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The best among retail chain pharmacies

Discussion in 'Pharmacy' started by mystiquecoco, May 10, 2007.

  1. mystiquecoco

    mystiquecoco

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    Apr 3, 2007
    I got this offer from CVS and Walgreens Pharmacy to work as a Pharmacy Graduate Intern and I just want your honest opinion... who do you think, based on your experiences is better to choose from between the two, irregardless of benefits and salary. I am more after the things that I can learn from working with one of them because I'm gonna take my NAPLEX in 6 months time. Please help me decide.:confused:
     
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  3. Caverject

    Caverject Try Some Schnitzel! 10+ Year Member

    7,713
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    I think KUmoose said this before...its like trying to figure out which eye you would like to stab with an ice pick. They both suck just as bad just with different names.
     
  4. mystiquecoco

    mystiquecoco

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    Apr 3, 2007
    That's a horrible thing to say, I guess. You're giving me a lot of goose bumps.
     
  5. dgroulx

    dgroulx Night Pharmacist 10+ Year Member

    Benefits and salary are what you should be looking at. I'm a graduate intern at Walgreens and will be taking the NAPLEX in June or July. I went with Walgreens because I want their stock options. They have no debt, unlike CVS.
     
  6. WVUPharm2007

    WVUPharm2007 imagine sisyphus happy Pharmacist 10+ Year Member

    What dgroul said. If it's possible to get a gauge of what kind of support staff you might have, that's a good thing to look at, too. A few good techs vs. a few incompetent idiots is worth $15,000 in salary. It's hard to get a good grip on that without working at a place first, sadly....
     
  7. DrugDealer

    DrugDealer Senior Member 5+ Year Member

    A lot of it has to do with specific stores within each chain, too, and their staffing and personal work ethics, etc. Some Walgreens are great, some suck. Some CVSs are crazy and awful, some are run smoothly and are more relaxing. Do you have any idea which store you would be at within each chain?
     
  8. pion

    pion 10+ Year Member

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    Sep 6, 2006
    AZ
    This is the right answer. If you have any idea which store(s) in particular you might be at, I'd check them out, maybe talk to the pharmacy manager, see how many scripts they do, how happy the senior technicians are, whether the store manager is cool, etc.
     
  9. Dustbunny

    Dustbunny 2+ Year Member

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    Apr 17, 2007
    Massachusetts
    LOL

    Walgreens isn't a particularly interesting company from a business PoV. They've taken no risks, and they've essentially gone nowhere exciting, stock-wise. Look at the last five years to see what I mean. Choosing one because "they have no debt" is business sense at its worst.

    However, what chain has its **** together generally speaking, is cyclical. Sometimes it's CVS, sometimes it's WAG. It's been CVS's turn for the last few years.
     
  10. SCCpharm

    SCCpharm 10+ Year Member

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    Apr 15, 2006
    Cali
    I think it would be more on how well you apply yourself and learn, since CVS and Walgreens have similar settings.
     
  11. Transfat

    Transfat 5+ Year Member

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    Apr 26, 2007
    I got a job at Walgreens to gain experience in hopes of getting into Pharm School. I thought I would learn all about medications and what they were used for and fun medical stuff like that. Instead, I think I am now qualified to be an insurance agent. If you end up in a busy store you will spend the majority of your time dealing with insurance issues. You can totally forget about anything medically related. What I ended up doing was getting on Walgreens' "StoreNet" on my breaks (the few times that I took a break) and reading about the things that I wanted to learn. Walgreens does have great resources for patient (and tech) education regarding the medications and pharmacy issues in general, but you will have no time to utilize those unless you do it on your own time. Having said all that, I just got accepted into Pharmacy school, so I guess it was worth it.
     
  12. rxcrystal

    rxcrystal 2+ Year Member

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    Feb 21, 2007
    Phoenix, Arizona
    I have been working for Walgreens for over 5 years as a tech and am going to start pharmacy school this Fall. Walgreens offers amazing benefits with their profit sharing program matching employees $3.2 to $1. For me, by the time I graduate I will be at almost 10 years with the company which means more benefits. I enjoy Walgreens as a company and have floated to different stores so I have seen some with drivethru's, 24 hour stores, busy, slow, etc. Overall, I was pleased with all the stores. Most pharmacists that I talk to generally say they are pleased with the company.
     
  13. Old Timer

    Old Timer SDN Advisor SDN Advisor 10+ Year Member

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    May 16, 2007
    The answer to your search can only be found by you. It depends on who your supervisor is and what the volume and staffing levels are in a given area.
    I worked as an independent from 1982 until 2001. I took a job with CVS and I have not looked back.

    As I was approaching upper middle age I decided to interview at Walgreens just to make sure I was in the right place. At Walgreens, you do everything the Walgreens way. Sort of like the Army. CVS is more flexible.

    If you are in retail, you will do high volume and stand on your feet all day. Walgreens is 8 hours a day, 5 days per week, every other weekend and that is it. I work every 4th weekend and choose to work longer shifts and have more days off. I could not have that flexibility at Walgreens. I know stores where a religious Christian does not work on Sundays and her partner therefore does not work on Saturdays. They split their weekends that way.

    I have always been able to use the restroom if I was in a store that filled 200 a day or a store that filled 800 a day.

    It also depends on what area of the country you are in. Whoever has more stores has more options for you.

    Interview at both and see what they offer you:

    • What is your starting salary?
    • What was the % increase in the last two years?
    • Is there a volume differential?
    • When will you get your third week of vacation?
    • What are your chances for advancement?
    • How many options can I choose from?
    • What is your schedule?
    And good luck in your search. Just because CVS is head and shoulders above Walgreens for me in money, flexibility and quality of life it does not mean it will be that way for you.
     
  14. McZyprexalynn

    McZyprexalynn 2+ Year Member

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    Apr 15, 2007
    I have worked as a tech at Walgreens for almost 5 years. There aren't any other chain pharmacies (aside from Walmart, Target, etc. and a small regional chain) in this area, so I can't compare to CVS or the other big chains. I've found Walgreens to be a good company to work for. The profit sharing program is awesome - over $3 matched for every $1 you put in. Also, Walgreens is pretty much everywhere, so you'll easily have a job if you decide to relocate at any point.

    I've always heard that Walgreens and at the top with regards to technology and after having worked with Walgreens system, I don't think I could stand to work anywhere else. The computer system is a little intense for a newbie, but once you get to know it, it's great. If there is something you think could be done better, WAG has an employee suggestion system where you can submit ideas. If they use one of your ideas, you even get a (small) bonus. And they do use employee suggestions, as I've seen several implemented and even gotten paid for an idea I submitted.

    Our pharmacists go to the restroom when they need to and they also take lunch breaks (which usually end up being towards the end or beginning of a the shift, but they are lunches). Walgreens is big on "fair scheduling" which is why you'll probably see more straight 8hours/5 days a week/every other weekend setups, but that is not always the case. We have a couple part-timers who work 2 days a week and every 4th weekend and my pharmacy manager is planning on switching our store's pharmacist shifts to 10 hours in the future. I also don't think they'd have a problem with one person having Sundays off as long as they had a colleague willing to work them.

    All in all, it does depend immensely on the store, the district, management, and volume.
     
  15. MountainPharmD

    MountainPharmD custodiunt illud simplex 10+ Year Member

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    Aug 15, 2004
    Sweet!!!! That was my quote!! I was trying to remenber it when I read your post...Very true to this day.....Both are bad....
     
  16. MountainPharmD

    MountainPharmD custodiunt illud simplex 10+ Year Member

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    Aug 15, 2004
    Walgreens likley will be ending their stock option program soon. They took a big hit a few years ago becuse thet were not accounting for them correctly.

    Stock options are worthless if the stock does nothing...Like Walgreens has for the last 5 years.....I think its been over 10 years since the last split.
     
  17. MountainPharmD

    MountainPharmD custodiunt illud simplex 10+ Year Member

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    Aug 15, 2004
    Are you in the Denver and/or Colorado Springs area? You must be refering to the 2 good stores out of a 100 and the 2 Pharmacists out of 500 who are happy. Walgreens in Colorado is a disaster right now. They do not have enough staff and have an huge problem with turnover. Everytime I call Walgreens for a transfer I plan on a 10 to 20 minute wait on hold. Then I get to talk to some rude jerk of a pharmacist who is so stressed they can't even be polite or professional.

    I thought it was funny, today one of my techs said a woman was at the out window with a question. I finished what I was doing and went over and asked her how I could help. She introduced herself as Colorado's new market recruiter. She wanted to know how I liked my job and if I had any problems dealing with Walgreens pharmacists. I actually lauged out loud when she said this. I told her I used to work for Walgreens and the problems were to numerous to get into. I wished her luck and told her she had her work cut out for her.
     
  18. Dr JPH

    Dr JPH Banned Banned 10+ Year Member

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    This is very true.

    When my fiancee comes home (Pharmacy manager of a Walgreens) and gives me the scoop that she is frustrated with XYZ or whatever, I always tell her what I would do in that situation. Her response is always the same "thats not how Walgreens does it."

