Jul 06 2008

What’s your favorite drug store?

A lot of bloggers have discovered the wonders of drug store deals. I’ve been privy on this “secret” since October, and I think I finally have a favorite place to get my deals. I know I’m one of the lucky ones–I live close to a CVS, Rite Aid and Walgreens.

To maximize my freebies, I tend to go to all three chains, though not every week.

My favorite drugstore is Rite Aid. It’s deals are the simplest: You look in the sales flier to see which items are free (or almost free) after rebate. The ad typically mentions that there’s a manufacturer’s coupon available for some of those products as well!

I like how I can enter my sales receipts online instead of having to mess with mailing them in. Everything is usually in stock when I visit the store.

And, since their system is pretty easy–rebate only, no extra bucks or register rewards–I find that checking out is the most hassle-free. I only mess with manufacturer’s coupons, not store coupons.

So, while better deals can often be had at Walgreens and CVS, I choose Rite Aid as my favorite because it’s the most straight-forward.

When I go to Walgreens, I never mess with “register rewards” deals. I stick to what’s free after rebate and I tend to leave it at that. I like how my rebate is put on a store gift card, so I can use that money to buy other necessities.

I have had problems checking out at Walgreens from time to time, such as when I have store coupons or if my total comes out to being $0.00.

For whatever reason, disgruntled Walgreens employees e-mail me and yell at me. An example of one:

“Just so you know, I am being FIRED from my job as an assistant manager at Walgreens because of customers like you and all the others on your site, the company believes what you are doing is ripping them off, and I am being accussed of coupon FRAUD because of one of you coupon clubbers scamming us into basically giving you stuff for free.

So, next time you think you are saving yourself a dollar or two, think of the persons career you might be ruining, not to mention their life. I am very ill, and need my medical insurance that I will NOT have any longer because I GAVE in to a customer complaining til I let them have it.”

OK? Please, if you’re a Walgreens employee, don’t e-mail me to gripe about it. I can’t help you.

CVS is probably the best drug store for getting deals on a variety of things. Since you can use your earned Extra Care Bucks on just about anything in the store, you can really stretch your budget with them. I like the deals there and I rarely have trouble with them, but I do find that my area CVS stores run out of those hot items rather quickly. And, they take the most time to plan.

Which are your favorite drug stores?

24 Responses to “What’s your favorite drug store?”

  1. I LOVE Walgreens….love it – I am there every few days…but I don’t think I am the best for finding the deals there….

  2. I (thankfully) manage to avoid drug stores for the most part.

    I’m curious: how do the Walgreens employees get hold of your email address? Do they ask for it when you register for the discounts?

    Solomon’s last blog post..The “Things I’m Grateful For” July contest – Starts July 1st!

  3. I used to work in retail,and its people like you that made me quit. I got so sick and tired
    of people trying to whine and cry to get a “deal”,saying that the customer is always right.

    Look,if you’re really that pathetically desperate to get a freebie,then go on welfare.
    Its their job to make money,if you don’t like the price,don’t buy it.

    There are other ways to save,you don’t need to steal from the company and make someone
    lose their job. Maybe you don’t care,but guess what sweetie,they don’t care about you and your greed either.

    I know you will probably delete this post and thats fine. I just hope you’re a little pissed.

    Have a lovely day;)

  4. @ Solomon–The cashiers I personally interact with don’t have my e-mail. People just surfing the internet find my blog and my e-mail is listed here.

    And Former Cashier, I’m leaving your comment up. Have a lovely day yourself!

  5. I don’t see how using the coupons that are provided is ‘stealing’. The coupons are there and they scan and the person gets that item off.

    If they don’t want someone to get something for free then it is up to the people who make the coupons to see that multiple coupons cannot be used….it is not the customer’s job.

    lulugal11’s last blog post..How I Save Money Visits: June 6

  6. I like CVS. We have a fairly significant number of prescriptions we fill there, so we end up with lots of ECBs. Between that, the register coupons, the e-mailed coupons (you have the option of giving your e-mail address with your CVS card), and the sales, I feel like I do pretty well. At least I feel good about it, whether I actually save that much or not.

