Roundup: CVS, Mistletoes & Margaritas, More

Bob Weingarten is frustrated. He writes:

Yesterday around 9:40 a.m., I called CVS pharmacy. It took them more than 53  minutes to answer.

At about the 45-minute mark I called their customer service (800-746-7287) to complain. They answered within 30 seconds. After I explained the issue, they tried to call the Westport CVS — but could not get through.

They send a note to the store manager, and told me he would answer me within 2 to 4 hours.

Not sure if other readers have had this problem, but I believe they have. When standing in line to pick up a prescription, I always hear calls are “waiting to be answered.”

Friday’s rain was heavy. For most Westporters, it was a minor inconvenience.

For residents of Saugatuck Shores though, it was the usual story: flooding.

Here’s a shot of Canal Road, at midday:

(Photo/Gene Borio)

Adam’s House is based in Shelton. But the organization — which helps youngsters grieving the loss of a loved one — has a strong local presence.

It was started by Allison Wysota. Her husband Adam died suddenly in 2012, when their 3 boys were in Weston schools.

Adam’s House is launching a “Mistletoes & Margaritas” online shopping fundraiser. It will be live November 30.

Area businesses are invited to join the e-commerce site. Bill Taibe is participating as a sponsor/vendor. He will sell gift certificates, and may do a bartending event with Don Memo.

Clem Butt, who sells wines all over Westport, will do a virtual wine-tasting. Jim VElgot will sell his artwork. Adam’s House volunteers hope many more Westport shops, restaurants, artists and others will offer their goods and services too.

Click here for the “Mistletoes and Margaritas” website.

And finally … Esperanza Spalding turns 36 today.


24 responses to “Roundup: CVS, Mistletoes & Margaritas, More

  1. Honestly, one of the best choices I ever made for my own health was changing where I got my prescriptions filled. This pharmacy has ALWAYS been so poorly-managed, and I just don’t know why. There was always a wait for medication, the generic brand they would use was constantly changing or they wouldn’t have it in stock…it is shocking to me that they haven’t already changed management after all these years.

  2. The comment about CVS pharmacy In Westport never answering the phone unfortunately struck a chord — I recently was so frustrated in my inability to reach them by phone to correct what turned out to be a mistake on their part that I ended up calling my CVS pharmacist in Maine in order to check the status — with that information in hand, I then had to return twice to the Westport store. They seem vastly understaffed.

  3. Kristin Schneeman

    Bob, we abandoned CVS long ago for Achorn and Colonial. Of course they don’t offer the same hours of service as CVS, but we can always go to CVS in an emergency. The local pharmacies are so much better – lower blood pressure is good for your health! They’ve also had flu and shingles vaccines when we couldn’t get them at our doctor’s office or CVS.

  4. India van Voorhees

    I lived in California for years before coming home to the East coast … and CVS stores are horribly managed there as well. It’s systemic, I’m afraid. I avoid at all costs.

    • Actually, I have had to use a CVS during our stay in CA per recent changes in my prescription plan, and the local ones have been fine. In Westport we have used Colonial and Shoreline, and have been pleased with both.

      • Yes Fred, chain stores vary in how well they’re run. Good chains achieve a high level of consistency, but CVS has just gotten too big. Plus we’ve allowed them to collude with health insurers (CVS/Aetna merger) to drive most of the local pharmacies out of business. If Achorn didn’t stock all those high end cosmetics, and Colonial didn’t have the disability products, they’d both be gone too.

  5. Hilary Nordholm

    Dan, Thanks so much for posting about CVS. I too have experienced ridiculously long wait times when calling–over an hour at the longest. I actually got so frustrated the other day I kept my phone on hold (with that hellish muzak on repeat), drove to the store, waited in line, and was served in person before my call could be answered. Clearly answering the phones is not a priority!!

  6. CVS is just Horrible .. I switched over to Achorns ,and Colonial several years ago .. Same co pays as the big box pharmacy stores , and your supporting locally owned business’s …

  7. Bob, you need to get off the chain store crack pipe and kick it local, buddy.
    Like Kristin said, Achorn’s and Colonial (def Colonial) are solid, locally owned choices where you can’t go wrong. You don’t need to be a victim, just vote with your feet.

  8. Linda Montecalvo

    I always prefer Acorn Pharmacy and Colonial too. This past year my health plan made CVS it’s preferred pharmacy. I’ve experienced the same level of service unfortunately. Many hard working people who work there but it’s understaffed always. Also, if you sign up for auto renewal you can’t stop the telephone calls once you’ve removed auto refill. I’m still getting calls despite reporting it. In truth, I like supporting the independents. Go local I say!!

  9. Re CVS non-answering of the phone: exact same thing happened to me, and to my wife – both instances within past 3 weeks. No answer even if you hold over an hour.

    Ironically, when I tried the “if you’re a physician” selection, the system disconnected me immediately. So don’t blame your doctor when that prescription never came through at CVS.

    My advice, do what my wife and I just did: SWITCH YOUR PRESCRIPTIONS TO ACHORN. I

    Go to CVS if you want to buy a hairbrush.

  10. There are two very good independent pharmacies in town . No need to use CVS.

  11. Michelle Scher Saunders

    Hauntingly familiar situation at Westport CVS. I call to check the price/coverage of a prescription, while waiting on hold with music for 30+ minutes, I show up at the pharmacy, waited in line and speak with the clerk explaining that I am still on hold, yet I see no one on the phone in the back. She insists that there are no phone calls waiting to be answered, yet, here I am still on hold. The prescription was called in the previous day, yet I am waiting again for them to fill it.
    Better yet, my elderly mother received the enhanced flu shot for senior citizen (that’s what they told her) and her primary care physician was faxed a memo from CVS stating that she only received the regular dose. She was given no paperwork about the proof of immunization and we have been told by several doctors that this has been a common occurrence at CVS this year.

  12. First off I’m a colonial fan and customer. But in defense of CVS I was there yesterday pick up some allergy spray . The store was in chaos they completely have moved around all the shelves and change the interior of the store while keeping it open. Not surprised nobody answered the phone not Surprise that I couldn’t find a blessed thing wandering around the maze. I guess it’s a good thing they stayed open so people could still shop but it was very frustrating.

  13. As I’m a “regular” in Stop & Shop, I use their pharmacy. I’ve never had a problem. They also give flu and shingle shots. I go to Achorn’s and Colonial for special things I can’t find at S&S, and I find their staffs very courteous and helpful.

  14. Colonial. I swear my prescription is on the counter before I can get in the front door.

  15. MaryAnn Meyer

    Try CVS Willard Street Norwalk which is at Post Road.
    They have a drive thru window. Very convenient and efficient.

  16. My parents used Achorn’s starting when I was 4 years old. I’ve used them too, but this year my drug plan under Medicare told me that they aren’t on the preferred list of pharmacies any more. I am livid! I can’ stand going into CVS and seeing all those people waiting in line for their prescriptions.I don’t want to change but don’t want to pay more either! Jane Sherman

  17. CVS Drone No 567890

    I work at a CVS. Not this particular CVS, but it’s all the same. The phone doesn’t get answered because there just isn’t the manpower to do it. If we answered every call immediately, prescriptions would back up and nothing would get done. The entire staff would just be on the phone. CVS needs to have a central phone answering service or something. I used to have two pharmacists and three techs at a time for a 400 script store 15 years ago. Now it’s a 500 script store with one pharmacist and two techs. And they expect us to cover the phones, flu shots, someone at drop off, someone at drive thru, someone at the front register. It’s a 5-person job being handled by 3 people. It’s miserable. I’d quit, but the pharmacist job market is very tight right now. Hell, we’d all quit.

    All that will happens when you complain to corporate is some middle manager district leader will yell at the pharmacy staff. That’s literally it. The DL dare not question the hours situation to the regional manager. They’ll be marked as difficult and won’t get promotions. So some peon with zero power to remedy the situation will get all the heat and the fat cats making big bonuses will brag about how “efficient” their stores function.

    I assure you that each and every one of you in the comments section could not run a CVS pharmacy any better than the people trying their best right now. It is an impossible task. One day of hearing that stupid voice scream “three pharmacy calls” over and over for hours would make you lose your mind. Most techs wash out within a week. The ones that stay are masochists. The pharmacists are all dead inside. I personally know of two in my region that have committed suicide and a numerous that are alcoholics. You folks really don’t understand how miserable and stressful and soul crushing working at CVS is.

  18. I am not surprised by your response. I have heard similar stories from a former associate who worked at the Westport location partime as a pharmacy technician. Many months back, I sent a letter with the nearly 5 foot long receipt to the CEO to complain. I got a curt response from someone in marketing disagreeing with my position and claiming that most of their customers like the long receipts. Need we say more.

  19. Dan recently told me he does not publish anonymous comments, but I’m glad he made an exception for “CVS Drone No 567890.” Assuming the author is truthful (and I have no reason to doubt it), this is something the broader media should be encouraged to cover. CVS and Walgreens have been ruthless about forcing local independents out of business and have freely colluded (and merged with) insurers to do so. Most recently, Lang’s of Weston and Wilton shut down, and the customer list was sold to…guess who?

    • CVS Drone No 567890

      Oh, it’s true Pete. Read pharmacist discussion boards like The misery is palpable.

  20. Will do, and encourage others to do so as well. Thanks

  21. Just to add to the CVS thread:
    A week ago I dropped off my script, was told it would be 30 min.
    After waiting for 30′ I went to Pick Up, and the guy said, “I can expedite it for you and get it to you in 25′.
    So we left and went home. When we called to see if it was finally ready, the woman said it was actually ready when the guy was waiting on me(!)

    Tonight we were in a hurry to get pain meds, so chose the CVS (with Luise saying, “I hate CVS”), because we knew our usual Rite Aid had closed at 5.
    Got to CVS, and on the door just below the huge bright “24 HOURS” sign was a little note that read “Closed at 6PM”
    In the short time we were there, we saw 5 or 6 people go to the door, each shouting in frustration some version of, “WHAT?” “Outrageous” “You’ve got to be kidding me!”