WhiteCoat

Walgreens Blows It

Scanning the news this morning and found a story that really bothered me.

Walgreens fired one of its Benton Harbor, Michigan pharmacists. No big news there.

However, the reason the pharmacist was fired was more of a story. Walgreens fired the pharmacist for thwarting a robbery.

Video posted on the mlive.com site shows two hooded thugs running into the store with guns. They took one or two employees hostage and, when they saw the pharmacist behind the counter, one jumped over the counter to presumably take the pharmacist hostage, too. The robber tried to shoot, but his gun jammed.

That’s when pharmacist Jeremy Hoven whipped out his own handgun and shot back.

The robbers ran away with their tails between their legs.

Walgreens has now terminated Hoven’s employment because Hoven violated Walgreen’s “non-escalation” policy.

Exactly how much more “escalated” can things get after someone tries to shoot you dead at your job? It’s not like Hoven detonated a bomb or anything.

Walgreens management is dead wrong on this move. I understand the reasoning behind not wanting to encourage shootouts in the store, but the right of employees to take steps to avoid being found amongst a group of employees in a storage room with bullet holes in the head trumps that reasoning every time.

It’s almost as if the policy is saying “come rob us, our employees won’t shoot back!”

Multiple commenters to the article said that they will take their business elsewhere.

If Walgreens doesn’t rectify this situation quickly, I’ll likely add my name to that list.

27 Responses to “Walgreens Blows It”

  1. MC says:

    Geez, the guy is a here. Walgreens should be thanking him.

  2. Larry Specor says:

    Walgreens in my opinion represents everything that is wrong with corporate America! They are morons- I refuse to enter their stores and encourage others to do the same.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Understand that Walgreen’s has that policy because if one of their employees shoots and paralyzes someone then the company get’s sued for a billion dollars because it was their employee.

    But I do agree that at the point they started pointing guns then they escalated it to gun play which means you can put two in their chests.

  4. jillian says:

    I have a couple of friends that are Walgreen’s pharmacists. Pharmacies get robbed all the time; it’s like working at a 7-11 in the hood! Scary!!

    The thing is, the guy didn’t shoot to prevent the robbery — he shot to keep from getting shot himself. I understand why stores don’t want their employees to try to stop a robbery, but you really can’t fault a guy for shooting someone who’s pointing a gun at him.

  5. Jimmy Peanut says:

    That does not surprise me at all. Before going into medicine I was a pharmacist at a big box store. I once had a patient present an obviously fake prescription, and, after I called to MD to verify it was fake (it was), I went to counter to tell the patient I wouldn’t be filling his prescription. He pitched a fit and in the process flashed a gun. At that point I made some excuse to get away from the counter and I told all my techs to get in the bathroom, lock the door, and call the police. The guy ended up leaving the store before the cops got there, but they got his license plate from security cameras and he got arrested just down the street (with pocket full of fake prescriptions too). I was relieved nothing really bad had happened, but I figured I should call my district manager just to let him know what had went down before he heard from someone else. That night he didn’t really say much other than making sure everybody was OK, but the next day I got an email from him saying I was being written up because I “had not followed proper procedure” in report fake prescriptions. No mention of the guy waving gun was anywhere in his report. Even after appealling to upper management, I was told that I should not have called police. That’s about 2 days before I signed up to take the MCAT before applying to med-school.

    • Jen M says:

      The same exact situation happened to me, written up, notice given(then was walked out)- this was 20 years ago. I don’t know what else to say.
      Out of retail, period.
      Jen

  6. Thanks for this article. I’m an avid reader of yours–I find medicine fascinating and if it weren’t for the actual germs and blood and vomit, I’d be a doctor.

    Anyway, I quoted you in an article I did on this today:
    http://www.bnet.com/blog/evil-hr-lady/guns-at-work-should-you-be-able-to-defend-yourself/2804

    Companies need to realize that sometimes employees lives are more important than their policies.

  7. doc99 says:

    “An armed society is a polite society.”
    Robert A. Heinlein

  8. Sevesteen says:

    In Ohio, the pharmacist would have been committing a misdemeanor equivalent to criminal trespass if he carried a gun in violation of company policy.

    What we need here is a change in liability laws–Employers who tolerate armed employees should have less liability than employers who ban self defense.

  9. I call for an immediate national boycott of Walgreen’s. Whoever fired that pharmacist hero should be on a blacklist. All service and product providers will shun him. Hopefully he dies as a result of a total boycott. His family should expel and shun him. To deter.

  10. Hueydoc says:

    I suppose Walgreens would rather notify family that ” Your husband and all the employees were found in the back room, shot in the head execution-style. But we’re posthumously giving him a Safety Award certificate for Non-Escalation !

  11. SeaSpray says:

    Things seem so bass ackwards these days …seriously!

