Oct 17, 2010
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So I have received offers from Target and Rite Aid (where I am currently an intern) in the Charlotte, NC area. I love the Rite Aid computer system since I am very comfortable with it. I had an APPE rotation at Target and liked the fact that I worked in a slower paced environment, and the whole Target "culture".

The Target computer system were kinda old to me, but I understand (during my interviews) that they are getting a new computer system starting 2014. In terms of salary, both offers were very comparable even though Target offered 84hrs/ 2 weeks as compared to Rite Aid’s 77hrs/ 2 weeks.

Anyone with any input on which of these 2 companies/ offers I should lean more towards? Any pros and cons of working for either Target or Rite Aid will be appreciated.
 

All4MyDaughter

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My experience with Target was that it was lower volume, but much more work for the pharmacist because of lack of technology, extra tasks (things related to "Target culture") and very little tech help. In my district, only two of the seven stores have daily tech help, and usually not for the entire day. No tech help on the weekends, except at the two busier stores. My home store had their tech hours cut from 40ish to 22 to 25, routinely. The longtime technician quit because of the cut in hours. You use a daily "workload tool" to determine how many hours you have to cut or add from the next week. This happens AFTER the schedule is posted, which sucks for the technicians.

I work PRN for them now, and my last shift was on a Sunday, where I did 60 Rxs by myself in a 5.5 hour shift, plus all of the other routine tasks. It was stressful, and I had to leave some work undone, despite staying an hour after close and only taking a 15 minute break instead of lunch. I once did 80 on a Sunday by myself and had to count down the entire C-II safe. It was rough.

Target has added more busy-work since I left. They made ordering more complicated, and it's timed. You get a printed list (by fax) of what to order and if you don't scan it by a certain time, you don't get an order the next day. They also instituted daily cycle counts. This also comes via printer or fax and give you a page long list of NDCs to hand count by close. Even on the weekends when you have no help.

I have no experience with Rite Aid, so maybe someone can help out with that.
 

BenJammin

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One thing you guys need to understand is that low script count does not translate into low work in most cases. I can back up what A4MD said about Target as I saw it as an intern, especially her comments about tech hours. If the work flow isn't smooth and isn't structured then 100 can easily feel like 1,000.
 
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OP
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Oct 17, 2010
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Thanks A4MD and BJ! I hope more current and past employees of either companies will give their 2 cents. One common theme I’m getting is that there’s no “Holy grail” in retail. Each company comes with their own problems for pharmacists to deal with. You would think at least the likes of Walmart and Target will have some edge over Rite Aid or Walgreens (still not including CVS lol), but probably that’s not the case. I guess no one wants to pay you big bucks to come and do things at your own slow pace.
I just hope in the end, my guts help me to make the right choice. One that I’m going to embrace and give it my best shot!
 

bacillus1

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I interned at Rite Aid and did an APPE at Target. There are positives and negatives of both, but it seemed like Target was less "metric-focused", meaning that there were no things like amounts of calls you had to make to patients, flu shot quotas, etc... Also, when I worked for Rite Aid, our PDM gave us a paper that we had to sign that no one except the pharmacist can sit down during their shift ever (and the pharmacist can only for a limited time to rest their legs because they are standing for a 12hr shift). I really felt that at Target pharmacists work more like pharmacists and less like corporate slaves (although I'm sure there is a degree of corporate slavery in each).
 

All4MyDaughter

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I interned at Rite Aid and did an APPE at Target. There are positives and negatives of both, but it seemed like Target was less "metric-focused", meaning that there were no things like amounts of calls you had to make to patients, flu shot quotas, etc... Also, when I worked for Rite Aid, our PDM gave us a paper that we had to sign that no one except the pharmacist can sit down during their shift ever (and the pharmacist can only for a limited time to rest their legs because they are standing for a 12hr shift). I really felt that at Target pharmacists work more like pharmacists and less like corporate slaves (although I'm sure there is a degree of corporate slavery in each).
Target has metrics. They include:

  • Signing people up for text messaging refills/fill alerts
  • Signing people up for Rx Rewards (loyalty program)
  • Signing people up for Red Cards (credit/debit)
  • Being "Green" in payroll - meaning you used the workload tool I described above to add/subtract hours from your payroll correctly
  • Inventory - see what I said above about ordering
I may be forgetting some. We also had to go out and do what were called "Vibe Walks" in the store. I never did one, though.

If you fall short in a metric you have to write a plan to improve. We were always short on Rx Rewards at my store. The reason? Most of our patients were Medicare/Medicaid and they weren't eligible to enroll. So our "improvement plan" was a bit challenging to come up with. :shrug:
 
Jan 1, 2014
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Shameless plug for Rite Aid. I worked for them during my retail days and they treated me very well. I was signed for 30 hours as a floater, but they gave me almost limitless extra shifts. I was routinely working >100 hr pay periods. They promptly put me in a store as a staff RPh, which is rare for a new grad. Their system is super easy to learn. I had 2 different DMs with completely different styles but they treated me very well and almost served as mentors rather than bosses. I also worked with very few disgruntled people; go figure.

Other things I'd consider:

1. Busy is a good thing. Busy means business. Business means profit. My buddy works at Target and said he did 40 scripts during one day mid week. You make a little more than 10 bucks per script if you're lucky. He gets paid roughly 60 an hour. Do the math. Rite Aid has been doing well this past year business wise FWIW.

2. You'll be working with very little tech help at Target. The only mistakes I've (knowingly) made we're times when I was doing scripts from start to finish. Other pharmacists can confirm that their mistakes happen when they work primarily alone as well. Something to consider; gotta watch over the license!

3. You won't really know if you've made the right decision until it's too late. What you need to realize is a good retail experience is highly dependent on so many factors that are more or less independent of the company and they are generally beyond your control. Your DM, the quality of techs you'll be working with, staffing vs floating vs PIC for a new grad, the socioeconomic status of the store(s) in the district, the district in and of itself, etc.

4. Keep in mind that all chain pharmacies push metrics hard. That's the nature of the job and that's how you will be judged as a pharmacist. Period. The sooner you realize this the better off you'll be.

Good luck and congrats with the offers.
 

bananaface

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I think Target is having a culture shift that will move them to what Walmart is now, but with less support technology. It is hard to keep good staff with the hours flex and there is no time for anything clinical. If you want to sell your time in 12 and 9 hour blocks, by all means do so. The pay is good but you may feel like I did, which is that it is just not worth it. I would work my ass off in an understaffed environment for 4 days out of the week and spend most of the rest recovering. Salaried at 42 hr/week and I probably worked an extra hour a day between coming in 30 minutes early for a opening, closing emails, and completing "ambush" required paperwork and assessments. I would rather get paid for what I work and work a non-burnout schedule.
 
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I don't know much about Rite Aid except that their stock has skyrocketed in the past year. The metrics at Target have gotten somewhat ridiculous. It's like they hired a CVS DM and they've been implementing similar metrics. There's only so many ppl you can sign up at your pharmacy and once you start going in the red there's little you can do. It's a cool gig, funner than most places but there are so many little nuances that are not pharmacy related; and because it's alway short staffed it falls on the pharmacist to stay later or come earlier. Each week you're waiting for the reports to come out; each day there are emails sent out from a business partner with some new challenge or they're highlighting what you didn't meet the week before. And the one I worked at was never slow; it's pretty stressful trying to complete everything and be "guest" service oriented. It's a personality thing more than anything, if you can handle all of that and you're a person that gets energy by being around other people you'll be a great fit. I just know I just felt drained at the end of each shift and the lack of hours especially got me to look elsewhere. PDX is [email protected]# compared to some of the windows based systems; they've been saying Target's new system is coming out next year for the last 2-3 years; the one they came out with a year or two ago was even worse and had tons of glitches.
 
