My Letter to Rite Aid

I decided to try out Rite Aid today, given that it's closer to where I'm staying right now than my former pharmacy, but I was extremely upset by my experience there.

I had surgery to put a severely broken foot back together and am on full bedrest, except that to pick up percocet, you have to show up yourself to the pharmacy. On my very painful and exhausting trip to get my medicine, I was excited to see that Rite Aid offered a 15 minute guarantee so that I could get back to bed quickly. I dropped off my prescriptions at the RIte Aid in Pleasant Hill, CA (2140 Contra Costa Boulevard, Pleasant Hill, CA 94523) and waited for them to be finished.

Within five minutes the pharmacy manager, Lek Sananikone, called me back over. He said the insurance was rejecting my prescription because it was too soon. I informed Lek that I was aware there had been a problem, but that my doctor had just spoken with my insurance company and gave approval to cover it and they had said it was good to go. My doctor had asked that I have the pharmacist call if there was a problem, so I suggested that Lek do this. Lek refused to talk to my doctor and told me to go back to the CVS pharmacy where I had gotten the prior prescription. At this point I was still calm. I explained to Lek again the situation, that my doctor had just talked to the insurance company and that she had asked that the pharmacist call her if there was a problem. He told me to go to back to CVS, that the computer told him no and there was nothing he could do about it. I again stated that my doctor had just gotten off the phone with my insurance company, and perhaps he could call them. He told me the insurance company is already rejecting it, there's nothing he could do, I should go to CVS. At this point I started to get upset because it seemed like he wasn't even trying to help me, he was just trying to get rid of me. I told him this and suggested again that he call my insurance company. He finally did and was on the phone for quite some time. While I waited, I called my doctor and told her what was going on. She asked to speak to the pharmacist, but he was still on with the insurance. She got the insurance company on the other line and they told her everything is fine and it should go through. Lek snapped at me a couple of times telling me I need to be quiet while he is on the phone. He got off the phone and told me there is nothing he can do, the insurance company says it is too soon. I asked him to talk to my doctor. He refused.

At this point I am crying. I am in pain, I am exhausted, I'm on crutches, and I'm not even supposed to be out of bed. My doctor was on the phone with me and asked to speak to Lek, who said no, but I handed him my phone anyway. I do not know the contents of their conversation, but in the meantime my boyfriend suggested that I might be able to pay cash. I asked Lek if this would be possible and he snapped at me to be quiet because he's trying to talk to my doctor. He handed the phone back to me and she was very upset with him. Unfortunately, she can't just write me a new prescription because she is in SF and I'm on bedrest in pleasant hill and I actually have to pick up the handwritten script.  I asked him again if I can just pay cash. He said yes. I asked him why he didn't suggest this in the first place. He didn't answer me. I asked him if it will be a few minutes, and he says yes so I hobble over to the make up section and browse while I wait. That was at 3:05pm. I had arrived at 2:40pm

At 3:30 I still hadn't been called so I went over to the register to wait. My boyfriend made a comment about the 15 minute wait guarantee, and a technician who hadn't been there before asked my name. My prescription was waiting by the register and I had not been called. I made my purchase and asked about the 15 minute guarantee. Lek told her no because there had been an issue. I asked, "You don't honor it because he had to deal with my insurance company?" Lek replied, "there was an issue."

I am visibly upset at this point. I had been crying, frustrated with the system, but most of all frustrated with Lek's lack of interest in helping come to a resolution. From the very beginning he acted as if he just wanted me to go away, and in fact told me several times to just take it to CVS. I was very calm in the beginning, but at this point I am extremely upset. I said to my boyfriend and the technician, "well, lesson learned, I won't be a Rite Aid customer." Lek stopped what he was doing and came over to me to say, "If you hadn't been so rude we would have taken care of you. I would have taken care of everything for you." I remind him that I wasn't upset until he wouldn't help me come to a solution. I told him I've never been treated so badly by a pharmacist before - that I thought pharmacists were supposed to help you make things work. Then we left.

For the record - I am not upset that Lek couldn't make the prescription work. I understand that insurance companies are difficult. I am skeptical that he couldn't have done something more given that my insurance company was on the other line saying it was fine and it should go through. 
I am extremely upset with Lek because:
a) he immediately said "computer says no" and didn't even try to offer a solution, he made it clear he didn't want to help, told me to go to CVS
b) he never even suggested that I could pay cash as an option
c) he was extremely rude to me and my doctor after this
d) once my prescription was ready, he didn't call me and made me wait extra time 

FYI - it wasn't busy. I was the only customer there at this time.

I've worked in customer service and know what it takes. He's the pharmacy manager, he should be more helpful, and more professional. He should also be understanding of the fact that someone picking up a prescription for percocet with her doctor on the phone and standing on crutches in tears might be in a place where she needs a little more help. 

I'm sad because Rite Aid is the closest option for me in Pleasant Hill, but I'll gladly drive much farther to avoid ever having to deal with Lek again. I'm an avid pharmacy customer with several prescriptions per month and a $300 personal budget for supplements and toiletries and such that is almost exclusively spent at Walgreens. I'm young and loyal, and will make the decisions for my family in this arena - so I'm a pharmacy's dream customer. Unfortunately, Lek just made sure that pharmacy won't be Rite Aid. I'll be going back to Walgreens, where in 12 years as a customer I have never encountered one problem that wasn't easily and happily fixed.

The Rite Aid website states: 

Rite Aid is a place where customers are treated with respect and they feel appreciated and welcome.
Rite Aid is committed to providing our customers with superior service and complete satisfaction. Our associates are trained to offer our customers friendly, helpful service in every area of the store.

If you are committed to that statement, you should care about this feedback. As a corporate professional myself, I thought you would like to know.

No comments: