Monday, December 21, 2015

Walgreens at the Corner of Irate and Amused

“I’m here to pickup some photos and photobooks for my wife; last name Gardipee,” I told the clerk at the photo shop at my local Walgreens.  My wife’s last name is not Gardipee, it’s Evans, like mine.  Gardipee is her maiden name but for some reason Walgreens continually gets it wrong even after she tries to update it.  I’m in a hurry tonight.  It’s almost Christmas, year-end at work, no time for pointless back and forth so I just went with Gardipee.  However, after the clerk rummaged around for a while I said, “Try looking under Evans. That’s actually her name now.”  Eventually, the clerk found the books under Gardipee and the photos under Evans.  That’s better, I guess.  The clerk did not ask if I wanted to update her account, but I did not mind.  I just wanted to pick up dinner and get home.  In addition to the 50% off discount my wife used online when she ordered the books she had given me a ten-dollar coupon to use and I used five dollars of Walgreens rewards, which left my total at just over $50.   

When I got home I was starving and just wanted to eat the still somewhat warm dinner I had brought home.  My wife, on the other hand, wanted to look through our yearly photobook that she had just spent the last week putting together online.  Walgreens’ website is not the easiest thing to maneuver.  Every year we scroll through our phones, computer, and Facebook accounts for our best pictures of the year to assemble a family photobook that we get for ourselves, our parents, and Amie’s grandparents.  One less book this year, we just lost my dad.  We also lost Amie’s grandfather but he always shared a book with Mummu (“Moo Moo”).  That’s Finnish for great-grandmother.  Anyway, Amie wanted to see all the great pictures of our son Clay and our daughter Daphne, who, because she is not yet one-year old, is making her first appearance in the photobook. 

I eat quickly, but before I finished my dinner (that’s right, I didn’t wait for her or the kids), Amie discovered that all four photobooks were missing pages.  They all ended at the same place but it was not the end we remembered.  The last photo in the book that I remembered was from late 2014.  It was a picture of a Post-It Note that was left on my wife’s desk, “16 hours to get your tax deduction.”  That picture, like my 2014 tax deduction, didn’t make it.  Daphne will never live that down.  So, now that I was done with dinner, I knew what my next job would be.

“These books are missing pages,” I told Ricky, a different clerk at Walgreens than the guy that waited on me hours earlier.  “I have an email receipt right here on my phone and you can see that I was charged for two extra pages.”  Another employee at the photo center overheard me and asked, “How many pages do you have there?”  “Fifteen.” I counted.  “They are only supposed to have twelve, so you got extra pages,” she said.  I looked at Ricky and said, “I know this was not the last page.”  “One minute,”  Ricky said.  He moved to another computer and started typing, “I’ll print it again and see what happens.”  Minutes later we had another printout of the book that stopped in the same place.  The female clerk seemed convinced that she had proved me a liar.  Ricky was unsure.  “Can I login to and show you?” I asked.  “Sure,” he said.

I had to call my wife for her login info.  Then I had to call her again and have her forward me an email that had just sent her with a security code because did not recognize the computer I was logging in from as one associated with her account.  That’s right.  Walgreens did not trust its own computer.  Anyway, after finally getting logged in, I was able to show Ricky and the other clerk that I was not lying and that I was indeed missing two pages.  I also noticed that in addition to listing my wife’s last name as Gardipee it also listed an address for her that we had not lived at since 2012.  We still owned the place but it’s in another state and is now a rental.   Ricky started working the phones with Walgreens Corporate and the skeptical clerk eventually wandered off to another department.

Ricky was told that the reason the whole book was not sent to the store’s printer is that you have to have large order books, books with extra pages, sent directly to your house.  You cannot get in-store pickup for such orders because the binding equipment in the store will not work for large books.  Strangely, my wife was able to order the books for in-store pickup without being told that bit of information.  I reminded Ricky that we were talking about a single extra sheet with two sides.  He then proceeded to convince Walgreens Corporate, and it took convincing, to resend him the order.  “We are open until midnight.  Can I call you when we receive it?” he asked.  “I have young children that I need to put to bed.  Could you could text me?” I asked. “Sure, I’ll text you,” he responded. I really appreciated that because I understood he would be texting me from his personal cell phone.  He also asked me if I would like a refund for my photobooks. “Not yet because my complaint will be that I want what I paid for.” I said.  Ricky let me know that he understood my frustration, and back home I went.