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All4MyDaughter

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I don't know much about Rite Aid except that their stock has skyrocketed in the past year. The metrics at Target have gotten somewhat ridiculous. It's like they hired a CVS DM and they've been implementing similar metrics. There's only so many ppl you can sign up at your pharmacy and once you start going in the red there's little you can do. It's a cool gig, funner than most places but there are so many little nuances that are not pharmacy related; and because it's alway short staffed it falls on the pharmacist to stay later or come earlier. Each week you're waiting for the reports to come out; each day there are emails sent out from a business partner with some new challenge or they're highlighting what you didn't meet the week before. And the one I worked at was never slow; it's pretty stressful trying to complete everything and be "guest" service oriented. It's a personality thing more than anything, if you can handle all of that and you're a person that gets energy by being around other people you'll be a great fit. I just know I just felt drained at the end of each shift and the lack of hours especially got me to look elsewhere. PDX is [email protected]# compared to some of the windows based systems; they've been saying Target's new system is coming out next year for the last 2-3 years; the one they came out with a year or two ago was even worse and had tons of glitches.
Yeah, the new computer system is being implemented in select stores. 2 or 3 of the stores in my district are getting it, but others aren't. As a PRN floater, I think I'm going to be obsolete soon because I don't have time to learn a new computer system well enough to be comfortable working by myself without a technician anymore.
 
OP
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Oct 17, 2010
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Another thing I’m also realizing is, it looks like students/interns/technicians might see things a little different from the way pharmacists see it. I also had a rotation at Target last summer and had the opportunity of working with 2 floaters who had both just started at the company from WAGs and CVS for different reasons. They seemed to be enjoying then (obviously because they were floaters with little responsibilities). It looks as though circumstances change once you get a store as a full-time pharmacist. One question I kinda have is how do they evaluate the performances of floaters at all? How fair is it?

One other thing that does not particularly appeal to me (even though its not a big issue for me) is the fact that store managers at Target seem to have more authority in the pharmacy. They usually come around asking how many flu shots today, Rx Rewards, and stuff like that. I don’t see that at Rite Aid (at least not in my store).

Then again, I begin to think about the 12 hour shifts that Rite Aid has without a lunch break. That’s definitely a con for me. At least Target gives u a 30-minute lunch break if you so wish to take.

In terms of company performance, I understand Rite Aid is doing ok but they still trading at $5.04. I do not live in NC, so I guess one thing I need to find out is how well the company is doing down there. Over here in MA, its doing just OK. From my understanding, even though Target pharmacies (like any other business) need to be run with profits, the success of the company/store is not based on the performance of the pharmacy per se. They’re trading at $63.18. I don’t see Target closing down their pharmacy business due to poor profits (at least as long as Walmart still has pharmacies J).

Then in terms of workload, even though I don’t wanna be running around in a too busy store, because it drains you, I will hate slow stores. I went to work yesterday on the 1st, and it was dead, and I hated it! If it is a low script store/company, I would rather have some other responsibilities to keep me busy/active.

Thanks once again A4MD, bananaface, pleasesendjunkmaik, bacillus 1 for your inputs. Appreciate it! I will continue to ponder over this for a while before I make a decision for sure!
 
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All4MyDaughter

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The problem is that while Target is low volume at many stores, it's incredibly difficult work because you have no help and no technology. Staying hours past closed to get everything done and not getting paid for it sucks.
 
Jan 1, 2014
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It looks as though circumstances change once you get a store as a full-time pharmacist. One question I kinda have is how do they evaluate the performances of floaters at all? How fair is it?
That's the biggest secret: floating is the best job in retail.

Everyone wants a store. Everyone wants a regular schedule. Everyone wants guaranteed hours. And to an extent I understand that. However, once you're in a store you're under the microscope.

