Friday, March 12, 2010

The Walgreens miracle

I was just there to get a perscription filled for a relative, and boy is that Walgreens an amazing place! Their entire business model is counter-intuitive, yet undeniably successful. While Wal-Mart has reduced operational overhead and tightened the supply chain by consolidating to super-duper-cavernous-consumer torturamas, there's a Walgreens on every corner in the US it looks like.

Bodie, California is a ghost town in the absolute middle of nowhere, population zero. I bet they got a Walgreens.

All that overhead. Every 6000 sq. ft. store has to have a manager and a pharmacist and a utility bill. One would assume it'd be more profitable to follow the Wal-Mart model and run towards 24,000 sq. ft. stores... yet you can't argue with data. Walgreens has opted for easy access, quick in & out no hassle consumer experience, and it seems to be paying off.

Guess I'm an example of why. I wouldn't get caught dead in a Wal-Mart... well that's not entirely accurate. I once was caught being dead in a Wal-Mart. Oh heck, what am I thinking! That's not what I was caught doing in Wal-Mart! Dang ol' security cameras. But about Walgreens, I don't mind going there at all.

It's not just that though. Anything you want to test yourself for, they have a home test kit for sale at Walgreens. Yep, I'm not kidding.

Now, I'm not going to be judgemental here. After all, I'm a serious journalist. (Remove glasses, look concerned) but some of these test kits are to lend science to things rather dqricky. Oh excuse me! (Put glasses back on) 'dicey' is what I meant. Again, not being judgemental, but some of these test kits sold at Walgreens would only appeal to those with lifestyles generally under the "alternative" section in personal ads, that's all I'm saying.

Starts with blood pressure and blood sugar testing kits, moves rapidly forward from there. Pregnancy tests? Oh pish, many to choose from! They have digital ones now, for those who get confused trying to decipher color change. I suspect they may have talking ones even, that say in a mechanical vaguely feminine voice, "Your womb is ajar... your womb is ajar."

They have a home test kit for HIV on sale. And they have a test kit for drug use, which I find rather confusing. If you don't know whether you're on drugs or not, perhaps you should change dealers. Too much distrust in this country; not to editorialize or anything.

But I was there to pick up a bottle of drugs. The counter girl said, "Since this is narcotics, I need to see your driver's license" and I find that a higher level of customer service; seldom seen nowadays. Give somebody a bunch of codeine pills, make sure they have a car, in case they might want to go on a little Magical Mystery Tour once the meds kick in good.

If I hadn't a driver's license to show, I'm not sure what would've happened. She might've tried to sell me a Walgreens driver's license home test kit, cause I bet they sell those too.

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