"Is it not cruel to let our city die by degrees, stripped of all her proud monuments, until there will be nothing left of all her history and beauty to inspire our children? If they are not inspired by the past of our city, where will they find the strength to fight for her future?" Jacqueline Kennedy

Friday, February 09, 2018

CVS Or Rite Aid In Carroll Gardens: Which One Do You Prefer?

Long gone are the days of the small neighborhood pharmacies. Here in Carroll Gardens, they closed one after the other over the past fifteen years. Does anyone remember Renaissance Pharmacy? How about Carroll Court Pharmacy at 390 Court Street? More recently, the neighborhood lost Clinton Apothecary on Clinton Street and the short lived Garden Apothecary at 525 Court Street.

As in most other New York City neighborhoods, locally owned pharmacies have been replaced by big chain stores.  Carroll Gardeners have pretty much been reduced to filling their prescriptions and personal care items at CVS at 395 Court Street and Rite Aid at 320 Smith Street.
Yes, CVS and Rite Aid are convenient, but the shopping experience is rather unpleasant. Personally, we avoid CVS as much as possible, mostly because of the damp carpet smell that hits customers the moment they walk in. The Rite Aid, on the other hand, seems to ignore the trash that accumulates in the plaza area in front of the store and accumulates in the empty tree pits.
The self check-out machines at CVS may be a plus for some, others may prefer a real person behind a register like at Rite Aid.,Both chain stores, however, have impossibly long lines throughout the day.

We would love to hear which of the two you prefer and why? Is it location, prices, pharmacy service?
Since these two seem to be the only game in the neighborhood, what improvements could they make to serve Carroll Gardens better?
From 1 to 10, how would you grade each?

Now that Rite Aid and CVS have pushed out all smaller competitors in the neighborhood, there really are not many alternatives except for filling prescriptions or ordering health products online. Perhaps, our voices and collective buying power could be channeled towards improving the service at both these stores?


Anonymous said...

Both are miserable experiences. Rite Aid excels at treating it's employees like crap, fostering an incredible 'FUCK OFF...' attitude from the staff. Whereas CVS replaced temperamental staff with temperamental self-checkout machines. That being said, I love the pharmacy staff at Rite Aid - Diane & Gerard are local faves.

Anonymous said...

CVS: Hate the smell, but they have good staff and super-quick and easy check-out. They seem to be able to keep their shelves stocked a bit better than Rite Aid. Rite Aid: Empty shelves, the other day they had a choice of 2 brands of handsoap (they were even out of their own brand) and painfully slow check-out, unhelpful staff (except at the pharmacy department).

chance bliss said...

this one ought to bring out many opinions.

i'm always startled by the strong chemical aroma of both places, which intuitively signal that there's something not right about either place. you go there to find products to help with a health concern - perhaps some people go there only to buy candy or household goods - but i imagine most people stop by because they need some form of medicine or pharmaceutical and if the first thing you notice is how unnatural the air seems - it's not encouraging.

that aside, i was in both yesterday. i needed a flu shot. neither had it, but the pharmacist at rite aid volunteered to call around to other rite aids and eventually connected me with the branch on atlantic and court and there were very customers upstairs, and sure enough there were flu shots available.

so, plus one to rite aid for having initiative in their customer service.

with that in mind, i'd give rite aid a 4 rating, and CVS a 2 - those self-service kiosks are unreliable and cumbersome.

and for that matter, i'd give park natural a 2, as one can go to park natural for over-the-counter remedies as well as natural products and some homeopathic items, but their customer service is so abysmal that it's demoralizing to shop there.

i wish there were more homeopathic apothecaries, such as in most european cities.

Anonymous said...

Rite Aid... Hands down. Not even close.

Gerard and Diane in the pharmacy. She knows virtually everyone's name. Just goes straight to get your meds. You can always ask Gerard a question. He's super helpful.

If you spend enough at RiteAid ($1000 a year) you get 20% off everything in the entire store...EVERY DAY. CVS discount program is pathetic.

You are right about the smell in CVS and the trash in front of RiteAid. And I wish they would plant some trees that last more than a season. By now those trees should be fully grown!

Although, I will give CVS credit for one thing, there are certain items that RiteAid does not carry so you need to go to CVS.

Anonymous said...

I can't speak for the CVS, but if you need something, that Rite Aid is almost guaranteed not to have it -- their selection is strangely limited, and the empty tree pits outside just make me dislike the place. It's literally around the corner from our house and I still walk to Wyckoff Pharmacy to get my prescriptions filled!

Anonymous said...

CVS lacks a semi-resident squirrel behind the freezer, so I go with Rite Aid.
But, honestly, I go to Rite Aid because the location is more convenient for me. The pharmacists are very nice, although the shopping experience leaves a lot to be desired.

Anonymous said...

Years ago, there were stores on Court Street where you could purchase everyday items. There was Dave's on Court (b/w 3 and 4 Place) run by a miserable but kind-hearted lady named Lilly (think Judge Judy) and her somewhat strange son, Alan. And then there was Wynns further up Court St. And if you reach really far back, there was John's Bargain Store on Columbia Street. And then there were oodles of Hardware Stores on Smith Street. All gone, with the exception of Mazzones.

I feel RiteAid and CVS have come largely replaced these stores for everyday items. Which I guess is a good thing for when you need a greeting card, or paper plates, pens, batteries, a small toy or light bulb on a Sunday night. Plus all the drug store items.

