Monday, March 3, 2014

3.3.14 Bee-otch of the Day: Meijer

Bee-otch of the Day honors are awarded Monday through Thursday, Bee-otch of the Week is awarded Friday on


Name: Meijer
Age: 80
Occupation: big box retailer
Last Seen: Grand Rapids, MI
Bee-otched For: worst. pharmacy. ever.

--- As a kid, I grew up in Elk Rapids, MI, a town that has two pharmacies. One was Hatch Pharmacy downtown and the other was River Pharmacy, which was also downtown but moved to a new medical plaza on Ames Street about 20 years ago. Thankfully, both druggists are still in business, although Hatch's is now The Corner Druggist and the building it's in has served as a drug store since it was built in 1910.

Several years ago, I had a discussion with my great aunt and uncle, who live not far from Elk Rapids in Kewadin. There was talk about Walgreen's coming to town, and the residents weren't happy about it. They were scared that it would be ultra-competitve with the small, family-owned drug stores in town and run them out of business. It would also hurt the town's three gas stations, party store downtown and sole supermarket, the Village Market, which has been in business for 65 years now. My great uncle had cancer surgery while they were in Florida, they went to Walgreen's for his meds. He was out in the car close to vomiting while my great aunt was bitching to the moron running the store who seemed reluctant to help. They then told me about how the man who owns The Corner Druggist, Wes Knecht, lives in the small apartment above the store and if there's an emergency - even in the dead of night - he would rush downstairs to fill up the meds.

Thankfully, Wally's in Elk Rapids was never built. Wanna go to one? You drive ten miles to the one in Acme. Otherwise, you have to deal with the painfully excellent service from either Mr. Knecht or Louis Garanghelli at the River Pharmacy.

But sadly, I'm in Grand Rapids, where the words "family-owned" seem to be a pipe dream in the world of Meijers, Walmarts, Family Fares and D&Ws. OK, so Meijer is still privately owned by the descendants of founder Hendrik Meijer, a barber who founded a small neighborhood grocery store in 1934 that became one of the midwest's largest retailers, but they're a force to reckon with here in Michigan's second-largest city.

A few weeks ago, I gave Meijer my Bee-otch of the Day for their painfully slow service getting my meds after my doctor told me that I have a severe ear infection and anxiety that stemmed from it. I waited some two hours before I finally got my meds. The time after that, I only waited maybe 45 minutes.

Well, on Thursday, I went back to the doctor and he changed my prescription for my antibiotics. I told the ladies at the doctor's office to call in my prescription, which meant reducing my wait time. So, I drive over there at 4:30 and the lady at the counter told me that the prescription wasn't even in the system yet. I waited 30 minutes and the lady told me again that it wasn't in the queue. So, I drove home. My phone's battery was almost dead, so I charged it. At 8 p.m., I turned the phone back on and I got a phone message at 6:12 p.m. It was a recorded message from Meijer telling me to pick up my meds.

Yep! It took Meijer one hour and 45 minutes just to fill up a flippin' cup of antibiotics. FAIL.

I talked to my father about it and he goes to Walmart's pharmacy where he has the same problem. Recently, my stepmother had hand surgery on both hands. The surgery was done in Louisville, over 100 miles from where my dad and stepmom live. So, after the surgery was done, Dad drove my stepmom to Walmart Pharmacy near where they live - about an hour drive, mind you - and SURPRISE! The prescription was not in the system yet. Dad was in there walking in circles while my poor stepmom was out in the car in severe pain and agony.

Folks, this is why I think the big box pharmacy system is a joke. Their objective is to chase ma-n-pa out of business to make their billions. Walmart and Meijer did it to several towns, especially here in Michigan. Hell, I was talking with a woman from a tiny town in northern Michigan called Fife Lake not long ago and their pharmacy closed. They couldn't compete with the ones in Kingsley, Kalkaska, Manton or even Cadillac. There's a lot of older people in Fife Lake and with the roads being undrivable during the long winter months, it's tough on them.

True, Meijer deserves applause for selling antibiotics for free, but waiting sucks. If they want me as a customer, they gotta get their shit together. Life is short, and I don't want to spend it waiting.

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