Posts Tagged ‘CVS’

Service of Fraud

Thursday, February 9th, 2023

Image by LillyCantabile from Pixabay

We try to protect ourselves from robocallers up to no good, social media intruders dressed as legitimate businesses or fun game producers and sleazes who mail intimidating missives on recognizable letterheads with bogus warnings and phone numbers that ring on the desks of crooks.

I chatted with the manager of my local CVS drugstore yesterday as he released a mundane product, safe behind a locked plastic door, protected from shoplifters. A man in his 40s, he said that retail life is so different now. Most of his products in midtown Manhattan are not similarly protected. In the Wall Street area, I ducked into a Duane Reade drugstore early this week and was taken aback: Over half of the goods, even toothpaste, were behind locked plastic doors.

In addition to having to be on alert 24/7 as never before, how else do potential intruders, big and small, impact the lives of Jane and Joe citizen? Here’s an example. Try to close or transfer a financial account. I thought that armed with my call–from a phone number that’s in the system–my birthdate, the last four digits of my social security number and my account number I could expect a check. Ha! In one instance I needed to download and fill out a confusing form and write a letter and get my signatures on both notarized. I had to re-do the process because I’d left off an account number in one of several places. [They couldn’t have filled it in?] In another instance I needed to get a medallion signature that wasn’t easy to come by.

I was told all of this is to help prevent fraud. My mind jumped to the bigtime thieves who are given mega loans based on lies and unvetted information or who wreak havoc, and substantial losses, for banks whose gatekeepers fall for their supposedly deep–actually shallow–pockets. Reminded me of a friend who was audited the year she took a breather from work and, with a pittance of income, was nonetheless audited by the IRS.

We want our small pickings to be protected from fraud which the rigamarole is meant to do. Do you think that those with larceny in their hearts have to go through similar exercises to access other people’s money?


Image by bgs_digital_creator from Pixabay 

Service of an Honor System in the Face of Record Shoplifting

Monday, October 18th, 2021

Honor systems must be on my mind–I just wrote about some in May–“Service of Unmasking the Honor System: Do I Trust My Fellow Citizens?” There are countless schools, colleges and universities that follow honor codes impacting social and scholastic behavior. During an NPR fundraiser listeners were told they are on the honor system to contribute if they tune in to the programs.

Statistics such as the record number of shoplifting incidents since 1995 in NYC this year fly in the face of an honor code. As of mid September there were 26,386 complaints, a 38 percent increase since 2014. Instoremag.com referenced the New York Post for this information.

It also reported on a shoplifter the Post called “Man of Steal,” who only now is in jail after 45 previous shoplifting arrests just this year. He’s 22 and has been caught in 74 offences in the past six. The manager of a Walgreens drugstore that he’s targeted countless times said corporate policy is to call 911 and otherwise do nothing to stop shoplifters.


Image by moakets from Pixabay

Before you smirk, as some friends would, saying: “What do you expect, it’s NYC?” take a look at what Lukas I. Alpert reported on marketwatch.com: “A father-daughter duo from Atlanta has been sentenced to more than five years in prison for deploying an army of professional shoplifters to steal millions of dollars of merchandise from retailers such as CVS and Target and then selling the goods online.” This group headed by Robert Whitley, 70, and his daughter, Noni Whitley, 47, are said to have stolen $6.1 million before they were arrested two years ago.

And Neil Vigdor reported in The New York Times that Walgreens closed five stores in San Francisco because of “organized shoplifting.”

Yet the Metropolitan Transit Authority [MTA] counts on passengers paying for rides on the honor system on certain bus routes. We purchase a ticket from a kiosk [photo below]. The driver collects nothing. When first instituted passengers were checked for receipts by people at bus stops. I haven’t seen one of these checkers in years.

Last week a woman dressed in a cotton NYU Langone hospital uniform, [the hospital is nearby], rushed to the kiosk for a receipt as the bus was already at the stop. I thought, “What makes some people responsible and others constantly looking to scam the system?” I’ve never found the answer. Have you?

NYC bus ticket kiosk

Service of Worker Shortage

Thursday, July 15th, 2021

Have you been impacted by worker shortage? The answer would be “yes” if you were trying to renew your passport. Debra Kamin reported in The New York Times that it could take 18 weeks to renew by mail vs. six to eight before the pandemic. Appointments at one of the 26 official passport centers around the country–if you hope to fast track a renewal–are almost as hard to come by as winning lottery tickets.

