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Boots the Chemist
Member Name: SugarSpun
Advantages: Great selection of products
Disadvantages: I've had bad customer service experiences
I'm torn on Boots, I really am. On the one hand, they have an excellent reward system in the Advantage Card, they carry a wide range of excellent cosmetics, beauty products and soaps, shampoos etc and have branched out into photography and their in-store opticians really nicely, and they have everything you could possibly need from a chemist at reasonable prices plus all the gifts and smellies sets at Christmas. Their sales are great - 50% off immediately after Christmas (plus 3 for 2 on gifts before), then 70% off a few weeks later and a final push of 90% off at the very end. They tend to be very well located, and their shops all look the same - bright, fairly clean and well laid out with enough space between the aisles to manoeuvre a pushchair with ease. Their special offers are often amazing value, their own brands fantastic quality and the till-spit bonus money-off vouchers a very welcome bonus to shopping with them.
when things go wrong, their customer service makes me wince. In the days before digital photography, I would always use the one-hour developing service at my local Boots, and would never receive my photos before two hours were up. It's not an issue any more, but the one time I complained about it the cashier was incredibly rude to me and asked me if her tea break was keeping me from my methadone (I have never been addicted to heroin, never used it or methadone, and have a professional career).
Also, I've stopped using their pharmacies because they seem to employ people who don't know quite enough - but just enough to be dangerous. I have a life-threatening allergy, and when I went to collect my antibiotic prescription I informed the pharmacist of my allergy. She nodded, went off into the back and returned a few minutes later. Handed me my drugs, took my money and as I was turning to go, said, Oh, we didn't have exactly what the doctor prescribed you so I've just given you penicillin in the same dosage. Penicillin happens to be the allergen I mentioned, and when I pointed this out she commented that a lot of people claim to be allergic to it but aren't.
I sent off a letter to head office and received a reply telling me that replacement with an equivalent product was store policy. Completely missed the point, and now I use a local chemist. Boots is still my go-to shop for shampoo and cosmetics, but I don't use it for anything where I have to interact with the staff beyond saying hello, refusing a bag, thank you and handing over money/receiving change. Much nicer that way, unless my local one was just particularly bad.
Summary: I like buying stuff here but not talking to the staff.