Thursday, February 26, 2015

Fred's Super Dollar & Pharmacy My Riverdale, Georgia Experience

When I was a kid, I remember my mom would occasionally pop into a small little department store about half the size of TG&Y called Fred's to grab a stationary set, shampoo, soap or deodorant and maybe a magazine at the checkout. I also remember Fred's being one of the only stores that carried Children's Creomulsion Cough Syrup, a brand my mom swore was the BEST stuff for me when I had a cold or the flu...I cringe everytime I think of that stuff and will never get the smiling faces of the kids on the label out of my mind.
When my friend Kumra and I were wandering through Forest Park, Georgia, we happened upon a Fred's location. Me, being the nostalgic nerd I am, I had to go in just to check it out. The store was pretty much set up as the one I remembered from when I was a kid. Kumra and I both loved Drug Emporium when it was open back in the 1990's and Fred's was sort of like that store...except I doubt the drag queens of Atlanta don't come to Fred's to steal their makeup. After Kumra moved away, my friend Ernie began to shop with my at Fred's...it's a place that seemed more fun to shop with someone else rather than alone.
The Classic Look For A Fred's Store
A few years ago, the Forest Park Fred's as well as all of the locations close to my home closed. Rather than switching my business over to the evil retail giant Wal-Mart for the items I basically only got at Fred's, I began shopping at Rose's, Rose's Express, Maxway and occasionally Family Dollar...None had the same vibe but at least they were at the same price point and carried similar items.

Towards the middle of this past summer, Terry and were on the way to the house from Riverdale and we passed a sign (about a mile and a half form my house) which read FRED'S Coming Soon. December 2014, about a week before Christmas, we got a flyer with an offer for a $50 gift card for every new or transferred prescription. I had transferred my prescriptions from Rite-Aid to Wal-Mart because I could get them cheaper at Wal-Mart at the time but I HATED the long lines, waiting as well as the horrific customer service I was having to endure each month.

Once the Riverdale location of Fred's opened at the end of December, Terry and I visited the store. He's not so much a fan of those types of stores but he actually said that it was the nicest Fred's he's ever seen. The store was super clean, the employees were amazingly helpful and friendly. My only complaint would be that some of the item's sale prices on the shelves don't match up with what's on the flyers but that's OK, the managers are willing to make those price changes when it's brought to their attention. Being a creature of habit, I stayed with Wal-Mart pharmacy and got my scripts filled in December and January. I really wasn't sure if my experience at the Fred's pharmacy could be any better or worse than what I'd already dealt with.

Rite-Aid's employee's knew me by name, not because I was a regular customer but because of all the grandstands and scenes I made when they had their old pharmacist from Ethiopia when the location was Eckerd's. That pharmacist was my mortal enemy, I fought with him over sale prices in the flyer, buying medications that you had to ask the pharmacist for as well as the fact that Eckerd didn't carry the lotrimin solution I'd been prescribed for an infection I had in my ear and suggested I go to the foot care section and get athletes foot spray or powder...FOR MY EAR??? Rite-Aid's medications, without insurance and with their "discount" or even through the GoodRX app are quite pricey. Wal-Mart, no one knows your name, they don't care either...good experience bad experience...they don't care as long as they get paid and you don't make them feel like they are going out of their way to do anything...Refills take at least an hour and that's if you're lucky.

So February rolls around, I need to get my Ambien refilled and low and behold, another flyer from Fred's Pharmacy arrives. I told Terry that I would like to try them out and get my scripts out of Wal-Mart for good, in spite of having to pay a little bit more for them. I walked into the store with my insurance card and shopping list in hand. I was prepared to do a little shopping and also go to a few more places to shop just to give the pharmacy staff time to call Wal-Mart, transfer the medication, fill it and run my insurance. This process basically takes at least an hour in the pharmacies I mentioned above. By the time I filled out the new patient form the pharmacy staff had my new prescription ready. What I assumed would take over an hour, happened in less than 3 minutes.

I am not picky when it comes to brand name and store branded items. I will usually try any store brand at least once and can honestly say that the Fred's branded items that I've purchased have been just as good as the national brands and equal to the value that I'd normally get on stored branded items from Aldi or Wal-Mart. Though I currently own no pets other than fish, I have wandered through their pet section, dedicated to two aisles in the Riverdale location. Though their pet products and foods feature a selection, typical of most retail stores of a similar price point, the prices at Fred's seem lower. I also noticed the ingredients on their own branded pet foods seem a bit higher in quality than some of the national branded pet foods.

Some of my favorite items that I exclusively buy at Fred's:
Fred's Extra Strength Cold & Hot Medicated Patch
Fred's Sour Cream and Onion Potato Chips...as well as their Kettle Chips and Wavy Potato Chips
Fred's Lavender Scented Bleach
Wardley as well as Tetra branded aquarium products
Tussy Deodorant Cream...you read that correctly, they still make that stuff and I do use it thanks to it being one of the only deodorants that doesn't cause my skin to break out.
This stuff is WAY better than Kiehl's Underarm Cream.
Fred's has many perks in comparison to other retail locations, they double coupons on Saturdays and they have their own rewards program with the Fred's Smart Card which you can load coupons onto from their website. Every week or two, they will also have a sales flyer in addition to their regular flyer, advertising special buys such as 75% comforters or a line of seasonal items.

I am vocal about my affinity for Fred's, not only because I like the value of the products but because the store has a hometown and almost old school feel to it that you don't get in those bigger chain stores. I'll take Fred's over Dollar General, Dollar Tree, Family Dollar, Walmart, Target or any other discount retail establishment.

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