Neither store is excellent or terrible. The are national chains. Souless.

Would I prefer to have Clinton Apothecary and Wynns and Daves with their quirks and friendly owners... yes. But those days are long gone.

I shop at both stores because its convenient and they are the only game in town. Neither love nor hate either. So they both get a 5.

'till the next generation/iterations.

Jake Zien said...

Shopping at either Rite Aid on Smith feels escaping the Truman Show: when I enter there are few other shoppers around, but by the time I have my items, a huge line has emerged. The staff aren't exactly speeding people through (though who can blame them for being unenthusiastic). What should be a 5-minute errand always stretches to 15.

As long as we're complaining, Rite Aid is also offensive to the senses: terrible lighting (sickly and dim on Warren; cold and blinding on Carroll), air thick with Lysol you can taste (on Carroll), and obnoxious 80's earworms on repeat (both).

vivien said...

We love Wykcoff's Corner Pharmacy in Cobble Hill at 203 Court St. the service is personal and caring; Sam and John, the pharmacists, are excellent.

Anonymous said...

0 Points for Rite Aid. (The one close to Carroll Garden Park)
I used to take medicines here and they always make a mistake and many times they gave me less pills in several medicines.

I also give 0 points to the rite Aid in Brooklyn Heights(also in Smith St.) they try to overcharged me for a medicines that was full paid by my insurance. I had to contact corporate and after 3 weeks I got my medicines. CORRUPTED THIEVES.

To the CVS on Court Street, I give them 3 points, is always so dirty and I even see rat poop. Most of the front employees are very nice.

I rather go to the CVS located at 9th Street in Park Slope, I give them a 10, never an issue, they always are willing to help and if you have a complaint they do not hate you as the one in court Street.

I do miss the old mom and pops pharmacies who where the heart of our neighborhood.

Anonymous said...

RiteAid, in addition to constantly litered sidewalk with dead trees also has a disgusting pharmacy waiting area. Generally filthy with long term crud in every corner. Every seat has upholstery with stains that look like bathroom accidents. The room where they administer vaccines is not much better.

Anonymous said...

How about Sam at the locally owned Wyckoff Pharmacy on Court St in Cobble Hill? Sam and John and crew are great and John was he pharmacist at another then locally owned store at the corner of Amity and Court Streets, which is now a real estate office.

Anonymous said...

Collectively both these disasters = a negative 20. Rite Aid on Smith St is creepy and dirty. CVS on Court St has that germ collective wall to wall carpeting, and has that horrible automated check out which never works. Both are horrific - cannot think of anything positive to say about either. Dearly miss all the neighborhood pharmacies of long ago.

Anonymous said...

My plan forces me to use cvs for my Presecrptioms. I can't imagine a more unpleasant, excruciating experience. There's one guy who frankly looks like he hasn't showered or washed his hands in months that's particularly disturbing. How I miss Gerard and Diane who knew me and pulled my Rx without me even needing to tell her my name. It never took more than 15 mins. Monday with 103 fever and the flu I waited an hour in cvs. It's the most poorly run place and you're right it smells bad too.

Tania Masino said...

Personally, I love the cvs automatic tellers. Buying food is questionable. The smell is of dead mice. I have personally seen mice running across the aisle and if you don’t believe me check out the bread area. Ever wonder why each the back edge of the shelf is stuffed with Brillo pads...mice. Mice can’t chew through steel pads and don’t get me started on when they receive shipment during the day. Looks like it has new management...we will see. Cvs has the potential of being a nice place to shop...they just need better management and payroll.

Anonymous said...

Since both stores are deplorable, instead of sharing our experiences here, perhaps we can bombard their corporate HQ to address our issues for changes?

Jill said...

The pharmacy at Rite Aid is very good... probably because the pharmacists who work there previously ran the local pharmacies that Rite Aid and gentrification edged out. The pharmacy staff really does go the extra mile and are the reason I refuse to do prescriptions by mail, even if it would save me money. (And how does Diane remember all of our names? Although she does still have to ask for birthdate LOL) You cannot put a price on genuine personal service/care.

Anonymous said...

I guess Rite Aid because it's right there at the subway stop. The store is ok but it always takes forever to check out at that place. They never staff enough people after 5 when it's probably most crowded from everyone stopping in on the way home. That kind of seems like a NYC thing though. For whatever reason, it always seems to take forever to check out at a pharmacy in this city.

Anonymous said...

The rodent situation at CVS is extremely disturbing. If stores were inspected by the Department of Health in the same way restaurants are, this location would be shut down.

anonymous said...

The wait to check out at Rite Aid is ridiculous. CVS has the self check outs to there is almost never a line.

Anonymous said...

I'd prefer to never have to step into the CVS again, especially now knowing what that smell is. Typically I try and support as many local businesses as I can, but I have no brand affiliation for CVS or Rite Aid, and the pharmacy lines are always shockingly long, regardless of the time of day. I recently started using Capsule, an online pharmacist, which delivers for free and is super responsive.

Anonymous said...

This is another shout out to Wyckoff Corner Pharmacy. They have been my pharmacy since they opened and even though I live a few subway stops away now I still get my prescriptions filled there.

Here's the NYT story about Sam and John.

CVS and Rite-Aid are both disasters. How can a store so full of stuff never have anything you need.

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