    Former Cashier: I rather suspect that the reason you got fired had a lot more to do with your attitude than with customers using the promotions the company offers. If you were my employee and you had that attitude toward customers, I’d fire you, too. (And yes, I’ve worked retail before.)

    Ginkgo100’s last blog post..AACAP and State of Connecticut denounce “The Baby Borrowers”

  7. I like CVS the best. It is also the closest drug store. I have saved so much money using their program and the coupons, and I usually spend less than $1 OOP each time I visit.

    The other day when I was shopping at CVS (actually for my sister, b/c she sprained her ankle real bad – aren’t I nice!), I spent $12 ECBs and $.03 OOP and got back about $9.50 ECBS. The manager who checked me out was amazed and wants me to teach him how to shop the way that I do there – and it is all legit!

    Yes, there are some people that do things illegally, but I do not understand why people like the former cashier has to get all upset when someone saves money – is it really b/c they are jealous b/c they are not getting the same savings? I wonder?!

    I am glad that comments like the one from the former cashier does not get you all upset – people like that really need to relax a little bit!

    Promises Fulfilled’s last blog post..What’s Your Favorite Soup To Make?

  8. Actually, Walgreens also accepts rebate submissions online. I don’t know if you have checked recently, but if you go to their (rebate webpage ), there is a link to the online submission system. All you need to do there is to enter your receipt number. It will detect things automatically, and you can add receipts any time, and finally submit at the end of the month. Even if you forget to submit the rebate (after entering them into your account), they will automatically send you a check.

    I found this out last month, when I was desperately seeking the mailman on a Saturday to catch the postmark deadline, and just missed him.

    RH’s last blog post..2. How to get to Champaign-Urbana by road?

  9. CVS for sure! I go to Walgreens on a great occasion but I don’t like messing with rebate stuff and we don’t have a Rite-aid anywhere near here. I can walk to my CVS. It is that close.

    I also do not use coupons that are suspect. I only use coupons from the paper or ones that I can print directly from a merchant’s site. I don’t try to scam cashiers. I wouldn’t know how. Most of the cashiers that I deal with are very nice. I always let people go ahead of me in line because I usually do at least two deals. Sometimes I just wait and come back when the line dies down.

    And I was a cashier at Wal-mart and the customer is right to an extent, but as a cashier you know the rules. If you bend them because someone is whining then that would be your fault. You cannot blame someone else. Also, CVS has the right to refuse any coupon that they think is not valid. So you can always use that excuse.

    Gretchen’s last blog post..Menu Plan Monday, Week of July 6

  10. I don’t shop at the drug stores every week, but when I do, I like CVS the best. I go to Walgreens if the deals are great, but I tend to have issues with register rewards and hostile cashiers so I limit my trips there.

    Funny…one of the few negative comments I have gotten on my blog was in response to a post I once wrote about issues that I had there. Interesting to learn that you have gotten some of the same…

    I do not feel guilty for using coupons to save money. I am always nice, I don’t argue if I think that the cashier/manager has a valid point, and I won’t use coupons that I think might be “questionable”. I have a hard time believing that couponing is making these stores lose money…for every 1 person who uses coupons there are probably 10 (or more) who don’t.

    And yes, in my high school/college days I also worked as a cashier. And annoying customers drove me crazy…but only when they treated me disrespectfully.

    Great post as always. Enjoy your week. :-)

    Marcy’s last blog post..Menu Plan Monday – July 7

  11. Thanks to YOU i have found the wonders of drugstore shopping, haha. Now I’m hooked. I saved over $90 this week between the drugstores and Meijer (mostly at Rite Aid though – the details are on my blog…just posted about it tonight).

    Because I don’t have a CVS any closer than an hour away, I only shop Walgreens and Rite Aid. My favorite would have to be Rite Aid for pretty much the same reasons you listed. The ease of submitting online (although I do that with walgreens, too), the products always in stock, the cashiers are always nice and helpful even though i have 20 coupons, haha. Plus? They have the most FREE after rebate items.

