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Collin Harness


What I learned working at Walgreen’s

1 of my 10,000 past jobs.

Walgreens is one of the most prolific pharmacy's in the nation. It is really a few different businesses combined into one.
1. Cosmetic store
2. Pharmacy
3. Corner bodega/grocery store

Working at Walgreen's was interesting, because I was able to witness a lot of different human behaviors. From sickness, to smoking, beauty, old age, new mothers etc.

    1. Inventory

    Walgreen's stocks a variety of products. Mostly health related, but also some random items like toys and hardware.

    Trucks deliver the items. As an employee you receive the items, stock the shelves, price the items, etc. You learn how much things cost vs. the sale price. What are the best selling items. What items bring people into the store. Item shelf life etc.

    2. Cigarettes

    I always found it odd that Walgreens is a health store and they sold cigarettes. I believe CVS has stopped selling them.

    It makes from a business perspective. Lots of people came into Walgreens just to buy these items.

    Learned about the different cigarette brands, product type, dip. They also sell products to help people quit smoking.

    3. Drugs are really profitable

    Most of Walgreens profit comes from the Pharmacy, yet most of square footage of the store is for non pharm products.

    4. Pricing - Discounts

    Item pricing makes a difference.

    People love discounts.

    Sale products sell better. People will buy more if you combine products together with a sale.

    5. Walgreens discounts + manufacturer discounts = free products

    At the time you could combine coupons together and sometimes people would walk out the door with a lot of free products because they would combine these 2 things together.

    Most of it I thought was junk or stuff I really did not want. But some people are hoarders. And some people just love the hunt.

    6. Staffing

    Physical retail stores usually run at an employee deficit.

    7. Wages

    Retail is an hourly job. Most of the time you will work weekends.

    Hourly jobs do not pay very well. I believe at the time I made about $8/hr.

    A person can quickly and easily learn to do your job and replace you.

    Pharmacy work is lucrative. They were always fully staffed and paid a salary.

    8. The best retail employees learn about products

    You are not just an employee you are also a consultant. I also learned this working a plant nursery.

    People will ask you questions about products. Where they are, what they do, what are the alternatives, is it a good value. If you can answer these questions you can create return customers. You can also sell more if you know which products work well together.

    9. Cosmetics are lucrative

    There are many many different cosmetic products. Women and some men would come into the store just to buy cosmetics. The products constantly change. Volume is the key to succcess in that industry.

    There are different levels of makeup. Walgreens is considered a lower status of makeup than mall department stores. And then some luxury makeup comes direct from luxury brands or their own branded stores.

    10. Location matters

    Everything in the store is sold at a premium, because of location. Generally the stores are located on corners in front/around neighborhoods.

    If your store in Beverly Hills, you can basically charge whatever prices you want because the customer base is willing to pay it.

    Because Walgreens is considered 'convenient' that comes with a price.

    11. Managers manage people not stores

    The people at the entry level do the work. And then as you go up the food chain you pretty much manage people that are doing the work.

    Managing people can often be more difficult than managing work. People talk back and have stressful lives. Learn to listen to people, manage emotions, ask other people favors. Create schedules etc.

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