Duluth Pharmacy Recommendations

My pharmacy is closing and I need recommendations for a new one. I live in Lakeside and will not use Walgreens. I would prefer to go to the ER before having another prescription filled by them.

The whole story:
Kid needs to see the doc about something non-urgent (chapped lips gone way bad). It’s not life threatening, mostly uncomfortable for her.

Nurse asks: pharmacy? and then tells me my pharmacy of choice (Lakeside Falks) is not accepting new rx because they are closing. I mention that once upon a time when I had a little, crying baby I had a prescription filled at Plaza Walgreens. So…. Walgreens it is.

Doc comes in, checks out my kid, says, hey I’m going to fax a prescription for this ailment. Where do you want to send it? (and then I basically reiterate conversation I had with his nurse after I say “apparently the Plaza Walgreens”).

This all goes down, I have the kid back to school well before 1pm. We even went out for lunch at Mt Royal grocery store, ironically stopping in the Falks there for the over the counter stuff doc recommended and actually talk to the pharmacist. I briefly consider just having the script sent to Falks Mt Royal but then figure aw hell, it’s been over 20 minutes. They probably already filled it.

5:05 pm I stand in line at Walgreens. 15 minutes later clerk tells me that they have indeed received said prescription and are “working on it.” How long will it be? 15 minutes. I have to get kids at 5:30 in Lakeside, no I can’t wait but I will send my husband back for it when he gets off work.

Husband is delayed, goes in to pick up script at 8:40 ish and is told the same deal, “working on it.” Apparently a live body needs to stand in the waiting area in order for the store to authorize someone to slap a sticker on a tube of prescription skin cream.

Fight the take over. Don’t patronize Walgreens.

31 Comments

Joe

about 10 years ago

The Duluth Clinic pharmacy in Lakeside will take very good care of you and it is just blocks away from the Falk's.

Voula Heffernan

about 10 years ago

It is a shame the Falks closed. They were our pharmacy for a very long time and very good. I then moved to Walgreens when I needed to get 90 day supplies at lower cost to help my "donut hole" insurance coverage (Medicare issue) and Falks did not qualify. I have had just the best treatment from some very professional staff there (Central Entrance Wallgreens). But there are many good pharmacies out there... and it really does depend on the situation. Those pharmacists are dealing with a lot of stuff and most are wonderful. Good luck!

Bad Cat!

about 10 years ago

I have never picked up a prescription at Walgreens without leaving pissed off.

David

about 10 years ago

Walgreens has an excellent phone service;  they will call you when the prescription is filled and waiting.

I have never been dis-satisfied with Walkgreens IF I waited for the call.  Yes, cold calling on the pharmacy results in disappointment. So does cold calling on a lot of businesses -- photo developing, cake decorators, comic shops.  Call first.

Walgreens may be a soulless corporation, but the pharmacists have souls and do their best.

Barrett Chase

about 10 years ago

1. It doesn't seem that you are actually seeking recommendations, as much as you are looking for a place to complain about a bad customer-relations experience. PDD isn't really the place for that. I realize some people occasionally try to make it a place for that, but it isn't.

2. Did you attempt to get an answer from a manager or a pharmacist as to why things played out the way they did? Or did you just dash off to voice your complaints on the internet and call for a boycott because you had to wait too long?

Chad

about 10 years ago

Hm. That's basically the complete opposite experience I had at the West Duluth Walgreens.  I had a prescription sent there immediately after a doctor's appointment, and in the time it took me to drive the four blocks to get there they already had it in their system.

zra

about 10 years ago

Plaza Walgreens.

Aside from the hassle of setting up the kid's info the first time they have to have prescription meds, we've had no trouble.

Say whatcha want about the ghetto factor, they always get it done.

jest me

about 10 years ago

Yeah, I don't think it's fair for you to slam all Walgreens.  My Walgreens in Superior always takes care of me very well.  Like any store, it's not the corporation, it is the people who work there.  Incompetent or competent people can work anywhere, including a "local" pharmacy.

EvilResident

about 10 years ago

I always go to Cub. I've never been picky about pharmacies. I just need my seizure meds like fifty billion times a year, and they tend to be convenient.

I do think that calling for a total boycott because of one bad experience is a bit silly.