    And as far as the Former Cashier’s comment…I worked retail for 6 years (Walmart if you’re interested…started as cashier and made my way into management) and it isn’t stealing or greedy or selfish to use coupons that are put out by the manufacturer’s! Go on welfare? Just because we use coupons? Seriously? It isn’t ripping the store off because they get reimbursed from the manufacturer, even if the item turns out to be free. I don’t understand where s/he is coming from…For the most part, scanning even a huge stack of coupons doesn’t take much more time than checking out a customer w/o coupons. Cashiers get paid to check customers out when they’re done shopping…I don’t see what the problem is, lol. Grrr… =P

    tiffanie’s last blog post..i saved $91.84 by shopping smart

  12. I can’t believe the rudeness of some people. The rude email and comments I get on my blog are that I can’t possibly be feeding my kids a healthy diet because I buy stuff with coupons, and as “everyone knows” you can’t buy healthy stuff with coupons. Yeah, right. Like the yogurt, cheese, milk, nuts,and fresh fruits and vegetables I picked up this week at more than 60% savings!

    And in answer to your great question, my favorite is CVS. I only have CVS and Walgreens and the cashiers are a lot friendlier to me than those at Walgreens.


    Angie’s last blog post..Do you shop your local Farmer’s Market?

  13. Hello Kacie!

    Great topic:)

    This comment might be a bit lengthy, so I apologize in advance.

    I used to work retail for 8 years. There are tremendous bargains to be had by taking advantage of store sale and coupon policies at almost every type of store you can imagine. In my experience very few customers agressivly insist on getting a deal unless the deal, coupon, special is very clearly stated and we as the store personell are trying to cheat the customer out of the deal. Few people take full advantage of a store’s sales and coupon offers, but those that do expect stores to honor their advertised promotions by pleasant, professional sales clerks.

    When working with the general public there will always be a handful of thoughtless customers that try to rip a store off. Again, in my experience, these are few and far between.

    I’ve been a long time shopper of CVS. I do not make any attempt to be dishonest, commit coupon fraud, etc and still am able to obtain many household supplies for next to nothing. Carefully paying attention to sale prices, store coupons and manuf. coupons and combining them as allowed by store policy to get items for free or close to it is not considered “ripping the store off”.

    It is up to CVS (and any store for that matter) to honor all of their promotions and I have never personally ran into a situation where they did not. Sadly, I have ran into 1 or 2 less than professional clerks that have difficulty understanding their company’s policies as it is clearly stated in writing and it really hampers their ablility to provide good customer service. Fortunately these types of employees are few and far between.

    Take Care,


  14. I love CVS, I’ve been able to nab a few good deals there since getting my ECB card and I started clipping coupons. I have not tackled Walgreens or Rite Aid quite yet but they are on my list to begin shopping there.

    As for ‘Former Cashier’ perhaps you should look over your stores coupon policy? Consumers have every right to use coupons as the deem fit, as long as following the stores policy and the fine print on the coupon. Couponers did not cause you to lose your job, perhaps you made the mistake, not us. We don’t run the cash register.

  15. I don’t get too into the deals, but prefer CVS. Besides the fact there is 6 locations near my home & work, I like the instant gratification and hassle-free-ness of the ECBs. I don’t like messing with rebates.

    I’m sorry you’re getting nasty comments about this. I didn’t realize drug store employees were angry about these deals. I always assume the drug store marketing departments know what they’re doing when they offer ECB or rebate deals, and they are reimbursed from the coupon manufacturers, so there’s nothing bargain shoppers are doing that are hurting the corporations. And, based on these comments, they are definitely fostering store loyalty! The drug store employees I run into are typically helpful, making comments like- “Oh, you better grab a candy bar or something, to keep the total from being negative” or “You lucked out, with those (free after ECB) products in stock. We can’t keep them on the shelves!”

