Yesterday, I visited CVS or as I like to call it, ‘Hell on Earth.” I had gotten a coupon send to my email regarding a $5 discount and I felt obliged to cash in on this gold mine. They recently started allowing customers to send the coupons to their CVS card rather than carrying around the scroll-like receipts you receive when you buy something. Online, it wouldn’t let me ‘send to card’ so I had to print it out the old fashioned way.That’s right. I, a 26 year old, printed out a CVS coupon for $5 off. Let’s skip past the paper jam and the ‘low ink toner’ notifications and get to the in-store action.
Outside of the CVS, I couldn’t get the door open. It was locked, but just slightly ajar. I yanked and nothing happened. While pulling on it, CVS employees were standing by the register yelling “go around” and waving their arms in the air. I finally went to another entrance that had a revolving door. After the revolving door was a turnstile, which was below waist-level. This place was more of an obstacle course than a convenience store. I knew I was in a place I didn’t belong. As I turned the corner to walk into the open area of the CVS, the employees chimed in, “SIR! We told you it wasn’t open” and broken sentence fragments of “door broken” and “jam door.” I could feel the beads of sweat start to accumulate at my hairline and roll down my forehead as the panel of judges stood there grumbling. My face as red as a lobster’s ass. I quickly turned down the closest aisle to get away from the chaos. That aisle being ‘Pet Supplies.’ I was nose to nose with a bag of Beggin Strips when an employee appeared out of the shadows, whispered “Fancy Feast” and then disappeared back into the abyss. I quickly exited the aisle and made my way towards the ‘Personal Care’ aisle to buy what I wanted in the first place, which was a new toothbrush. I stood there overwhelmed staring at what seemed like an endless wall of toothbrushes. Each one offering different incentives. One had rotating bristles while another had batteries included. There were the bonus packs with multiple brushes and an infinite amount of color choices. There were too many options and I WAS OVER IT. I reached out and grabbed a random single pack toothbrush and as I did another customer’s hand reached for it. An older man about 86, who also had appeared out of nowhere, stood there staring at me and as we looked at each other, The Crystal’s “Then He Kissed Me” started playing through the store’s speakers. He closed his eyes. Enough was enough, I grabbed another toothbrush and headed towards the registers to finally escape this ordeal.
When I arrived at the checkout area, the same 3 employees from the beginning of this adventure were waiting at each of the three registers. Not a single person in line. As I started to approach I was presented with, “self-checkout SIR” and waved away. They all in unison pointed their arms to the left (my left) directing me over to the self-checkout registers. Their main job was to stand there and direct people over to the self-checkout despite standing in front of a perfectly good register. At the self-checkout, I scanned my toothbrush while employees said, “you need to scan your CVS card SIR” and “jam door.” It wouldn’t scan as I dragged the barcode across the sensor. I did it three times and nothing appeared on the screen. Then, out of nowhere, three toothbrush charges appeared on the screen. It was at that exact moment that I debated pulling a Kevin Mcallister and running out of the store with my stolen toothbrush. Instead, I voided the transaction. “Do you need any help SIR!?” they barked. “NO!” I fired back. “Well excuse me” said one of them. In my head these employees were completely useless and their only purpose on this planet was to drive me utterly insane. Numerous times I’ve gone to the CVS and they don’t actually scan you up at the register, but instead stand over you telling you what to do at the self-checkout. Pardon me, but that defeats the purpose of a ‘self’ checkout if you ask me. I scanned again and then scanned my printed-out coupon, which resulted in a giant red X popping up on the screen. “You need to scan your card first SIR.” I scanned my card while other people were waiting in line behind me… WAITING IN LINE FOR A SELF-CHECKOUT DESPITE 3 OPEN REGISTERS and 3 EMPLOYEES STANDING AT THEM YELLING AT ME. Once again they said, ‘do you need help sir?” and I said, “NO, I’ve got it!” to which the screen presented an ‘assistance is on the way’ graphic. This was hell and I was the main attraction. “So you did need help?” the employee sarcastically proclaimed. I took a deep breath because I truly thought I was going to explode into confetti. The employee scanned a magical card and then told me to choose my payment method. I swiped my credit card as the employee stood over my shoulder. As I went to press credit, the employee said, “you need to press credit or debit SIR.” I quickly finished up paying, grabbed my toothbrush, and trotted towards the door.
“SIR, your receipt!” shouted one of them. I turned back around and waited an extra 2 minutes as the machine printed out a novella. I headed towards the exit with my receipt unraveling and rolling out of my arms while the employees shouted “sir”, “wait”, “CVS card”, and “jam” as I walked face first into the broken door. With my face smushed against the glass and not an ounce of dignity left, “fancy feast” was whispered into my ear.