Well, that one backfired

Last week my doctor decided I had bronchitis, so she sent my prescription over to Chain Pharmacy Of Angelborough and I went grocery shopping (which is what you’re supposed to do with a cold.) Two hours later I returned to the pharmacy, where normally your script is ready in ten minutes. The pharmacy tech looked around for a while, then said, “It will be ready in ten minutes.”

When they say that, they generally mean the prescription will be ready in ten minutes, so Kiddo4 and I gathered some things and returned to the pharmacy counter…where we waited another ten minutes.

The tech became nervous, but she kept checking in the back and telling me, “It will be ready soon.” Meanwhile four other people got their drugs filled or mixed or whatever. By then I was exhausted and ready to start screaming, so I stood at the counter giving her my New York Death Glare.

Ms. Pharmacy Tech was completely freaked out now. “They’re working on yours right this second!”

Two minutes later, the other pharmacist finished the order…and called out someone else’s name.

Well, I did manage to get out of there within another ten minutes with my prescription and without sinning, although I did make sure she and anyone else in the area knew that they had lost the prescription, they had lied to me about how long it would take, and they had started filling other people’s scripts before they started correcting their mistake with mine.

Yesterday I had to go back to get fluoride for the kids (none in the Swamp water) and a different pharmacy tech checked me through. Everything was as it’s been the other 99 times we’ve gone there: the prescriptions were ready, she scanned everything, I signed…and then she said, “Oh, you get a chance to win a thousand dollars.”

I laughed. “Doesn’t everyone?”

She said, “No, this is a survey about how we did today. You answer five questions and then you’re entered to win. Not everyone gets one.”

It was attached to the receipt, so I took it. Then the pharmacy tech said, “Just so you know, they only count perfect scores. If you give a four out of five, they count it as a zero.”


So here’s what happened, folks: the pharmacy people only get full credit if they get a 100% satisfaction rating. Therefore it doesn’t take them very long to realize that if they screw up on one customer, it’s not worth the time it takes to rectify her problem because then they inconvenience the five customers behind her. And then if one of those customers gets the rare survey, then they get zapped on the survey. But by the time they’ve screwed up on my prescription, they’re already going to get zapped if I get the survey…so they no longer even try for me.

This whole zero-sum survey business? That’s garbage. I don’t go to only stores that leave me dancing in the aisles, delighted by how everything was perfectly perfect in every respect. I do frequent stores where they get things mostly right most of the time.

I’m sure the highly-paid higher-ups didn’t consider the sacrificial customer when they came up with this scheme. I’m sure they said, “This will motivate everyone to be perfect every time!”  But instead, rather than risking five or six customers giving them a nine out of ten on their survey, they made sure I ended up waiting for half an hour extra with groceries getting warm in the trunk, rather than either correcting their mistake or sending me home to return later.

Yes, this is worth a letter to corporate.

No, I have not taken the survey. I’m not sure I could trust myself to be fair.


  1. cricketB

    Very rarely do I believe it’s intentional misconduct rather than incompetence, but this time I’ll agree. “They’re working on it now” clerk didn’t even check. You could have waited an hour until they realized the doctor had pressed the wrong fax button.

    Our pharmacy tech tracked down a specialist at a convention (with the help of his team) because he didn’t multiply days times dose correctly (and we were too freaked out over the condition to realize until the month was half-over), so good ones do exist.

    And that survey scheme? I spent an hour or two last year on them. Didn’t win anything. Stupidly-designed, too. Constantly moving from mouse to keyboard — and I’m pretty good at finding hot-keys.

  2. Pat

    I hope you’ll let us know if you get a reply from corporate.

    1. philangelus

      I doubt I will, but thank you for reminding me I really need to write this letter. I was at the pharmacy again recently, and everything was smooth as silk, like it normally is, and I let that settle me.

  3. diinzumo

    I’ve noticed this growing trend, first at my car dealership, then the body shop where I had a dent fixed after a parking lot mishap, and finally at the furniture store where I just bought a sofa. There’s a lot of pressure on the customer to give the business a 100% satisfaction rating, and I don’t think that’s fair.