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Notes on a Drugstore’s Demise

Has anyone gone into a Walgreens lately and felt… depressed? Or popped into a Subway to find that it just feels tired, like it doesn’t even want to be a sandwich shop anymore? We even did a recent study on large department stores, where our panel unequivocally deemed them defunct.


(Will Waldron/Times Union)


Let’s look at Walgreens. Once a premier drug store, customer support is now fading. Walgreens shoppers that we have talked to report that the stores feel decrypt, sad, and service is slow and draining. The last thing anyone wants when picking up their drugs is for a pharmacist to shout out their name, address, and drug prescription, but somehow it keeps happening here.


Our participants compared it to their opposite experiences at Pharmaca, a beloved California pharmacy that recently went bankrupt, then was purchased and absorbed by Walgreens, leaving their loyal customers devastated. Pharmaca was the opposite of cold and sterile—it offered personal, caring advice when it came to pharmaceuticals and made people feel heard and respected. Not to mention, the stores smelled amazing thanks to their offerings of organic soaps and bespoke toiletry products. Instead of keeping Pharmaca stores open, Walgreens shut them down and transferred prescriptions to their own pharmacies, leaving a loyal customer base hanging.


When we at Vidlet hear about another demise of a behemoth brand, we’re hardly ever surprised. Usually, months before, we have already heard the feedback and concerns of customers and see the writing on the wall. The bottom line, as always with Vidlet, is to listen to the voice of your customers, and listen early and often.

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