    I’m with you WC ..boycott if not corrected.

    After that experience or others described …I would not want to work in a chain pharmacy. But, I guess the old time independent pharmacist with their own pharmacy is a dying breed if not almost extinct.

    Shame on any corporation that does not put the safety of their own first in a volatile situation.

    And could he fight back legally?

  12. This incident happened a while back, and now the pharmacist is suing Walgreens. It’s not right, but that’s the way the chains roll.

    In Arizona, it’s legal for anyone to carry a concealed weapon, so a pharmacist can legally protect himself, or others, if their lives are in danger. However, corporate policy doesn’t have to follow suit, and their profits will always trump anyone’s life.

  13. Hueydoc says:

    I miss Open Mic weekend……

  14. Bernie says:

    Sometimes you have to say WTF and do the right thing, BECAUSE it is the right thing to do. The pharmacist did. Walgreens didin’t.

  15. Ashley says:

    I work in a Walgreens Pharmacy. I’m so disappointed in our company! Ashamed, really.

    Late one night as I filled a prescription & spoke to a patient on the phone, out of the corner of my eye a man literally slide over our ‘in-window’ violently shaking a silver revolver as he hit the floor.

    Before I could drop the phone, he was pointing his weapon directly at my chest. It shook, likely from both his own fear and despration & the aggression he wanted to exude.

    What I would have given for some sorce of defense! Mace? Stun-gun? a d@mn Panic Button?

    But, I had none. Obviously, I was unable to apprehend him & the police arrived about 7 minutes later. The thief not only left with countless Schedule II drugs, but with my sense of ease at my job.

    Two years later, my heart still races when customers lean far over the counter. Or when a loud noise sounds from the In-Window (angry customers slaming hands). When people *browse* for any length near the wall in front of the pharmacy. Never caught the scumbag.

    I applaud Mr. Hoven for his every action. His response is the only natural human instict. Save yourself. He was being shot at and potentially physically assaulted.

    ps. my store didn’t offer any counseling, day off, or have any video of him in the pharmacy as our store doesn’t have cameras bk there (WTF?).

    • SeaSpray says:

      I am so sorry that happened to you! I’d want to relocate.

      Isn’t there anyway to make these stores accountable for their LACK of security?

      I never thought of browsing too long as being suspicious. I’m just comparison shopping or can’t find it.

      But ..I could see why it would be.

      Self defense at all costs in my opinion – save the innocent.

    • Jen M says:

      Mace, in your coat pocket, find someone in law enforcement to get it for you. It will give you the 30 seconds you need to run, sorry to add.

  16. justanothervictim says:

    Poo on Walgreen’s. Give the guy his job back. It could have been Mr. Hoven dead. Walgreen’s, you suck. I will await the news that you, Walgreen’s gave Mr. Hoven his job back or I will start a boycott against you. DO NOT SHOP AT WALGREEN’S – they desire their employees to be robbed and killed.

  17. Mary says:

    I applaud you for what you did. I just emailed Walgreens that they have lost a customer! I feal you are a hero! And I am going to spread this news report far and wide!

  18. jeff says:

    i was a pharmacist for walgreens during the decade of the 80’s in denver, one of our stores was robbed and the store manager, a pharmacist, shoot at some robbers outside the store in denver and he was not fired. i cann’t remember his name, but val kalnis, the DM at the time would remember his name and the story. the pharmacist/manager was moved to a store way out in the boon docks, but he still had a job. chucky walgreen messed up, the guy saved lifes and yes he violated policy but in no way should he have lost his job when he has a concealed carry permit, it is his right to carry that pistol and he doesn’t have to tell anyone. the pharmacist did a great job. i have been doing retail for 35 years and when any sudden moves or noises happen around the pharmacy i always jump and wonder is someone going to stick a gun in my face!

  19. yrrb says:

    Walgreens needs to be sued and lose hugely.
    My life or the perps- hmmmm- let me think.
    NOT. The guy absolutely did the right thing, and Walgreens did the wrong thing.
    I am advising my patients not to use Walgreen, and I will not darken their doors unless and until this is satisfactorily resolved.

  20. ihatewalgreens says:

    i hope Walgreen goes bankrupt in January when all their customers have to leave them, to go elsewhere cause they wont take express scripts anymore.

  21. Mysticheadlice says:

    Believe it or not, walgreens probably has the policy because in America, if you get injured while committing a crime, you can sue the person that injured you and in many cases win.

Leave a Reply


4 × two =

Popular Authors

  • Greg Henry
  • Rick Bukata
  • Mark Plaster
  • Kevin Klauer
  • Jesse Pines
  • David Newman
  • Rich Levitan
  • Ghazala Sharieff
  • Nicholas Genes
  • Jeannette Wolfe
  • William Sullivan
  • Michael Silverman

Subscribe to EPM