Vicarious

about 10 years ago

I've never had a problem with Walgreens. They've always been fast and courteous. And if I did I wouldn't complain about it here for fear of the Barrett Treatment.  (shudder) 

You don't mess with the Barrett.

hbh1

about 10 years ago

If your doctor is at all associated with the behemoth that is Essentia/SMDC, the Lakeside Duluth Clinic pharmacy is indeed very quick.

girlfromnorthcountry

about 10 years ago

I use Plaza Walgreens and I think they're super fast.  Like Chad, I leave my Dr.'s office and my scrip is done and waiting for me when I hit the Walgreen's counter.  The staff is young (pharmacy tech?), they are always super busy, and yet I've never had a problem.  I've probably filled 10 scrips in the past year, no probs.  I always had to wait at Kenwood Falk's, which sucks because that is a terrible store to be forced to shop while killing time.

PS I hear Falk's will deliver, alleviating the wait dilemma completely.

Kerc

about 10 years ago

It is useful to know that other Walgreens aren't as bad/slow as the Plaza Walgreens. And I was not aware of the phone service -- nor did the clerk (either time) tell me of said service. If she had, then I would not have been there the second time four hours later, expecting something they promised in 15 minutes.

Indeed I am sad that a giant chain + threat of second giant chain is pushing out a small local chain. But I truly AM looking for recommendations -- I was not aware that the Duluth Clinic had a pharmacy in the building since we are a St Lukes family.

Kerc

about 10 years ago

I wanted to add: I added the story/complaint about Walgreens so that people would understand why simply switching to Walgreens or to the Kenwood Falks (soon to be a Walgreens) was not an option.

Claire

about 10 years ago

Whenever I have to fill a prescription (at Plaza Walgreens), I bring along a book to read or go through their magazines and tabloids. Makes the time go by faster.

Bully

about 10 years ago

Kerc -  I heard that Falks came to Walgreens wanting to sell because he didn't have anyone who wanted to buy his stores and he wanted to retire.

Gary

about 10 years ago

Medical Arts Pharmacy does a nice job.  They are small and have good customer service and I believe they deliver too.  Craig is the pharmacist there.

Kathy

about 10 years ago

Can you imagine what PDD would look like if everyone posted their bad customer service experiences?  Yikes.  

As far as the pharmacy, I've used several and always call ahead to see if my meds are ready before I go there.  

Generally, I would hope they'd fill the blood pressure meds or diabetes meds before filling something for badly chapped lips.  The same way the chest pain patient in the ER gets seen before the patient with a twisted ankle.

Tony D.

about 10 years ago

Good or bad service aside, I choose not to patronize Walgreens because of their plans to tear down one historic mansion, two historic duplexes, and an almost brand-new office building to build a HUGE suburban-style Walgreens (with a drive through!) just over a block away from their Plaza store.

ruby2sd4y

about 10 years ago

I've patronized Plaza Walgreens in all my 19 years here and never had a problem. It's close to home and other places I run errands to, open when other places aren't, and many of the employees have been kids or parents I've known from my kid's schools over the years.

resolut

about 10 years ago

I'm with Tony D.  Doesn't Duluth have East Superior Street zoned any different from Miller Trunk Highway?  

Reminds me of Wal-Mart.  When Wal-Mart wants a bigger store they don't just expand the existing one.  Instead they build a bigger one on fresh land down the road and leave the old one as a zombie, empty and blighting the community for years. It's to be expected in our disposable culture, I suppose.

Bully

about 10 years ago

Resolut -  Walmart?  The Cloquet store, The Superior store, the Hermantown store?  Where have they moved down the road and left a zombie building?

resolut

about 10 years ago

I'm not trying to threadjack, really, but my teachers always said I lack focus.  And apparently bitching about bad customer service is out of PDDs purview anyway.  But, addressing the way corporations behave in communities such as Duluth, when noting a local business being bought out by a large aggressive chain, seems quite relevant for a community blog.

While I understand the world pretty much begins and ends near the western tip of Lake Superior, I was actually thinking of other places when I made the Zombie Wal-Mart comment.  Forefront on my mind was the grand town of LeMars, Iowa.  Some years ago, they built a Superstore less than a mile down the highway from the other store.  Their old store remains empty, bringing blight to the community. See even the old 'small' stores are often too big to be sold or leased, so they remain empty. Over the years, I've noticed other abandoned Wal-Marts, just down the road from the new one. Some were in Northern MN, but the towns elude me - Brainerd? - I don't recall.

And, I'm not an expert on such things Bully. However, your question prompted me to do something drastic, I googled "Abandoned Wal-Mart Building".   From this search I found out that there are hundreds of zombie Wal-Marts around the country.  Some have become meth labs, others were purchased by the city to be torn down at taxpayer expense, others merely sit empty and bring down the value of surrounding property.  I read during my search that 70% of Wal-Mart buildings are leased, making it cheaper for the company to pick up and leave.  Some even say Wal-Mart saturates a new area with more stores than necessary, and then they thin them out after the competition is out of business so they don't cannibalize each other. 