What if your techs don't like you? What if your techs aren't any good? What if your partner is horrible, leaving you an unfair amount of the store's workload? What if your partner is a corporate kitten who's loved by the management so anything you do will pale in comparison? What if your patient base is really needy? What if you're in a store that's busier than you'd like? I could go on and on but the point is: once you're in a store you're kinda stuck. You need to deal with the store's problems, gossip, and drama on a daily basis. When you float, you do the best you can on that day, then you bounce.

At least at Rite Aid, my DM seemed to evaluate floaters in 2 ways:

1. Subjective: the DM "hears good things" about you from other RPhs and techs. Essentially, were you leaving a mess behind? Did certain work just not get completed? Did the techs seem to talk favorably about you?

2. Subjective: were you a "yes man"? Did you pick up extra shifts when asked? Did you complain about hours/ the schedule?

Thanks once again A4MD, bananaface, pleasesendjunkmaik, bacillus 1 for your inputs. Appreciate it! I will continue to ponder over this for a while before I make a decision for sure!
You're welcome. Good luck. Weigh out your options, make a choice, and don't look back! You're in a good spot.... 2 offers in a bad market! Congrats!
 
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I am beginning to have a feeling I would eventually go with Target. A couple of their current interns have told me their new computer system is really effective and helpful . Their PDX system was a real con for me initially. I am still keeping my options open while I continue to ponder.
 

nextyearrx

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I will go with Rite Aid, since I worked for 2 years at Rite Aid, I know that computer system is very good. At Target, I heard the same things as posted earlier like working without much tech help, and other paperwork you need to do!!
 
OP
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Oct 17, 2010
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@nextyearrx, I dont know but i am really beginning to feel like the computer system is something that you could pick in a matter of a couple of weeks or months. I think it will be a plus to be comfortable with the system before starting as a pharmacist but I also believe the system could be picked up real fast with no big issues.
@piad, they offered a little more than Rite Aid in my case.
 
Apr 19, 2014
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Then again, I begin to think about the 12 hour shifts that Rite Aid has without a lunch break. That’s definitely a con for me. At least Target gives u a 30-minute lunch break if you so wish to take.
In California, Rite Aid workers must take at least 30 minutes lunch time by State Labor Law.
 

Deja

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In California, Rite Aid workers must take at least 30 minutes lunch time by State Labor Law.
yep, even if its mot required, idk why ppl don't take it.... if people in cali can take a lunch and still get work done why cant other states? lol

store managers at target do have more authority, at rite aid, pharmacy manager has the final say, at target, the customer can demand to speak to the store manager if he/sh is unsatified with the pharmacy manager...

besides, the salary, what are the benefits that target is offering? I know rite aid doesnt offer 401k match (only offer $1000, which is basically nothing) and you don't start accumulate your vacation till 2nd year

I also 2nd the comment about being a floater is way less stressful lol but its nice not driving everywhere and know when your day offs are, and floaters tend to only get closing shifts, so if thats a problem for you, smth to think about

also is Target pushing for MTMs too?
 

DesiRX

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I would say Rite Aid. I have been working for the company since Feb 2012 (I started as an intern back then and got licensed July 2012)...They signed me on as a 30 hr float but they'd give me close to 40 hours/week and I got my own store in Sept (less than three months after getting licensed/working). I now work for a community hospital full time, however, I still do part time shifts at Rite Aid and they are a great company to work for. I was with CVS prior to being signed by Rite Aid and no offense to anyone but Rite Aid >>>>>> CVS anyday so if you ask me, I will say go with Rite Aid, however, with that said, I don't know much about how Target works. Never worked for them but I've heard positives and negatives.
 

DesiRX

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And in any case you're wondering why I left, the 12 hour shifts on my feet all day long was a killer as was dealing with the customers (as they say, afterall, retail is retail lol)
 
OP
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Oct 17, 2010
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So I actually ended up accepting a Fellowship offer from a big Pharma company. I had decided to go with Target over Rite Aid until then. I personally believe Target is a better retail place to work overall. Eventually, I've decided to pursue something quite different with this fellowship.