  16. I prefer CVS because the ECB’s keep me from spending lots OOP. They nearly always have the items I want in stock while my Rite Aids are usually out of everything. In fact, the stores look pretty empty :-( I don’t have money to tie up in rebates, so I like the way I can flip the ECB’s and keep my monthly spending low.

    I’m noticing that different areas have better luck with the different drug stores than others. I guess a big point is if your store is stocked with the items you want and how nice the cashiers are as to which store is your favorite.

    My CVS and Walgreens are well stocked and very nice. I was in Walgreens last week to get the diaper deal. They had a $5.99 tag under the Mega packs. The wording on the tag was confusing so I picked up 3 of the Mega packs and the cashier did a price check. They came up $10.99. I nicely mentioned the tag on the shelf because I wanted to make sure I was doing the right deal. The manager walked back there with me and said, “You’re right. This is marked wrong. This is our mistake and you can get the diapers for $5.99.” I wasn’t trying to cheat them. I wanted to do the right thing. I think they were very nice and I made sure to thank the manager for helping me out.

    My Rite Aid? Not so nice :-(

  17. I hardly ever go to a drug store. We don’t have CVS or Walgreens or Rite Aid at all here (I’m in Canada, on the West Coast) and nothing like those kinds of deals.

    I know my Eldest Daughter goes to Shopper’s Drug Mart and has their Options card, which does something like what you’re talking about. But I stopped going to Shopper’s about 20 years ago because they’d always have a weekly flyer and you’d go out of your way to get there and then they’d only have about half the things they’d advertised. They may very well have improved but I’ve still got a bad taste in my mouth from all the times I went and came out empty handed.

    I go to London Drugs occasionally but I won’t go out of my way to go to them when I can just buy what I need at Safeway (which is on my way home even when I bus) and get Air Miles on it all.

    Shevy’s last blog post..Sunday’s My “I Have to Run” Day

  18. This is the most fascinating post I have read in a long time! Wow, I blog about my CVS success all the time, and have yet to receive a negative comment or email.

    I wonder why they targeted you, Kacie? There are many others that play the drugstore game in the blogosphere.

    This disgruntled employee clearly has no idea that using coupons is not a form of stealing. It is simply smart!

    I think it is awesome that you left the nasty comment up for all to see! It makes for interesting conversation, that’s for sure!

    Alyssa @ Keeping the Kingdom First’s last blog post..Medieval Times: Kids Free through September 1st

  19. I don’t typically get rude comments or e-mails, but when I do, they’re almost always from someone claiming to be a Walgreens employee. It’s bizarre! I’m not sure what that’s all about.

    I was hoping that nobody would be offended by me leaving the rude comment up, and so far, nobody has complained.

    I just figured I’d show that it takes a LOT more than a rude anonymous person on the internet to ruffle my feathers!

  20. I love CVS! We don’t have a Walgreens near us, so I’m not too familiar with them. (Probably for the best anyway- I don’t have time to fit another store into my shopping routine!) I had a really bad Rite Aid experience a couple months ago- terrible, terrible customer service- so I try to avoid that store now. And I also found that the limit was often only 1 on Rite Aid deals. I like CVS better because I can use my ECB “profit” to buy other things we need to purchase like cards, for free. And the limit on the deals tends to be more than one.

    Great question!

    Dana’s last blog post..Kroger deals: 7/6 – 7/12

  21. I have heard that plenty of drug stores are saying that people like YOU are abusing the system. So yes, even the companies feel that you are stealing. So it’s not just the workers.

    Also a little note to you “frugal” people, I hear the CVS is cracking down on what you do.

  22. The stores get paid for mfg coupons anyway so whats the big deal?

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Hey! I'm Kacie, wife to Shane and mother to Jonathan (7), Vivienne (5) and Amelia (2) . I write about my family's finance: how we save money, improve our spending, and plan for the future.

I hope I can inspire and encourage you to improve your situation. See disclosure.

I'm adopting a much slower-paced posting schedule, and treating this as a hobby blog now.

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