Crushing Review of CVS at 7th and Florida Ave, NW


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The Bloomingdale blog highlights this brutal yelp review from Sept. 2011:

Walking in here will make you feel like you’ve crossed into another dimension, one in which both time and logic ceases and thousands of years of human advancement towards what is considered civilized behavior is suddenly negated for no apparent reason whatsoever.

You’re greeted by a cop as you walk in and that sets the tone for the type of ride that you’ve unknowingly been in line for since you egressed from your mother’s womb: the world is unstable and this place reeks of crack smoke and decades of failed domestic policies.

All CVS’s are, by default, limited to one star. The lines take forever, everything is overpriced, the CVS card and brand of products are terrible, and the goods and provisions offered are always peculiar.

This store, however, is a social sciences experiment and is brilliant as such. I avoid this place with all of my heart, yet my mind is sadistically drawn here to catch a chaotic glimpse of how close humanity toes a line protecting us from madness.

Is it really that bad?

58 Comment

  • Want to waste an afternoon? Enjoy reading through 48 1-star Yelp reviews of the Columbia Heights CVS. Some of them are hilarious: http://www.yelp.com/biz/cvs-pharmacy-washington-33

    And yes, in my experience, it is that bad.

    • I live down the street from the CH CVS and haven’t been there in 3 years. They are outrageous!! They won’t even bother to try get meds for little old crippled ladies.

  • novadancer

    I HATE this cvs. Everything is locked up and it’s all but impossible to get someone to help you. You have to end up getting in line to get someone to open up what you need and they open up one and go right back to the register which means repeat the process all over again. The last time I was there, I stood by the counter trying to get someone to get me a battery and two employees stood around chit chatting for 10 minutes. I gave up and haven’t been back,,, now I walk to the 10th street location, farther from my house by much faster!

  • Yes it is that bad

  • Mother’s Day morning I was in the Petworth CVS buying a last-minute Mother’s Day Card (because, yeah, lazy I guess). As I was getting back in my car I hear this rapid click click click click coming up behind me. it’s a guy who was in the store the same time as me moving at a fast clip pushing a grocery cart full of Red Bull cans and repeatedly looking over his shoulder to see if anyone followed him out the store.

    As I drove off, he was around the corner and had somehow loaded his cart ‘o redbull into a compartment on his mo-ped and drove off.

    So, never been to that other CVS, but my story is neat too.

    • I’m surprised they had any Mother’s Day cards left. Last year I went to the Eastern Market CVS two weeks before and they were all sold out (I’ve since discovered a vendor at the Eastern Market flea market that sells beautiful and inexpensive cards, so I never need to go to CVS for them again).

    • I lulz’d. Thanks for sharing!

  • I go an extra 3 blocks to avoid it. The final straw was when they gave me 30 pills instead of 90. Who checks that before they leave the store?

    • As a former pharmacy technician (not at a CVS) I can say that this does happen occasionally. Most prescriptions are for a 30-day supply, and sometimes you just go into autopilot when counting out the pills or entering the prescription into the system. Sometimes the prescription has mistakes or is misread because the doctors have sloppy handwriting and don’t always write out all the information. The pharmacist does a final review of everything if there’s time, but there’s a lot of stuff to verify on each prescription and sometimes mistakes slip through. I think CVS-filled prescriptions are more prone to having errors, though, because the pharmacy staff is so slammed with work. Your best bet is to go to a grocery store pharmacy, where it’s usually just the pharmacist doing everything and he or she is not as busy.

      • Do you know of other alternative pharmacies? I live near Dupont and Logan Circle and dislike the CVS pharmacies there, but there are no grocery pharmacies near me either. Anyone have any recommendations?

        • If you can make it down to 21st and K street, Foer’s is great.

        • Unfortunately I don’t; CVS has such a monopoly here. They’re the only option close to where I live as well.

        • There are a couple of independent pharmacies right around south Dupont. Foer’s is one, and there’s another on Connecticut, west side, somewhere between Farragut North and Dupont. Wish I remembered which block.

        • There’s one in the WW clinic on 14th, and one on 17th Q/R lower level.

        • I have always had a good experience at the Rite Aid at Florida/Connecticut. The prescriptions are on-time, they have a phone refill service that is easy to use, and the pharmacists have given me useful advice several times. Plus, there’s a special pharmacy cash register so you only have to wait in line once, if at all.

          • I go to Target – the rest of the store may be a shambles, but the pharmacy is great and the ladies that work there are really nice. CVS managed to screw up my prescription twice in a year, giving me the generic when my doc specifically wrote it for the brand name, and one time “forgot” to order something.

    • I always check! You should always check. Especially any CVS, but really, any pharmacy. Didn’t you ever watch “It’s a Wonderful Life?” After paying I just step aside and open the bag while still near the counter and be sure it is the right medicine at the right dose and the right number of pills.

