Does Walgreens have the right response to defuse growing calls to boycott the chain?
Walgreens has a public perception issue to deal with after recent encounters with store staff led customers to go public with the ill treatment they received in the chain’s stores. News of those incidents have led, in turn, to growing calls for consumers to boycott the business.
The controversy is tied to reports that Walgreens customers were denied their orders of birth control products by staff whose actions are tied to their religious convictions.
Abigail Martin posted a video on TikTok earlier this month in which she recounted her experience with a Walgreens pharmacy technician who refused to fill her prescription for an oral contraceptive despite having four refills left. Ms. Martin has over 886,000 followers on TikTok.
Said Ms. Martin in the video: “When I told her what I was there for, my birth control, she looks me up and down and goes, ‘Okay, excuse me.’ She then says, ‘Yeah, we’re not going to refill that prescription. You need to call your provider’ and I said, You won’t refill it or you can’t refill it. And she goes, ‘you just need to call your provider.’”
Ms. Martin called her provider who reconfirmed the prescription with Walgreens.
She later called the pharmacy and spoke to a woman who said her prescription would be filled before confirming the denial of service for female contraceptives had become a problem at the store in recent weeks.
“So first, they want us to stop getting pregnant and having abortions,” Ms. Martin said, “and then they don’t want to help us prevent that pregnancy.”
Ms. Martin’s video has received millions of views and inspired the #BoycottWalgreens hashtag, which is now trending on social media channels, The Hill reports.
Jessica Pentz, another Walgreens customer, also made the news recently when an associate refused to ring up a box of condoms that she sought to purchase while vacationing with her husband in Wisconsin.
The associate called a manager over to complete the transaction while “walking away with a smirk” over the exchange.
Walgreens has responded to criticism of these events by stating that its “company policy allows team members to step away from completing a transaction to which they have a moral objection and refer the transaction to a fellow team member or manager who will complete the customer’s request.”
- I am so beyond pissed at our country right now. – TikTok
- When did Walgreens’ associates become the contraceptive police? – RetailWire
- #BoycottWalgreens trends after people say they were denied birth control pills, condoms – The Hill
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Does Walgreens need to come up with another response other than citing its company policy in instances where associate’s acts of conscience result in unhappy customers? Should Walgreens actively address calls for a boycott of its business or wait it out?