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Would you like to read a CVS-brand LiveJournal post today? - The online computery journal thingy of a turtle

Jul. 28th, 2009

11:13 pm - Would you like to read a CVS-brand LiveJournal post today?

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Speaking of dumb policies, which I wasn't but SO WHAT, I went to CVS Pharmacy today to get passport photos taken. They looked pretty good; I only looked about 25% dumber instead of 50%!

Then I bought a bottle of water. As the cashier rang it up, she asked me, "Would you like to purchase any CVS-brand products today?" Ummmmm... no, not especially... the hell kinda question is that?!

Then I noticed a sign on the register saying something along the lines of, "If we do not offer you any CVS-brand products, you get a $5 gift card." Okay, that sounds horrible. I don't envy the cashiers who are probably being trained to ask every customer that dumb question under pain of getting yelled at by the boss, or something, and I can't see anybody actually being interested in taking them up on it. "CVS-brand products? Oh boy, I thought you'd never ask! I wasn't going to buy anything besides this magazine, but what the heck, lemme grab some CVS-brand aspirin, shampoo and rubbing alcohol in on top of that!"

Almost as bad as the fucking Twickets.

Comments:

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From:thecanuckguy
Date:July 29th, 2009 04:54 am (UTC)
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We just got passports for the first time this summer (hadn't needed for travel to US before, but guess what?) My photo is the worst you've ever seen. Don't have my glasses on and, for some reason (or possibly because of that) I'm considerably cross-eyed. Good thing I rarely use the thing.

As to that policy, yeah, that stinks. I've seen it before in other places (or similar), and can empathize being formerly in customer service myself (and reading your Twicket account, I can see why you empathize too.) Personally, if it was me, I know I'd just say "fuck it" and not ask. And not give a rat's about what kind of flack I'd get because of it. Sounds like a good excuse to leave anyways. As I said, I can empathize having "been there, done that", but I also wonder why they'd mindlessly say it and not stand up, or leave. (Surely not every place they could work makes you ask questions that make no sense?)

This is clearly a case of those who make decisions not being customers themselves (I mean, really, is this something the people who bring you your money want you to do??)
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From:kinkyturtle
Date:July 29th, 2009 05:05 am (UTC)
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I didn't even notice the sign until after she asked. I wonder how may other people don't, considering how notoriously unobservant the general public can be.

Oh, and as for the decision-makers not being customers, there's even more evidence of that: in this CVS store, they've set up a little video screen on a shelf near the cash registers that plays video ads, for various hair and skin care products. The audio is quite loud, and as it consists entirely of sales pitches, very annoying, especially if I have to wait in a long line at the register.

I've taken to walking in, surreptitiously turning the volume down to zero, and going about my business. So far, no cashier has ever given me flack for this. :}
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From:vakkotaur
Date:July 29th, 2009 12:27 pm (UTC)

Turning ad volume down.

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I suspect it's something the cashiers do not dare do, but dream of doing.
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From:almightytora
Date:July 29th, 2009 06:05 am (UTC)
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I just love using my CVS rewards bucks to the point my purchase becomes free... and then get CVS rewards bucks back for the products I just bought.

Addicting, I tell you.
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From:mejeep
Date:July 29th, 2009 07:04 am (UTC)
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I agree with the way customers are now considered a captive audience for advertising or "upselling", such as Best Buy pressuring buyers to get the extended warranty, or the ads during phone calls to the bank (even for required calls such as activating a new bank card, particularly when I must press a key to REFUSE the offer and continue with my initial business!)

I'm particularly annoyed with all the "customer satisfaction surveys" shoved in my fave, even by fast food joints. Deep down, I suspect some shitheaded middle-manager uses these surveys to get a bonus, even if that means fudging the results to prove whatever he wants. They're used only to fire or penalize the front-line workers, never any bonus or promotion for them even if the score perfectly. Like the old phrase "there's lies, damned lies, and statistics".

Ah yes, when I bought my new VW, I was inundated with surveys. They were NOT confidential. The salesperson somehow got a copy and based on that, I'd get a free oil change only if I said he was totally wonderful. Total lack of objectivity, eh?
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From:kinkyturtle
Date:July 29th, 2009 07:54 am (UTC)
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Some hotels are really bad about that too, lately. I go on a road trip, and when I arrive home two weeks later, I find two or three emails from some place I stayed at on my way up: one is a customer appreciation survey, and the next one or two are passive-aggressively whiny nagging messages complaining about my failure to fill out the survey. All that does is make me think, "Maybe I should stay at a less clingy, needy, insecure place next time."

My point of view is, if you don't hear from me, you can assume I'm satisfied. I'm not gonna bother making my opinion known unless it's negative ("The maid never gave me fresh towels! Instead, she mashed chickpeas onto my laptop screen and into the CD drive! I hate chickpeas!") or exceptionally positive ("I must commend your front desk clerk; I missed the shuttle to the airport, so he ran down the street and dragged it back to the hotel with his bare hands. Awfully nice of him!")
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From:wildfox34
Date:July 29th, 2009 08:23 am (UTC)
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Gotta love marketing ploys like that. It's just like the Meijer store here, who advertises occasionally their products saying that "it's the same product as the name brands, just with lower prices!" (And they did get me, I buy alot of Meijer brand stuff!)
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From:kinkyturtle
Date:July 29th, 2009 09:11 am (UTC)
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Yeah, but the thing is, in this case it's a dumb way to go about it. The time to try to get me to buy the store brand is when I'm at the shelf making my selection, not when I've walked all the way from there across the store to the cash register.
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From:thecanuckguy
Date:July 29th, 2009 04:40 pm (UTC)
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Exactly! Are we supposed to say, "you know what? You're right! Let's put back all the stuff I had carefully picked out for the last 25 minutes [well, not in your case, but you know what I mean] and repeat the process all over again so I can stock up on CVS stuff and save $3.85 on my bill! Thanks for the extra hassle so I have enough buy a jar of mayonnaise!"
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From:nefaria
Date:July 29th, 2009 12:13 pm (UTC)
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Happens at McDonald's a lot too, all the "get one free if the cashier doesn't suggest it" offers.

I'm not sure what the net positive is. The customer gets annoyed because he thinks he's getting a freebie but doesn't; the cashier gets annoyed because she has to say the same insipid thing hundreds of times a day and might get punished if she forgets. I guess it's win-win for the marketing department because the customer gets hit with advertising twice, once from the sign and once from the cashier.
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From:vakkotaur
Date:July 29th, 2009 12:30 pm (UTC)
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Marketing types should never be left without proper adult supervision.
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From:wbwolf
Date:July 29th, 2009 02:03 pm (UTC)
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I don't think the point of having the cashier ask you is to having you purchase right away (though, promoting an impulse buy is the goal of just about any retailer), but rather a way of cheap advertising.

What I think probably happened is some marketing type noticed, "Hey, our CVS branded goods aren't selling well/we don't have much recognition." But the point of having house branded goods is they are suppose to be lower cost since they have no advertising overhead. This is why they came up with scheme; make the cashiers do it at point of purchase.
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From:deckardcanine
Date:July 29th, 2009 03:37 pm (UTC)
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CVS does not seem big on employee satisfaction. I worked there one summer.
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From:toonygal
Date:July 29th, 2009 07:49 pm (UTC)
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It seems like that line would work better if they already had a CVS brand product up by the register and asked if you would like to buy it. Perhaps she did and someone already bought it, but she didn't have time to run and get a new product.
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