Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A letter to the C.E.O. of CVS, Mr. Thomas Ryan

I just wrote and mailed the following letter. In the tradition of sharing that Thanksgiving is sometimes known for, I am posting it for your enrichment. Happy Thanksgiving everybody.

November 26, 2008

Mr. Thomas Ryan, CEO
Corporate Headquarters
One CVS Drive
Woonsocket, RI 02895

Dear Mr. Ryan:

Hello. My name is Laura Witkowski and I am frequent CVS shopper. Although I cannot completely pinpoint why your store is far superior to Rite Aid or Walgreens, I always find myself regretting a trip to one of your competitors and wishing I would have just taken the extra minute or so to locate a CVS store. One time, I had a dog that was on a psychotropic medication, and the pharmacy at Rite Aid misread the dosage and refilled it with a much lower dose. I didn't realize this until the poor dog, over the next week or so, started to get gradually worse and revert back to his unstable ways. It took us several more weeks to get him back up to speed. Thanks a lot Rite Aid!

But psychotropic medication mishap memories are not the reason I am writing to you today. It is actually because of chocolate: CVS brand Milk Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Filled Pretzels to be exact. I think it is important to say upfront that my purchase of said product was driven by a combination of having a bad day at work and noticing that CVS has the uncanny ability to play the absolute last song I would want to hear at that moment every time I am in the store. It's eerie really. So as I'm sure you can relate, I'm having a bad day, Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On" starts drifting out of the CVS sound system, and next thing I know I'm forgoing that planned Luna bar purchase for a bag of CVS brand Milk Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Filled Pretzels and a copy of the latest issue of Psychology Today to see if I can get any insight as to what in the hell is wrong with me. We’ve all been there right?

Now, it might just be some sort of sign that I should not let emotional moments of weakness dictate my lunch choices, but when I got back to my desk and opened the chocolate pretzels I found them to be stale. Well, really more moldy than stale – because considering my current mental state, I probably would have just eaten them anyway should it be a mere issue of freshness. But, even though I don’t have any severe mold allergies that I know of, I do know that mold can kill you, or at least make you very sick. Plus, it really does take away from the overall taste of the snack product as the maker intended. So I decided not to eat them.

I will take them back to the store after work today – because as you yourself wrote on the back of the bag (I am assuming it is a direct quote due to its italicized nature and the fact that your actual signature is underneath the words) the product “carries the CVS money back guarantee.” But I thought you should know about this incident. I know that you can’t possibly keep track of every CVS brand product and personally control every factor that could negatively impact the performance or taste of said products – but the fact that you try is commendable. I think you make a similar promise (though without the phrase, “I know you’ll enjoy the great taste”) on the back of my CVS brand body wash. I picture you in a big office in Woonsocket, Rhode Island (the best city name ever perhaps!) personally testing and tasting each and every product and diligently taking notes and reporting back your experiences to those who are busily making these things. I also picture these product makers looking like Oompa Loompas, but that’s probably inaccurate. But then again, you are in a town called Woonsocket, so who knows what is possible!

In closing, despite my bad experience and your knack for having (by my standards) the most terrible in store music of any store I frequent, I will continue to be a loyal CVS customer. Partly this is out of convenience, but it is also out of loyalty. In these tough economic times, loyalty is pretty important, right? Thanks for taking the time to read this, and I hope you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday weekend.


Laura Witkowski

PS – Is it inappropriate for me to request an autograph? I would appreciate that.


Meghan Sitar said...

You should submit this to the Consumerist, provided you're not a liar and you really did send it.

D'Anne Witkowski said...

I have no doubt that Laura really sent this. And that she actually thinks chocolate covered peanut butter filled pretzels count as lunch.

Magic Pants Jones said...

Radio Lab had something in their latest episode about making poor food choices based on emotion during times of stress.

That said, I think that chocolate covered peanut butter filled pretzels are too tasty for me to buy. I will eat them all like a labrador with a bag of food, and no one to shout, "No!"

Laura said...

Thanks for the links, and of course I sent the letter. When I get my Thomas Ryan autographed glossy photo, I will post it as proof.

I will now finish eating my Cinnamon Toast Crunch dinner.

Seth Boulton said...

You all know this whole fiasco is about a coupon for a free bag of pretzels, don't you? Don' t be fooled by the silver tongue of Laura "The Temptress" Witkowski. (That was her actual nickname in highschool.)

Mad Maxine said...

Thank you for sharing his address. Now I can write for a replacement CVS card, 'cause mine is seriously ancient, no longer laminated,no longer even card-like, I can't remember the phone number I had when I signed up for it, and I never ever redeem any of the coupons that I get from it. Did you know that there are 3 CVS stores within 1 mile of my house? I think they've brainwashed me.

Laura said...

Maxine - You are welcome for the address, though it is on the back of all CVS brand products. I certainly think you should contact him regarding your CVS card. My guess is he will personally handle the replacement for you.

Elle said...

I am so loyal to CVS and it is mostly because the AWESOME music they play there.

Laura said...

Do you want to fight me? If you want to fight me Elle, just be a man and say that to my face.

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