Wednesday, April 21, 2010

CVS no longer best place to take competitor coupons; Kmart is!

"Never?" transfer from CVS ... not forever!

The big "Never Need to Transfer ..." red banners that showed up at CVS pharmacies about a year ago are starting to disappear in some Columbus area stores this month. And the willingness of pharmacists and clerks to honor what it claimed had been disappearing long before this month at multiple locations.

This had been a campaign to convince people not to transfer their prescriptions to competitors to use a coupon one month and then transfer it back the next month with another coupon. As an area manager explained to me, it saved pharmacists a lot of time on the phone after the prescription was originally brought to them. They wouldn't have to be on the phone when a competitor's coupon is incentive to a customer to transfer the prescription away ... at least for a month ... and then perhaps have that same pharmacist back on the phone in a month to transfer it back for yet another coupon.

Some stores (like one on Henderson Road) no longer has that sign up and will no longer honor that (ask their new manager, Teresa, why). But the sign is still up at other stores -- at least those located in more competitive areas or where they think it's more necessary/advantageous -- such as at the CVS near the Giant Eagle at corner of Sawmill and Bethel.

If you're about to have CVS (that still has the "Never Need to Transfer ..." sign up at its pharmacy) refill a prescription and you have some competitor coupons, ask if they will still honor the sign behind them. If they don't honor it anymore, I suggest you consider transferring to a competitor (perhaps the one you have a coupon for) and let them know it's because they no longer honor what they're advertising. You might also want to ask those who still have the big red banner up but don't honor it WHY they would still advertise such a claim. If you have some righteous indignation about FALSE ADVERTISING (as I do), you might also want to ask how you can contact the pharmacy manager, store manager, and district manager to discuss this.


p.s.: This modifies my ranking of best place to take competitor coupons as follows:

So, to clarify, here are my new rankings for BEST and WORST (in terms of accepting coupons from competitors):


(1) Kmart
(2) CVS -- previously #1 when they accepted coupons on REFILLS so customers would "Never Need to Transfer ..." and would stay loyal to them.

POOR (ridiculously limited terms):

(3) Giant Eagle -- 1 twice a year
(4) Kroger -- 1 a day; 3 to 4 total per lifetime (ask Bill Sheridan in Westerville office of Kroger why that is)

WORST/(don't take any competitor coupons ever):

(5) Target
(6) Walmart
(7) Walgreen's

Meijer -- They occasionally have an Rx coupon that is "one per customer" and at one time I think they honored competitor coupons. But their service is so awful I couldn't see going back to them regardless what incentive they were going to give or honor ... nor suggest anybody else take their pharmacy business there.

NOTE: There are regional differences and the ratings above are based on my experiences recently in Central Ohio. I'm told that the Giant Eagle change will be in effect at all Giant Eagles nationally by the end of this week.