A shortage of Transportation Security Agency (TSA) workers has created inordinately long Airport lines.

Yet service was perfect at the Hudson Garden Grill located in the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx last Sunday. One of my friends asked the waiter if they were serving monkey bread and he explained that the restaurant is short-staffed and not fully back to where it was before the pandemic, so not yet, but soon. [I’d never eaten, seen or heard of this bread. Next time.]

I was happy to find an item that was out of stock at the three CVS stores within walking distance of my apartment when I happened to be on East 72nd Street. The store was clearly short staffed as it took too many minutes to get someone to free the item from behind locked doors. And then there was trouble with an express checkout machine and only one cashier. A valiant very young man was trying to answer questions, assist at checkout and open locked items.

CVS usually sends a “how did we do?” query after I buy something and I gave my experience an 8–because I was so happy to see the hard-to-find item. There’s space to explain your score. I was blown away when the store manager wrote the day after my response. Here’s an excerpt of his email: “As the Store Manager, I deeply regret that we were not able to meet your expectations regarding the items you wanted being locked up and your checkout experience.

“Good news or bad, feedback from our customers helps us understand the experience for all, and when necessary, make improvements to meet your expectations. We will continue to get better at unlocking items. I truly apologize for the inconvenience. In terms of your checkout, we do have some new hires that we are training and it takes some time to get them up to speed. They will get better as well. I hope next time your experience is a 10!

“I would like to personally invite you to let me know how we are doing. Please respond directly to this email with the best date, time, and phone number to reach you.”

Now that’s customer service!

Has the worker shortage affected you? Have the businesses and services you frequent been able to work around it?

Service of Surprises that Cost Little and Make a Day

Monday, October 26th, 2020

A small gesture or effort, an unexpected tweak, can make a person’s day. I’ve written about these often. It’s fun to be on either side–recipient or donor.

In Vino Veritas

Since March I’ve bought wine at a local store rather than at the discounted Trader Joe’s that’s 25 blocks away. Each time I visit there are different clerks, all nice, mostly men. I buy inexpensive wine–two bottles at a time–as the store is my last stop on my way home. I’m already loaded up with groceries and still have four blocks to go.

On my last visit Sussex Wine [photo above] was empty and the clerk and I chatted. She could tell that this was not my first visit. She asked me if I was in their system: by sharing my phone number and name I’d be registered in their awards plan. After 300 points a customer gets a $10 discount. They’d never call me, she promised. The men hadn’t told me of this benefit before. I “enrolled.” As I left she told me she’d started me off with 200 points. Wow!

Milking It

There wasn’t a quart of fat free or 1 percent milk in Gristedes, the local grocery store. I walked to the front–milk seems to be as far from the door as possible in every store–and found a clerk sitting on a box restocking the lowest shelf. I asked if they expected a delivery later in the day. He jumped up, said he thought the truck had just arrived, dashed outside and came back with a quart of skim. Golden service! As I left I saw that they hadn’t yet brought out a hand truck to unload the order.

When Everything Goes Wrong

There were two clerks at CVS drugstore both of whom were having time-consuming problems checking out their customers. The manager came, spoke with each and just before he opened a third cash register to alleviate the growing checkout line a floor clerk said she also needed him.

He started to enter my order at the third register–we too ran into a hitch–when he left to again help the two cashiers whose customers had already been there for far too long. I didn’t see him again for quite a while. When he came back to me he apologized profusely and often and looked gloomy. He expected to hear me rant about the delay.

I smiled, said I saw that he was stretched beyond reason and not to worry. His relief and gratitude was palpable. It was a joy to see his mood change to cheerful. As he handed me my receipt he was overjoyed to tell me that I had a $6.00 rewards coupon.

Have you received a happy surprise or been able to please someone unexpectedly, at little cost? Does the stress over the pandemic and/or the election have something to do with some people-helping-people in important small ways?

Service of Little Things Mean A Lot II

Thursday, July 30th, 2020

I wrote the first post with this title three + months ago. It’s time for a reprise. The first post was about friends who reach out. This one is about strangers who warmed my heart.

How Cool is That?