    :laugh:

    But overall she is very happy with the company and extremely dedicated. In fact, much of my choice for my surgical residency was looking at programs that are located near a Walgreens. She has invested a lot of time and effort into the company but the rewards are coming back. She has been with them for 7 years now and with their current profit sharing plan, she wont have to work for them forever.

    Get in early, max out on your retirement plans and get out when you can. That goes for any retail chain you end up working for.
     
  19. Dustbunny

    Dustbunny 2+ Year Member

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    Apr 17, 2007
    Massachusetts
    Amazing! Hazelton's good advice extends even outside the pre-DO forum. A true renaissance man! :laugh:
     
  20. Caverject

    Caverject Try Some Schnitzel! 10+ Year Member

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    Aug 19, 2003
    49°43′N 11°54′E
    You should read "Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus"
     
  21. dgroulx

    dgroulx Night Pharmacist 10+ Year Member

    Even if you just buy stock from your paycheck, you still buy at a 10% discount with no brokerage fees. The stock options are a 10 year option. I buy at my initial rate the entire time. If the stock goes up, great. If not, then it's no worse than a money market account and just as safe because of their stability. We're limited to 401k contributions because of being highly compensated employees. The 3 to 1 match is great, but it's not on a whole lot of money. They have to offer more than that to get pharmacists.

    Other good points for me are the computer system and the shorter (8 hour) days. I've worked on many computer systems and I used to be a C/Unix programmer. Their system is awesome and there are upgrades several times a year. Last night over dinner, my husband (computer system architecht) and I were discussing the artificial intelligence built into Wags system.

    My legs thank me for only standing for 8 hours. I also get fatigued and tend to make mistakes by the 10 hour point. I did a few 10 hour days as a tech and could not stand it. At CVS, Publix and Target, I'd have to do 12 hour days. Who cares about the extra days off when your body is broken? When I get home after 8 hours, I still head directly to the jacuzzi.
     
  22. Caverject

    Caverject Try Some Schnitzel! 10+ Year Member

    7,713
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    Aug 19, 2003
    49°43′N 11°54′E
    whoops...my bad!! You had the KU avatar...now i remember
     
  23. MountainPharmD

    MountainPharmD custodiunt illud simplex 10+ Year Member

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    Aug 15, 2004
    Why does everyone always talk about how great Walgreens computer system is? So what!!!! I did not get into Pharmacy to be a slave to a computer. Trust me there are much better things you could be doing as a Pharmacist than staring at a computer screen making sure the pink pill in the bottle matches the pink pill picture on the computer screen. You will soon learn with Walgreens the only measure of your success is how fast you verify prescriptions. They could care less how many people you counsel or how many questions you answer ect.



    I work for a grocery store pharmacy. I work 8 hour days and I get an hour lunch. The reason pharmacists at Target and K-Mart work 12 hours days is because they do 80 prescritions day. They spend most of there time sitting on their butts surfing the internet. I bet they spend 2 hours a day actually standing.
     
  24. dgroulx

    dgroulx Night Pharmacist 10+ Year Member

    I counseled several people today on prescriptions. The pharmacist got in a few, too. If you're good, you can counsel and get through hundreds of scripts. I was placed at a store that is their model of a perfect score. There is lots of counseling, customers get a phone call if a med is out of stock, etc. Not all Walgreens are the same. This is the store and used for training because they do those things, not because they fill the most scripts. My DM wants me to copy myself after the pharmacy manager at this store.
     
  25. Jeddevil

    Jeddevil Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    It is apparent you have a real problem with Wags and that is fine. If you ever had a real system to work with, you would appreciate it also. If you work in any grocery store pharmacy, you are already a slave to the computer, one that can't get anything done efficiently. Act like you have more time for counseling, blah, blah, blah. I have been on multiple rotations in grocery stores, target, etc. Doing 100 scripts a day at any of these stores is similar to doing 300 at a wags. With all the foot traffic in a wags, I have far more opportunities to actually speak and counsel pts than any grocery store will get.

    One thing people havn't mentioned yet is the Wags proftit-sharing plan and how next year we will get around the highly compensated employee rule. I have had this confirmed with my DM and several others. Target did it this year, so it was only a matter of time.

    Next year, WAGS pharmacists will still get the nice match 3-1 match, but better yet, they will be able to defer more pre-tax bucks into their retirement plans, something we have been currently capped at 3%. We should be able to defer up to the federal contribution limit, which this year was 15,500 I believe. Don't expect a hight matching contribution, it is already the best in the nation. But you can go ahead and defer an additional 12,000 or so, which will save you about 3-4 grand in taxes and allow you to really put together a great retirement nest egg.

    It was in a company newletter or somethine last month. For those interested, feel free to ask you DM's.
     

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