Saturday, June 5, 2010

Updated BEST & WORST


With Giant Eagle's new ONE-PER-DAY policy on taking competitor Rx coupons, this is my new ranking for BEST PLACES and WORST PLACES to transfer prescriptions and use competitor coupons.

(1) CVS
(2) Giant Eagle
(3) Kmart

(1) Kroger

-- Walgreen's
-- Wal-Mart
-- Target

For details, see (It has not yet been updated to show Giant Eagle's latest policy regarding competitor coupons. They change their policy so often, I like to wait a few weeks to make sure they don't change it again ;-)


The BEST for taking their OWN Rx Coupons:

(1) Target
(1) Giant Eagle
(3) CVS
(4) Kmart

WORST at taking their OWN Rx Coupons:
-- Kroger
-- Walgreen's

Giant Eagle now taking competitor coupons more often

Giant Eagle (at least some pharmacies in central Ohio) are again taking competitor Rx coupons more often than just ONE PER SIX MONTHS.

Their current limit is ONE PER DAY on competitor coupons. They will even match the Kroger "coupon-less" Rx offer to give $25 gift card for a prescription transferred. Kroger has been advertising this offer in Columbus area for past few weeks via TV ads and newspaper ads -- including one on top right of The Columbus Dispatch.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Updated: Color-coded matrix of pharmacies best about taking COMPETITOR coupons

I've just finished updating the table/matrix to show which pharmacies are best and worst about taking competitor coupons.

It's at: .

This reflects CVS getting rid of their "Never Need to Transfer" campaign (where you could use competitor coupons for REFILLS as well as NEW & TRASNFERRED prescriptions) to keep you from transferring every other month away to a competitor. It also reflects the increasing hassles some of their pharmacists (such as Kevin Horsefield, one of their floaters who goes to various locations) are greeting customers with -- not allowing customers to use more than one coupon even when that competitor coupon says NOTHING about a "One per day" or "One per customer" limitation such as those from Target (which imposes no limit).

As I mentioned in last posting, you may find that Kmart is now a better place (with less hassle) to use competitor coupons than CVS now.

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.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Pharmacies BEST about taking their OWN coupons

Target and Giant Eagle are by far the best pharmacies I have ever dealt with when taking them their OWN coupons. Target especially has been great about this -- perhaps because their coupons are never worth more than a $10 gift card per prescription.

But regardless whether it's NEW or TRANSFERRED and regardless how many prescriptions I took to them (a dozen or more), they were fine with giving me a $10 gift card for each one as long as I had a separate Target Rx coupon for each one.

When they took competitor coupons, they were great about that too.

Giant Eagle at MOST locations where I've shopped has been great about taking an unlimited number of their OWN Rx coupons -- each giving you $1 in FuelPerks (worth up to $30 savings on gas ... if gas is less than $3, three of those being redeemed gives you enough for a free fill up ... and their GetGo folks are cool with you bringing as many fuel cans as you need to get all 30 free/discounted gallons if you don't drive a Hummer or some other monster truck/SUV that holds that much).

HOWEVER, when it comes to COMPETITOR COUPONS, Target no longer accepts any ... and Giant Eagle might as well not -- only accepting ONE per 6 months (2 per year).

For details about which pharmacies are BEST about taking COMPETITOR coupons, see below ... and at .

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

CVS is by far best after Giant Eagle change in policy

Giant Eagle has just changed from accepting an unlimited number of competitor coupons to only accepting ONE (1) every SIX (6) months. (They will still take an unlimited number of their own coupons -- but those are becoming much harder to find and usually have just ONE valid location printed on them -- lately, the Blacklick store only in the Columbus area. There's are usually the ones that let you earn $1 in FuelPerks with new/transferred Rx.)

To show Giant Eagle how displeased you are with this change, I encourage you to take all your Rx business away from Giant Eagle and to CVS where they will not only accept an unlimited number of their own coupons and competitor coupons when it's NEW or TRANSFERRED but, at least in Central Ohio, they also have a program where they will let you use a coupon WITHOUT transferring it.

Just bring a coupon with you (theirs or a competitor's) when you need to get a refill.

