Whether you're filling your prescriptions or picking up products last minute, Walgreens is one of the most popular drugstore options in the U.S. But even with millions of customers choosing to make Walgreens their number one healthcare destination, the company has still faced its fair share of backlash. Now, one Walgreens policy has been called into question by shoppers all across the country—and many are so outraged that they're calling for a mass boycott of the drugstore chain. Read on to find out what has some shoppers up in arms.
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Walgreens has previously faced backlash from shoppers this year.
Walgreens is no stranger to controversy. Back in March, the drugstore chain started changing the clear glass doors with animated digital screens in its fridge and freezer sections at stores across the U.S. in order to make the shopping experience easier for customers. Many shoppers were not thrilled about the apparent upgrade, with some saying the new screens were most frustrating and confusing than helpful. And earlier this month, Walgreens shoppers in certain states called out the drugstore chain for illegally overcharging them for bottle deposits.
Now, one controversial practice from Walgreens has garnered so much outrage among shoppers that many are calling for a boycott of the company.
People are claiming Walgreens is refusing to sell certain products.
Over the last month, several shoppers across the U.S. have come forth with similar stories about Walgreens and its employees refusing to sell certain products to customers. On July 3, Nate Pentz tweeted that he and his partner Jess Pentz had stopped at a location in Hayward, Wisconsin, to buy condoms, but were denied from buying the product by one cashier. "We can [sell condoms], but I won't because of my faith," the cashier reportedly told Jess as she was checking out, per the now-viral Twitter thread.
And that's not the only product shoppers say they've been recently barred from picking up at Walgreens. On July 1, 21-year-old Abigail Martin posted a TikTok detailing a situation in which she claims Walgreens refused to give her a refill of her birth control prescription, despite having multiple refills left. Martin said she went to the store and was denied the medication by a Walgreens employee wearing two crosses.
"She says, 'Yeah, we're not going to refill that prescription, you need to call your provider,'" Martin recalled, noting that she later called Walgreens and spoke to a different worker who reportedly told her they had been "having this problem" with the other employee for the last two weeks. "They've been having a problem with women not being able to get their birth control for the last two weeks," Martin said.
Some shoppers are calling for a boycott of the drugstore chain.
Following these stories and others like it, #BoycottWalgreens has trended on Twitter, with shoppers all across the U.S. calling out the drugstore chain over reports that employees are refusing to sell medications and other products. "I will boycott Walgreens which means that I will have to avoid the one in the town that I live, as well as the one in the town where I work," one person tweeted on July 18. "I will drive 20 minutes to get to a CVS. An employee does not get to make a moral judgement regarding my purchases."
Even celebrities have voiced their disappointment with the recent claims about Walgreens, saying they'll stop shopping at the drugstore chain as well. "Well I'm joining this boycott. Not acceptable. Women are not cattle. You don't own us. #BoycottWalgreens," The Dropout actor Michaela Watkins tweeted July 18.
Walgreens does have a policy in place that allows employees to refuse certain sales.
While mass calls for a Walgreens boycott might be new, employees refusing certain purchases is not. "Evidently Walgreens has allowed this to happen in various stores for years. This is nothing new and Walgreens needs to change it's policy or face a boycott," one shopper tweeted.
Walgreens has maintained a policy that allows employees to refuse to fulfill certain orders based on their beliefs. In 2018, the official Walgreens Twitter account confirmed in a reply to one user that it will let pharmacists to "step away" from filling certain prescriptions when they have a moral objection. "At the same time, they are also required to refer the prescription to another pharmacist or manager on duty to meet the patient's needs in a timely manner," Walgreens noted in their tweet.
And that policy is still in place, according to a statement a Walgreens spokesperson gave to Best Life. "Instances like this are very rare and our policies are designed to ensure we meet the needs of our patients and customers while respecting the religious and moral beliefs of our team members," the spokesperson said. "In the instance a team member has a religious or moral conviction that prevents them from meeting a customer need, we require them to refer the customer to another employee or manager on duty who can complete the transaction."