The air conditioning units in my apartment all fizzled on a toasty day. I followed up a few times–the units belong to the landlord–and when the temperature had climbed upwards of 86° with four more hours until sunset–I get afternoon sun–I visited the lobby again explaining that I was beginning to feel woozy. The morning year-round doorman had been passive and useless. The manger was on vacation.

Climbing up to 86 degrees+

Doorman Joshua, a very young man and summer temp jumped into action and within an hour a porter/handyman was on the job. As I waited for him to return with new units the intercom rang. It was Joshua–we’d met only that afternoon–asking if I was OK. The porter told me Joshua had also called him again to confirm that he was on it. Too bad for us this is his summer job. I suspect he’s a student and given his common sense and empathetic streak predict great things for his future.

Beautiful Cashier

I visited CVS drug store on Third Avenue and 42nd Street early on a recent Sunday morning. The cashiers consistently help me make the most of my coupons. As I left that day–I was dressed in pandemic fashion on the cusp of sloppy–the young woman, who was barely out of her teens, called out: “Stay as beautiful as you are.” She could see my wave but not the smile under my mask.

Moving Along

I called the Metropolitan Transit Authority [MTA] about returning a discount MetroCard sent my husband. When I explained the reason the clerk, hearing he’d died, was compassionate and so heartfelt in her condolences I could hardly catch my breath.

Read On

I treated myself to an iPad so I could download books. I got tangled in the process of ordering a book after I’d downloaded an e-card from the New York Public Library so I sent a query to the help desk. After more fiddling I figured it out. A few days later I heard from Elizabeth at AskNYPL and in another email I explained that I was set and apologized for bothering her unnecessarily.

She wrote: “You are not bothering us. We’re here to answer questions, so if you run into any more e-book trouble, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Chat and phone are best for quick answers.” I responded again as did she: “So glad you were finally able to get a book! I loved A Gentleman in Moscow. Hope you enjoy it….Take care and happy reading!”

You don’t feel alone when dealing with people like these. Kindhearted, lovely strangers who take extra steps beyond their job descriptions are welcome anytime but especially these days. I suspect they enjoy their jobs more as well. Many of them suffer from pandemic fallout yet they still go the extra mile. Do you have similar instances to share?

Service of Sales Promotions: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Thursday, October 29th, 2015

Take Care: The Good

I got a generous 30 percent discount offer for online purchases from CVS, a pharmacy chain. Among other things I ordered a $45 OTC product my husband eats like popcorn. I’ve taken advantage of this offer many times.

Whether in the store or online, I am very careful to choose the right version as there’s one for kids that looks pretty much the same as the one he uses. So I was surprised when I opened the box and there was the kid’s version. I clearly clicked the wrong package–I hadn’t reviewed the order when the email confirmation arrived. [I’d never made a mistake like this before.] I called customer service, admitted my mistake and was given a bunch of options. I chose to return the box of kid’s stuff to a retail store and the cashier gave me a gift card equivalent to the amount I’d paid: A seamless collaboration between online and retail operations. I’m a fan.

Fishy: The Bad

I get email notices of special promotions from a fish store that assumes that everyone has a big family: You get a free pound of the fish of the day if you pay for a pound. If you like fresh fish–which is why people shop here–freezing the extra won’t do. So while it may seem like a great deal, it’s of little use to some–such as me. Why not just offer a smaller percentage off per pound?

Hot Dog! The Ugly

As I left to run errands I noticed a crowd of students who attend a college down the street from my office, gathered around a table on the sidewalk in front of a small food establishment. You often see a person handing out food samples in little cups from a tray. Tables on a city sidewalk are unusual.

On my return only three people were in an orderly line so I could see what was on the table and I joined the line.  Along with a sign declaring “free hotdogs” were two bottles of condiments and a tray with the snacks. The line moved quickly, I was next and there was one dog left. Just then a man arrived at the table from the other side and he stopped. The server looked at me, looked at him, and handed him the last hotdog.

I calmly said to the server “You made a mistake. You saw I was next. My office is two doors up. I was about to tell the 10 young men in my office about this business–they order out daily. I won’t now.” She stuttered that there were more inside but I was off.

What a shame: The owner meant well and now someone on staff has turned off a potential customer who will never go inside only to expect to be faced with similar discrimination. Also lost is positive word-of-mouth, the best marketing tool there is for a food place.

Can you share any good or bad promotions of late?

Get This Blog Emailed to You:
Enter your Email


Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz