There’s a thread over at A Full Cup about which drugstore you would pick if you could only shop at one. It got me thinking about how I feel about the different stores. I like them and dislike them all for different reasons, but here’s a summary of my thoughts:
- I think CVS is the most straight-forward, and therefore the easiest, of the three major drugstore chains to shop at.
- The limits are usually clear, and because of them I don’t spend the entire week thinking, I have a few more coupons, I could/should go again.
- I transfer my prescriptions back and forth between CVS and Ralphs to get gift cards, so I usually spend nothing out of pocket when I shop at CVS.
- I have the least trouble with coupons beeping at CVS, and when there is trouble, the cashiers are pretty good about how they handle it.
- Of all the drugstores, I think Rite Aid is the easiest to make money at, because there is usually a $/$$ coupon available to use on items that are free after coupons and/or +UP rewards and/or Single Check Rebates.
- SoCal deals start on Fridays, which can be great if there are coupons expiring on a Saturday, but it also means I’m usually struggling to figure out the deals for myself if I want to go on Friday or Saturday because deal blogs haven’t posted their match ups yet.
- I have the most trouble with coupons at Rite Aid, out of all the drugstores. I think it has something to do with the way their computers are programmed (coupons seem to beep a lot more often at Rite Aid), as well as a lack of training, despite the official coupon policy (pdf).
- I usually spend the most out of pocket at Rite Aid, even though I make the most money there, because I have to wait for the SCR check to arrive before I am “reimbursed.”
- Most stores don’t really have limits (or if they do, they’re daily), so you can buy more at Walgreens than any other store, usually limited more by the number of coupons you have than anything else.
- But the one Register Reward per transaction limit (per deal) makes for a greater number of transactions.
- The items to coupons-including-Register Rewards ratio makes Walgreens the most complicated to shop at.
- Because the Register Rewards values are usually low, I have to do a lot of transactions to minimize my out of pocket expenses, which is inconvenient and something of a deterrent.
- Most stores don’t seem familiar with and/or welcoming of multiple transactions (although I spoke to the manager of a newish store recently and she assured me that I am welcome to do as many transactions as I want unless they have very limited stock – yay!).
I find that I go through cycles at the drugstores: For a couple of months, I’ll go to Walgreens several times a week, then for a couple of weeks, it’ll be Rite Aid, then the next few months, it’ll be CVS. I won’t avoid the other stores but I’ll only go once a week at most during their downward cycle. So I can’t really pick just one store I’d prefer to shop at the most.
But if I had to pick, I’d probably go with CVS, just because it’s the easiest and most convenient for me. But I’d sure be sad about missing out on all of the deals at Rite Aid and Walgreens too. So I’m glad and grateful to be able to shop at all three!
Which one would you pick if you could only shop at one of the drugstores?