I went to Walgreens to cash in my 4,050 points against the two gallons of $4.19 milk I bought yesterday. They wouldn’t let me.
“Plenty of points. In plenty of places,” the Walgreens ads trumpet. The store’s “Balance Rewards” appear on featured items in the store fliers and online each week. They promote buying “more for healthy behavior.”
This week, the flier offers 1,000 points on Lindt Chocolates, 1,000 points on Schweppes seltzer water, 1,000 points on Planters winter spice or brittle nut medley, and 1,000 points on Hallmark greeting cards. Yep, healthy choices all.
“Oh, we have a policy not to redeem those points on dairy,” the manager said.
Turns out the fine print does say that points are “good on next purchase. Points are not earned if Store Credit or Redemption Dollars are used in a transaction and cannot be redeemed on some items. Complete details at Walgreens.com/Balance.”
I wondered about the policy that sells healthy chocolate and soda and nuts and greeting cards but won’t redeem them on milk, so I turned to the Interwebs.
“Due to state and federal laws, points cannot be earned on some items. Points will not be awarded to anyone who currently is or was at any time in the 6 months prior to purchasing Pharmacy Items covered by Medicare, Medicaid, Tricare or any other government-funded healthcare program. Pharmacy Items must be purchased at participating Walgreens Drugstore, Rxpress, Duane Reade, or Walgreens Pharmacy locations (“Participating Stores”) to earn points. Excludes Pharmacy Items purchased from AR, NJ or NY pharmacies and prescriptions transferred to a Participating Store located in AL, MS, OR or PR. See Balance Rewards terms and conditions for full details.” [Emphasis added]
The Terms and Conditions of the loyalty program offered by Walgreen Co. to its customers (also referred to as “the Program”) (I presume the loyalty program is referred to as “the Program,” not the customers) runs to five dense, single spaced pages of legalese. Buried near the bottom of page 3, I found this:
“Redemption Dollars may not be used for the purchase of the following: dairy; alcohol; tobacco; stamps; phone/pre-paid/gift cards; money order/transfers; transportation passes; charitable donations; prescriptions; pseudoephedrine or ephedrine products; immunizations, health tests or other healthcare items or services; Prescription Savings Club membership fee; clinic services.”
Walgreens may, of course, at any time and without notice, change, eliminate, or terminate the Point earning and redemption procedures and offerings.
I can understand that a drug store might not want to encourage discounts on booze and tobacco and would “lose” money on cash stuff like stamps, cash cards, and money order and the like. I don’t understand why a drug store “at the corner of happy and healthy” would discourage discounts on prescription, immunizations, health tests, items and services.
CVS annoys me, too, but I really wish they hadn’t left town.
“I dislike CVS,” Liz Arden said, “simply because they refuse Google Wallet and Apple Pay forms of payment. I like Walgreens because they accept Google Wallet.”
There is that, of course.
As far as I know, Walgreens does not sell bait. I feel happier and healthier already.