At any rate, Walgreens plan to build a sprawl-style store, on our historic main street, when they already have a store a block away, reminded me of Wal-Mart's business methods.  It made me wonder, what will happen to the old building? Will it become a dead space on the street? In this economy, how long will it be empty until it's filled or redeveloped?

As to my flippant disposable culture comment:  As locally owned businesses are gobbled up by chains; I would like to see communities stand up for their interests.  Corporations are obligated to earn a return for their shareholders. If they are allowed to tear down historic buildings, build cheaply, and leave behind ugly carcasses, they will do so.  Unfortunately for us, the company's profits are private and the long term costs of their actions are public. 

Disposable - use and throw away. repeat.

Lisa

about 10 years ago

I've heard CVS has a purchase agreement for the Plaza Shopping Center and will build a store across the avenue from Walgreens.

David

about 10 years ago

Complaining about Walgreens or Wal-Mart is like complaining about pain after facepalming yourself in the forehead.  Neither of these corporations do anything without the complicity of the masses.  "Stop hitting yourself!  Stop hitting yourself!"

We start with:  how do we educate consumers with an understanding that the measure of the best deal extends beyond price?

...

As for this thread:  Walgreens builds within its legal rights on property it owns?  Oh no!  You don't like the way they build?  Lobby for xoning changes.  You don't like what happens to their old buildings?  Lobby for a TIF district around one of the abandoned sites, subdivide, and make it work.  (Hint:  you won't find the not-abandoned, repurposed Wal-Marts with a keyword search using abandoned.)  Participate.

jessige

about 10 years ago

In what will probably be a vain attempt to actually answer the question at hand...

We use Target.  We live in Lakeside, too, but we just time our refills, etc, with the usual Target trip every couple of weeks.  They also have a phone service with automatic refills, and you can request refills online.  They've never been anything but nice, and they even remember our daughter by name when we get there.  *shrug*

year of glad

about 10 years ago

I drop off written prescriptions and pick up meds from the Walgreens across from the Miller Hill Mall at least twice a week for a family member. I've gotten to know the pharmacists, and they're really kind people. In my experience, they do a great job of getting medicine together quickly and with care.

digit3

about 10 years ago

Wonder what will happen to Beijing Restaurant and the other tenants (aside from Duluth Running Co. who are building out their new space right now) when CVS comes in and razes that Plaza strip? 

Think of all the great new choices in mega-pharmacy offerings when we have both a brand new CVS and Walgreens just a block from each other. Oh Boy!

Shane

about 10 years ago

CVS is the rumor for the Plaza strip. Rumor is they also own the house between the strip and the gas station.

The Medical Arts Pharmacy people are nice. I got a prescription for my cat there. My prescription is one that Target and Wal-Mart are selling for $4, so I go to Target. As Target is based in Minnesota and if I am going to support a huge impersonal corporation, might as well keep it as local as possible.

jest me

about 10 years ago

I have to say that I still don't understand why one bad experience with one bad pharmacy tech is a reason to boycott all Walgreens altogether.  That would be like refusing to go to all McDonalds or all Perkins because of one messed-up order.  Depending on the situation, I may not patronize THAT location again, but it wouldn't turn me off to the whole businiess.

Also...Mom and pop businesses are nice and often offer very personalized customer service, but Walgreens, Target, WalMart employ local people, provide local service, and pay local taxes too.

Kerc

about 10 years ago

Just to reiterate: I have been to walgreens before this incident, but switched to Falks Lakeside because I just hated the poor customer service I got there (at Walgreens).

My experience with smaller, stand alone stores, is that the pharmacist has enough time to actually talk to you about the stuff you're taking. Also more willing/able to do special requests.  That might be true at bigger stores, although to be honest it isn't true for me at the Plaza Walgreens and I don't have lots of other pharmacy experience.

So it sounds like there are indeed more options than I had known about:
Duluth Clinic Pharmacy in Lakeside
Medical Arts Pharmacy

Walgreens appears to have better customer service at the mall area one - and a drive through. And maybe Walgreens as a company is worth revisiting once they take over the Falks at Kenwood. 

CVS might be coming?  Possibly to the plaza.

Target has a nice pharmacy department, but is over the hill.But as far as giant corps. go they are a Minnesota company and treat their employees more or less decently.

Walmart also has a pharmacy.

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