Not long later I got a text message from Ricky with a number to call.  I called him, and he let me know that the new order had the same issue.  He told me I could refund my purchase of the books in-store and that if I ordered the books online that I should call the 1-800 number on the screen right before I checked-out and that customer service would give another 50% off code.  He told me that I would not be able to use the coupon or the rewards points though and that I would have to talk with customer service about paying for the shipping.  I thanked him, said goodbye, had a beer and went to bed. 
The next morning while getting ourselves and our monsters ready to go shopping my wife said, “You still have to call Walgreens about the photobooks.”  So, I went online and did just like Ricky said.  I started to order the books and just before checking out I called the 1-800 number on the screen. 

I explained my situation to customer service and told them, “Here is what I think should happen. I have not been refunded yet, so you should just overnight me the books,” I said sternly.  “What I can do for you is this: I can give you a 50% off code, and refund your shipping after you order,” the gentleman calmly told me.  “What about the coupon and the rewards?” I asked.  “You’ll have to ask about that in the store when you get a refund for the other books.”  “Can we do this right now?” I asked.  “Yes.  I just need to order the 50% off code,” he said.  “Sure, I need to update my address first anyway.”

So while on the phone he ordered the 50% off code and I updated Amie’s address.  Then I proceed to check-out, chose billing address same as shipping address, typed in the 50% off code, and looked at my shipping options.  I was already irritated because I could see that this was about $15 more expensive than before and then I saw that there was no “over-night” option.  The quickest delivery option was a “rush order” that was estimated to be here on December 28th.  It was the 19th and there were no options to ensure that I would have the books before Christmas.  Being that the books were Christmas presents I was now even madder.

The gentleman from customer service told me he needed my order number so he could refund the $30 I was being charged for the “rushed” delivery.  The total price was now over $98.  I gave him the order number and then noticed the other information on the confirmation page.  “WTF.  F*** Walgreens this lists the shipping address as the old address I just changed… Can you fix that?”  I said furiously.  “No I can’t.” He said.  “So this is being shipped after Christmas to my tenant in Green Bay.  Please have your supervisor, or someone that can actually do something call me back.  And you better tell them to wait awhile because I am pretty pissed.” 

So then I went shopping with my wife and two kids on the last Saturday before Christmas.  You can guess how fun that was and what my mood was like.  They were shopping and I was plotting my revenge.  I am going to blast Walgreens on the internet, I thought.  I’ll blog about this experience, and boy is someone going to get an earful in the store.  I was not pleasant to be around that afternoon and, sadly, I was crabby and short with my family.  I eventually realized this and apologized but my mood was still not good.  

Hours later I walked into Walgreens, went up to the photo center counter, and asked, “Is your store manager here?”  “Yes, he’s right over there in the gray vest and white shirt,” the clerk said pointing.  I walked over to him.  Joel was his name, and I proceed to tell him the whole story.  I was calm.  I told him that Ricky did a great job but that I needed to speak with someone that could actually do something.  I admitted that I was rude to customer service and that I swore, though not at them.  “I don’t blame you,” he said.  I showed him an email confirming that my address was changed from Green Bay, Wisconsin to Marquette, Michigan at 11:00 am and an email six minutes later, at 11:06 am, showing that my order was being sent to the old address in Green Bay. 

While we were talking some other customer who appeared to be either drunk or on drugs crashed onto the floor.  At first, I thought the guy passed out, but then I realized he was trying to see under a display because part of his now shattered phone had slid under the display.  Joel got someone else to help that customer and then took me back to the photo lab.  “Just another day a Walgreens,” he remarked.   