      • That happened to me at the CVS on Columbia Rd (the old one). I was picking up two different prescriptions and they gave me the same thing in both bottles.

      • Yep, and definitely ask the pharmacist if the pills look different than usual. Sometimes the manufacturer changes the design, but it could mean that they gave you the wrong thing.

  • bfinpetworth

    Those of us who grew up in the suburbs have a very difficult time adjusting to the urban CVS pharmacy. When I go back home to Va. Beach and stop into a pharmacy, I feel this odd sense of calm from the orderliness and cleanliness of the store.

    I have noted pleasantly, however, that thus far the Petworth CVS has remained in pretty good shape relative to the craziness of the Columbia Heights CVS.

    • novadancer

      I agree. I currently am walking to the petworth station instead of Shaw to “up” my daily walking mileage and have stopped in a few times and it’s very orderly and lines move quickly (atleast in the am!).

    • Agreed. The Petworth store is pretty friendly and feels about 1000 times less claustrophobic than most of their stores.

  • The post made me laugh and I can relate to some of it, but I also found it a bit over the top. My experiences there have been fine, although I, too, find the locked cases annoying and the lack of self check out irritating. Yet, I realize that theft is probably a bigger issue in this location than others. Should we be angry at CVS or the a$$holes who are robbing the place?

  • I agree, it’s a great social experiment. When half the people you have to share the aisles with are self-absorbed, arrogant d-bags, and the other half come off as less civilized than cavemen, it’s bound to get interesting.

    • I’ve actually found most Washingtonians to be pretty nice, caring and interested in their community and the larger world. You may be seeing in others what you have in yourself.

      • I don’t know about all that, but I’m seeing a profound level of niavete in your comment, perhaps so much so that it’s simply not safe for you to be living in this city. I’ll bet the CVS stores in Manassas and Iowa are a lot nicer, too.

        • Mother of god, what an asinine response. You, sir/madam, should be ashamed at how foolish it is.

      • You’re aware that we’re talking about Washington, DC, and not Washington State, aren’t you? I’ve lived here for 30 years, and if there was ever a town where people aren’t ashamed to step right on top of you on their way up, this is it.

  • Well, can’t asy I’ve been to this one, but the one in Columbia Heights is just as bad. I have never seen such a ghetto enterprise in my life. It is a 3 minute walk from my house and I now go out of my way to go to the closest CVS to my office in VA.

  • What other CVS can you take your picture in front of a giant mural of Moet and Hennessy bottles? No love for that?

  • It really isn’t that bad in my experience.
    I walked into that CVS on a hot Saturday a few weeks ago, very visibly pregnant, asking if they had a restroom I could use. The cashier said immediately “yes, just give me a minute” and paged for someone to come replace her so she could walk me to the staff restrooms. Meanwhile, all 3 or 4 men in line at the register started telling me where the closest restaurants or other potty options were, and asking the cashier to take care of it. So many people falling over each other to help a pregnant lady don’t deserve a bad review. They were great, and that cashier was great.

    Also, in this city, I don’t think we can rely on an 18-month old review to get a good idea of the atmosphere at a particular drug store. Neighborhoods change too quickly.

    • I’m with you. I think the place would benefit a lot just from having good landscaping put in the parking lot and around the store. It’s not bad inside (with the exception of the locked cases.)

      • I can’t count the number of people I have seen pissing in that parking lot.

        The whole thing just needs to be bulldozed and started over. the concept is all wrong–a suburban style parking lot plopped down in the middle of the city.

        • The majority of business that store used to get was from people commuting from downtown north on their way home, hence the necessity for the parking lot. There has been a lot of density added (including boarded up rowhomes that have been remodeled over the years). You can’t look at design with 20+ years of hindsight. No idea how long that CVS has been there, but when I first encountered it in the early 90s, it was getting a well distributed mix of customers arriving by car and on foot. If I recall, far more of the former.

        • HOWARD UNIVERSITY IS A BAD NEIGHBOR.

          Howard University owns this parcel of land (where CVS is building at 7th and Florida, NW), and they are bad neighbors as there is always petty crime and loitering all around the building, including the parking lot, that they refuse to do anything about. I don not know what it will take for them to step up to be a responsible neighbor. Believe me, as a 10-year neighbor, I would appreciate that they step up to the plate. Perhaps they review social media and might even respond to my accusation – which is really a cry for help.

        • HOWARD UNIVERSITY IS NOT A VERY NEIGHBORLY (ONE MIGHT EVEN SAY “BAD”) NEIGHBOR.