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


(1) CVS
(2) Kmart

POOR (ridiculously limited terms):

(3) Giant Eagle
(4) Kroger

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

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

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.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

New #1 place to take competitors' coupons: Giant Eagle (CVS drops from 1st to 3rd)

UPDATE (Dec. 7, 2009):
See more recent posting that puts Giant Eagle much further down the list (and below CVS) in terms of accepting competitor coupons after they started a new policy in December 2009 that allows only ONE per SIX (6) MONTHS. They're still a great place to go grocery shopping. And they are still very cool about taking their OWN coupons (no limits there) as is Target.

Contrary to my earlier posting in March 2009 that put CVS in first place above Giant Eagle when it came to accepting competitor's coupons (because of their willingness to take them WITHOUT requiring you to transfer them back and forth), my recent experiences with CVS have led me to drop them to 3rd place.

So Giant Eagle moves to first place, Kmart moves up a notch and CVS drops to third:

(1) Giant Eagle

(2) Kmart

(3) CVS

The reasons for this change is two-fold:

* Giant Eagle is no longer limiting the number of competitor coupons that can be redeemed (as mentioned earlier). They do not even impose some of the restrictions listed by the competitor (such as "one per customer" ... which Walgreen's implements as one per six months; and does not force Kmart "fine print" about gift card value won't exceed retail value of prescription purchase).

* CVS is imposing ever-increasing hassles, limitations, and other ways they are not meeting the spirit of the sign they have hung in Columbus area stores about "Never Need To Transfer ... Redeem Your Competitor's Coupons Here." [See below.]

For example, when you take them a Walgreen's $25 Rx coupon, they may tell you that you can only use ONE "per transaction" (offering no clarification if that's one per day, per month, per year, or whatever) or may say they'll only take ONE of those per 6 months as Walgreen's does. Yesterday, when I took this week's Kmart Rx Coupon for up to $100 gift card for 4 transfers, they told me they could only give $50 maximum. The rationale? They said that fine print on the ad said it offered up to $25 only if the retail value of the drug was $25 or more (it did NOT specify if that was co-pay amount or total cost -- health plan's payment of usually about 70% plus your co-pay for the other 30% or so). Apparently, it did not matter that my co-pays on 4 of the 6 items I was picking up totaled $100 as Kmart would have required. So I used Giant Eagle coupons that are worth $30 at Kroger and some other pharmacies. CVS stores mostly offer $20 to $25 for these. Rationale? Most cars don't hold more than 20 gallons and they don't sell gas. OK, fine. But then they only wanted to accept 1 of these for my 6 prescriptions. After calling a manager, they were convinced to take 6. But a clerk at the pharmacy did not even lower her conversational voice when she said, "That's 6 times $25 ... that's $150. That's ridiculous." Nice way to make you want to keep doing business with them, eh?

REMINDER: For a list of which pharmacies take which competitors' coupons and with most/least hassles, see (this will need to be updated for the issues mentioned above that I have encountered with CVS after I confirm this is indeed their new policy ... and not just misunderstandings by various pharmacists, pharmacy staff, and managers; often pharmacists and pharmacy managers just really hate dealing with these coupons at all ... in contradiction to what their marketing divisions are trying to achieve).

p.s.: You may want to look at some concerns about CVS that are being raised by a group called "Cure CVS." An ad on Facebook pointed me to their website -- They raise what appear to be some genuine and valid concerns (I'm NOT saying I believe ... or am yet convinced ... that ALL of them are). As a former retail store manager, I can understand the need for theft-protection measures that vary by location based on many criteria (that can be misinterpreted as some "profiling" or demographic issues ... but has more to do with simply how much stuff gets stolen at THIS store and WHAT gets stolen). However, about their concern on sales of expired prescriptions (and other items), I have been sold, on more than one occasion, some items by a CVS pharmacy in the past year that had either expired already or were about to expire that month. So perhaps there is something to this and the other gripes expressed on that site. Similar glucose strips I bought at their competitors (that they had expired ... all of them in stock were expired in fact one day) had more than a year left on their expiration dates. So perhaps CVS gets a big discount for taking "stale" merchandise off the hands of some of their distributors. Maybe that's how they pay for all those Rx coupon gift cards ... and finance the building of their awesome website where you can keep track of your prescriptions and orders (better than any other I've seen thus far). ;-) On the "Cure CVS" blog, there's an interesting recent TV news story from Houston about findings of expired items (3 months old to 3 years old) at CVS stores there.