Joel was great, and considering dealing with Walgreens Corporate, random intoxicated customers, and ones like me, I’m glad I don’t have his job.  He worked the phone with customer service and told me that he would take care of me in the store after we cancelled the online order before it was shipped off to Green Bay.  I told him that I have a blog and that he was killing my idea to rant about Walgreens on the internet.  After a lengthy phone call, Joel was told my online order had been cancelled.  The $98 would be refunded to my card.    

Once he was off the phone, I suggested that I reorder the books, he reimburse my shipping and handling and the difference in cost due to the coupon and rewards and that he give me the books with less pages so that I have something before Christmas.  He said, “How about I refund everything and just give you these books.”  All things considered, I decided that made sense and I was happy with the result.  For my troubles my $50 was refunded and I got free books albeit they were missing two pages, converted a $10 coupon into $10 of cash, retained my Walgreens reward points, and didn’t have to deal with Walgreens Corporate. 

Joel joked, “Do you want a free bottle of wine?”  “Yeah, that would be great,” I said. “It does not surprise me that Ricky texted you at home.  He’s a great employee,” Joel said.  “Give him the bottle of wine,” I replied.  When we were done he said, “Thanks for not blogging about us.”  I laughed and was on my way. 
So why am I writing this post you ask?  Well, the next day, my wife got an email from Walgreens Corporate that said they were not able to cancel her order, and that we would have to return it for a refund.  They provided a prepaid return label in the email.  Of course, the problem is that the order is not coming to us.  It’s going to our rental in Green Bay.  Plus, Walgreens is just going to throw the books away anyway, so paying for additional shipping is stupid not to mention bad customer service.  Why withhold my $98 until Walgreens gets its garbage back?  Do you think that this is some elaborate plan on my part to get free books?    

I may just have to sue Walgreens to get a refund.  I am not a litigious person.  I have never personally been a plaintiff even though I am a litigation attorney by trade but, frankly, a lawsuit might be easier than calling 1-800 Walgreens again.  So if you are reading this Walgreens, consider this my demand letter and refund my card or we may end up in small claims court.  And oh yeah, fix your damn website and give Joel and Ricky a raise for having to put up with me and you.
That’s My Argument.

© December 2015 Brandon J. Evans  


UPDATE:  I published this post on December 21, 2015.  That same day it appeared in the daily Non-Sequiturs published by Above the Law.  If you don’t know, Above the Law is one of the most popular legal blogs in the United States.  Today (December 23, 2015), my wife received an email that let her know her “photo book order will be sent via Rush shipping, and we estimate it will be delivered to [GREEN BAY] by 12/24/15.”  So at least it will get to the wrong address before Christmas!  Apparently, Walgreens online has not yet caught wind of my blog… well, I take that back.  Even if they knew of my blog, you can’t expect Walgreens to be able to stop an email from sending right?  Just in case they are not aware of my blog, I have decided to print that prepaid shipping label that they sent to my wife and, instead of using it to return to books that I don’t have, I am going to send them a printed copy of this blog.  We’ll see what happens.  Happy Holidays!
That’s My Argument.

© December 2015 Brandon J. Evans  

UPDATE:  On December 23, 2015, Joel left a message on my cell phone asking me to return his call.  When I told this to my wife she said, “that poor guy.”  My thoughts exactly.  I called Joel back, and immediately started apologizing for having to deal with this matter.  He told me not to worry about that and that he got my cell phone number from Ricky.  Joel told me that a mutual friend called him laughing, told him about my blog, and sent him the link.  He told me that he talked to a supervisor from Walgreens online and told them, “the thing is, he (meaning me) is not wrong.”  He convinced the supervisor to immediately refund my card, and he told me that if we get the books we can keep him.  Damn you Joel for again killing my blogging plans.  I was going to start emailing my blog to executives from Walgreens.  After each email, I could update my blog and we could see how long it took for Walgreens online to act reasonably.  Oh well, good work Joel.  But I’ll warn you now, I already told my wife that next year we are going to order our photobooks from Walgreens... I have to have something to write about.  Happy Holidays!     

That’s My Argument.

© December 2015 Brandon J. Evans