          Howard University owns this parcel of land (where CVS is building at 7th and Florida, NW), and they are bad neighbors as there is always petty crime and loitering all around the building, including the parking lot, that they refuse to do anything about. I don not know what it will take for them to step up to be a responsible neighbor. Believe me, as a 10-year neighbor, I would appreciate that they step up to the plate. Perhaps they review social media and might even respond to my accusation – which is really a cry for help.

      • What do you expect? Think of that intersection: It’s the epicenter to Shaw, U street, Howard/pleasant plains, Bloomingdale. Think of all the cross-town buses that pass by. Look across the street – that one joint on the corner always has its doors open and is blasting Go-Go to entertain the folks sifting through the garbage cans and saying “hi” to skanks walking around the corner from the alley where they took a hit off a pipe. Do you expect a corporate franchise such as the CVS across the street to be some sort of tranquil island?

        The only thing that CVS is good for is to grab a candy bar when the app on your phone tells you it’s going to be 15 minutes until the next 70 bus comes by.

  • This CVS is by far the worse I ever went into. Not only half the products are locked, but the other half are missing. Shelves are often empty-sh looking and there is less choice. Service is very slow and inattentive. It’s like stepping into another dimension.

  • The review may be old and over the top, but that doesn’t mean it’s wrong. This CVS is a magnet for ne’er-do-wells.

  • ledroittiger

    I’ve shopped here for a long time and I really hate it. That said, some of the people who work there are pretty nice and have to put up with a lot of shit from ridiculous customers. I’m assuming that after the 7th St. corridor gets up and running, there won’t be as many problems. I’m hoping they eventually get some self-check out machines going in there to help deal with the lines. It’s pretty dysfunctional as is right now.

    • “I’m assuming that after the 7th St. corridor gets up and running, there won’t be as many problems.”

      HA! Sorry.

  • It’s fine. I mean I’ve only been in there like twice but last time the guy who checked me out was rather pleasant as I recall. Got nothing on Columbia Heights circa 2008.

  • I have to say that the staff there is excellent considering the challenging clients they often have to serve. Much better service from the pharmacists there than any place in the city. And they do a great deed in helping people with limited access to healthcare through consultations that at other pharmacies would be unheard of.

    • I agree. This store has some issues but the pharmacy staff really is great. There is one particular technician who is so friendly and really makes an effort to remember repeat customers’ names.

    • Go on, tell us more about the “challenging clients.”

  • I rode a 90 bus to brunch in bloomingdale with my wife one sunny sunday morning. Looking out the window at the parking lot of that CVS I spotted what were most definitely drug dealers. All I could think was thank god I’m not walking past there right now. If I had to I would definitely cross the street to avoid walking past that parking lot. Also I hate CVS with a passion. Why the hell does this city need so many god damn CVSs. The only useful stuff they sell are the actual drugs at the pharmacy. The rest is just overpriced crap you could buy for way less money online or at pretty much any other store.

    • Yeah, I’ve been making that walk for the past ten years, and I always walk on the north side of Florida.

  • The CVS in Brookland is a wasteland of equal measure. Always filled with interesting folks from the many local group homes. I have been approached by panhandlers IN THE STORE. And the staff is about the least attentive group of people I have ever seen. The one in Rhode Island Row started off well, but is starting to go downhill, as every CVS does…

  • I’ve lived by this CVS for more than a decade and have a love-hate relationship with it. The staff is pretty nice. They just never have more than a couple on shift at a time which makes it a pain. Half of what you want is locked up and the harried workers are dealing with long lines so they can’t go open it for you. I think I first realized how bad it was when I tried to buy razor blades on a weekend and they told me that the guy with the key wasn’t working that day. This is just crappy management.

    You’ve got to properly staff your store, train your workers and, if you aren’t going to pay to have a manager on duty, then trust the staff you’ve got. Seriously, you won’t give them the key to the deodorant aisle? I’d be a pretty awful worker if my managers treated me a shoplifting threat.

  • Really? “Reviewing” a CVS? Just patronize another store.

  • I once got a prescription filled here. Never have I seen such a huge variety of products for diabetic and disabled people. This is the misery CVS.

  • burritosinstereo

    Yes, it’s really that bad. About 3 years ago I saw a poop of undetermined origin on the floor.

  • justinbc

    It should be pointed out that although the review paints a negative picture the actual rating he gave is 5 stars, I suppose out of some sense of irony for his social experiment.

  • This has less to do with the CVS and more to do with the neighborhoods they service. Also, that statement can pretty much be applied to every major chain in the District. Ever been to a CVS, Seven Eleven, or Safeway in the suburbs? They aren’t so awful. I dare say a CVS in a New England suburb could be described as clean, drug dealer free, and a servicable location to buy milk and stamps.

  • The problems on that strip were there before CVS opened on that corner.

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