My Love/Hate Letter to CVS on Valentine's Day

Hello, old friend,

I wish I could say it’s been a while, but, as you know, I saw you last week when we had “the incident,” but that’s not what this is about. We need to talk.

CVS, you and I go way back. We met about 30 years ago outside of Hartford. You were next to one of my favorite stores, Weathervane (may she RIP.)


 Our relationship was initially casual. I’d visit from time to time to get a birthday card, a pack of Velamints or the occasional Bop magazine.

Then, you and I got more involved when I worked with you in high school. You didn’t place me at the register or even on the floor. You trusted me enough to put me in the actual pharmacy.

You knew I could handle the rigorous duties of a Pharmacy Technician - counting pills, being friendly to customers (mostly altacockers) and ringing up their purchases.

When I met the pharmacist, Robin, we decided that I’d be known as “Robin Amy” to avoid any confusion. Initially, it seemed like a good idea, but after a few weeks of being called, “Robin Amy!,” I felt like I was being yelled at by Mom.

CVS, no one wants to be in a relationship with someone who reminds them of their mom, but I was committed to you. I’d show up on time and do the required tasks and you’d pay me on time and give me more hours. We had a good thing going.

But I kept something from you.

As you may remember, this was the late 80s when very few girls took birth control. It was also before HIPAA. I’m sure there was some unwritten code in the pharmacy that I shouldn’t divulge information about our customers, but this little piece of gossip was too salacious not to share.

I told my chorus friends that one of our classmates, Linda Magnifico, was on the pill. I know, I know. I probably shouldn’t have crossed that line, but it was juicy. I mean, how many of my chorus friends were, as we used to say, “doin’ it?”

CVS, that was the only thing I ever did wrong, otherwise, I was hopelessly devoted to you.

As far as I was concerned, nothing could ever tear us apart…until I went to college.

Look, I needed to spread my wings and fly (after all, my name is Robin) and you didn’t have any locations in Syracuse, so what was I to do?

After being gone for a year, I was ready for more. I needed to move on to a different job, so I started seeing other people for the next 20 years. But I never forgot about you, CVS.

Then, a few years ago, you found me in New York City and it was an incredible reunion. At first, I tested the waters buying a few items like an anniversary card, Altoids (since you don’t carry Velamints anymore) and condoms (that’s right, CVS. Linda isn’t the only one who’s doin’ it.)

Then, you tempted me regularly with special deals and I fell for them. Every. Single. Time.

Before I knew it, CVS, I was hooked.

Connie Shulman (Yoga Jones from “Orange is the New Black”) brought a little piece of you to my show - one of the few times we weren’t running into each other on your turf. Photo credit: Nolan Conway

Connie Shulman (Yoga Jones from “Orange is the New Black”) brought a little piece of you to my show - one of the few times we weren’t running into each other on your turf.
Photo credit: Nolan Conway

For years, I would visit you weekly and save your messages (despite the fact that you were killing trees with those scroll-length receipts) and then you did the last thing I expected. You dropped me from your loyalty program.

The only reason I knew was because I was getting receipts the size of post-it notes. I figured there was a misunderstanding, so I kept going back and I’d get the same result.

CVS, I trusted you and I can’t believe you ghosted me.

I called. I emailed. I filed a complaint on your site. I even tweeted you and after we spoke and you promised me you’d take me back, you didn’t.

I couldn’t believe you could cast me aside like that, but you hurt me, CVS, so I moved on and started seeing someone else.

To protect his anonymity, let’s call him Wayne. Wayne Reade.

I’d see Wayne occasionally and blow you off at every turn (literally, you’re practically on every corner.) Then, out of nowhere, you contacted me like nothing happened. I was shocked and insulted.

How could you send me a 20% discount on one item? One item?! Hasn’t our time together meant anything to you? At least give me 20% off my whole purchase?

Then, you reached out again and again with BOGO vitamin offers, toilet paper deals (you knew I was running out) and various savings on sundries.

Finally, I bought something to see if you were really serious and you were, CVS! You were.

Now you regularly flirt with me with 30-40% off coupons and you give me digital receipts because you know how green I am. Swoon.

The scene of the crime

The scene of the crime

But just when you’d won me back, CVS, you crushed me again in, of all places, the pharmacy.

On Super Bowl Sunday, I burnt my lip on some soup (Souper Bowl, if you will.) Monday morning I marched straight into the pharmacy to get your advice and you told me there was nothing I could do.

I was shocked. I was dismayed and I was left to my own devices. Literally. I had to go on my phone to find my answer. 

Regardless, I couldn’t believe, after all these years, how dismissive you were. But I was desperate, so against my better judgment, I bought some aloe gel and left.

I later realized that I could have bought some lip balm with aloe in it and that would have done the trick. 

But CVS, you should have known that. You should have told me that. When I worked with you, I would have asked for help, but you didn’t. You let me down.

I was so pissed, but I also needed some damn lip balm, so I hate to admit this, but I caved. You’re so damn convenient that I bought some Carmax from you a few hours later.

Damn you, CVS. I just can’t quit you!

Don’t try flirting with me, CVS.

Don’t try flirting with me, CVS.

But on Tuesday when I went to return the gel, you told me to come back later because your computer systems were down.

Sure they were, CVS. You were just trying to win me back again, but guess what, CVS? I’m not falling for your tricks anymore. I’m going to get my $11 back and then we’re taking a break.

That’s right. I have had enough. 

Don’t be surprised if you don’t see me for a while.

You are dead to me, CVS.

Unless you send me a 50% off coupon on my entire purchase, then maybe we’ll talk.

 xoxo and hate,
Robin (not Robin Amy)

P.S. If you want to hear about how much I used to love you, listen to my podcast episode with Connie Shulman from “Orange is the New Black.” She and I met at your store and we continually bump into each other there. She’s so loyal, she’s considering switching her middle initial to “V.” Mine, however, will remain RAG.