreens was refusing to release it to CVS prior to Day 30. Here's the bottom line: I highly doubt that, if I were a cancer patient or had epilepsy and requested my refill for a controlled substance, that I would've been treated in that manner. Rather, it is specifically due to biases, prejudices, and assumptions about mental illness, those afflicted, and their "dependency" on meds like Xanax that I was treated in such a dismissive, disrespectful, and demeaning manner.
I will never, ever set foot inside of, or spend another dime of my money in, a Walgreens establishment. Christine could benefit from customer service and sensitivity training - and a reminder that each and every customer deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.
Product or Service Mentioned: Walgreens Prescription Refill.
Reason of review: Poor customer service.