Monday, May 9, 2016

I'd like to PUNCH these Punch Cards

The Authorities at Goofmart Grocery/Pharmacy came up with another brilliant idea. Basically it is a punch card. When the patient brings in a new or transferred prescription, they get a gift card AND a punch card. Then when they fill another five prescriptions they get yet another gift card.

There was an entire book of rules associated with the punch cards. One per person per lifetime. It may only be punched when the prescription was picked up (if the card was forgotten, you're out of luck, sorry). Punches were to be logged and tracked. If a patient was picking up a prescription for themselves, the punch was made only on their card. If they were picking up for multiple people, the only punch was on the card for the person with the prescription. You get the idea. The program also had a clear expiration date in big bold lettering on the card itself. Goofmart took it all very seriously, sending store managers to talk to pharmacy employees about all these nitty gritty details and then requiring us to sign a document stating we understood the program and if we were found in violation of any of the details we might receive suspension or termination. I'm actually surprised it didn't say firing squad.

Well, as you can imagine, chaos ensued almost immediately. People forgot their cards all the time. The techs would say sorry, then the manager or myself had to come over and say sorry. Then people would throw a fit, go talk to the store manager, who would then come back and tell us to punch the damn card the next time they came in. Other people would come in and say WE forgot to punch their card last time.

There's nothing like a cash freebie to bring out the best behavior in people.

People were picking up multiple prescriptions and bringing in cards for other family members to get all the punches so they could get the gift card. And once again, when we would say no, we went through the same process with grocery management and the patient would end up getting all the punches they thought they were entitled to despite the rules of the promotion. We had a couple of people that went through the entire program, got the two gift cards, and then thought they could just start all over with a new punch card. Uh, no. One of them just started going to another Goofmart to go through the process again. Free money is just too enticing, I guess, and the hell with loyalty to your pharmacy. 

Eventually time passed and the program ended. People would still bring in their punch cards, and we would tell them the program was over. Then they would throw a fit, talk to store management, and end up with a gift card anyway.

Now here's the best part... at a management meeting I attended they spent some time talking about the success of the freebie program. Basically they handed out free money to a crap load of people and then suggested that the program brought in millions of dollars to the grocery. Someone in the crowd belted out, "Will we be getting more tech hours then?" 

The speaker changed the subject.

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