I Will Never Again Buy Anything At Boots. Ever!

August 27, 2009

I’ll Never Again Buy Anything At Boots The Chemist. They Deserve To Go Down Dan Majestic writes: Let me tell you what happened with me at a large Boots chemist, in the West End of London recently. On Regent Street, to be exact. I was doing  a radio show that day and arrived at Broadcasting House rather early.

I arrived at Boots, around lunch time, to have a photograph scanned and put on a DVD. I started to have a bad feeling the moment I laid my eyes on the shop assistant behind the photo counter. He didn’t look friendly: wrinkled narrow brow, unhealthy bloodshot eyes and bad teeth. And he kept his left hand stuck deep in his trouser pocket, probably playing with himself.

It’s OK, I thought. You shouldn’t judge people by their appearances. For all you know he might be a good man. Besides, I didn’t really need anything special. I just wanted one photograph to be put on a DVD. No big deal, nothing of any complexity. So I asked the man whether he could transfer my photo on to a DVD relatively quickly, as I did not that much time before my show would start.

The man was rude to me the moment I enquired about the possibility of scanning my photo. He looked at me in a way that implied that he was way too busy to attend to my needs. And he continued to keep his left hand deep down in his trouser pocket as he took my photograph from me with his right hand. His bloodshot eyes looked absolutely lifeless, as if he was high on something.

He went to the scanning and printing machine but I could see that he had absolutely no idea of how to operate it. He put the photo into the scanning tray, pushed some buttons, but nothing happened. He then picked up the internal phone, dialled a number and said: ‘Joe, do you know how to put photos on DVDs…?’

It was then that an edgy looking customer came up to the counter and started asking the shop assistant about his mobile phone camera. I pointed out to him that I was being served at that moment and was rather in a hurry.

The man suddenly turned very aggressive. ‘Don’t you talk to me like that,’ he hissed, hatred distorting his face. ‘You f..king prick. You f..k!’

I was taken aback. I looked at his ugly mug and the words of my instructor from the times I’d been a military cadet flashed through my mind: ‘If attacked unexpectedly, hit your enemy in the Adam’s apple. One sharp blow would be enough. Then just walk away, and may be, just may be, the paramedics would be able to save him.’

But then I brushed the thought aside, horrified at the idea that I could even think of killing a man in broad daylight, in Boots, in the centre of London. My friends would have not approved of it, I can tell you that. They do not like violence.

‘Why are you swearing at me?’ I said, calmly, looking the punk straight in his colourless eyes. ‘What’s wrong with you?’

‘And what the f..k are you going to do about it?’ the disgusting man hissed. ‘What’s you’re gonna do about it?’

I smiled, remembering the face of my instructor again who taught me to keep my cool under pressure and never threaten anyone if I was not prepared to carry out my threat.

‘Nothing,’ I said. ‘I’m not going to do anything at all.’

I signalled to the shop assistant, who was still playing with himself and pretending that nothing was happening, to give me back my photograph. He handed it to me and I walked away.

Now, you might say that it was no big deal, that these things happen. But let me tell you something: if you have punks like that guy in the photo section working in Boots and customers like that disgusting foulmouthed dickhead feeling very comfy in that environment, then I’d have nothing to do with them, Boots that is, anymore.

Boots are already bad enough, with their inflated prices and bad level of service. But to be treated like that by staff and offended for nothing by some lowlife, who, as I have already said, felt quite at home there, was way beyond all acceptable behaviour.

That’s why I’ll never again buy anything in Boots. I’ll never actually walk into any Boots from now on. Because who knows what might happen if I encounter some more unprovoked rudeness. I just might be tempted to use my military instructor’s advice. And someone might get seriously hurt.

By the way, if things continue as they are, Boots will pay the price for hiring lowlifes to work for them and cutting corners. Because that is the price you usually pay for being taken over by the money men, who do not really know how to run a business. Asset stripping, yes, running businesses – no.

From now on I’m going to use the services of a pharmacy called Bliss, on Marble Arch, which is open till midnight and has another branch off Cromwell Road. They look after me well and are always polite and give good advice.

– End –

  • Jenny

    How can you complain that their prices are too high and then complain that the customers are low life? Boots are not in control of who comes into their shops, surely all they could do to deter this ‘lowlife’ is to put their prices up?
    I agree that the shop worker is their fault but what can they really do about their customers?

  • Dora Jane

    I think she was on about a member of staff, as a hard working member of the boots team i would like to say sorry, i do hope that if you are this upset you will please report this guy. However i would like you to understand that not every store is the same. i work in a tiny little store and i give brilliant service because i like to give customers to have a personal experience even though we are a chain. I have had my fare share of customer abuse and sometimes you find it hard to maintain a completely emotionless work ethic. Maybe he miss heard you, i am not saying by any means that this is an expectable behavior but please don’t right every store off. i have to still come in every day regardless is a customer’s behavior and know one day is ever the same. Again am sorry on his behalf because know-one should be treated that way regardless. As for the pricing you may think that but the boots card is a really money saver getting 4p for every pound you spend in our store it feels like free money. I hope you have another go.

  • nameless

    I think you have the full right not to go in any store ever again.If I was you i would have done the same thing.it happens all the time and everywhere.Customer services has become crap in the last couple of years.No one cares about the customers or their needs.altough there are some fussy customers who make life hell at work as a retail.i work myself for Boots and when I go other stores i do not find the same level of services as in my store.in the mean time some people are free and have nothing else to do but argue with the staff.hope u find better experience elsewhere.and if you are not satisfied about the service anywhere never go there again..

  • Chris Poston

    I have just returned from a four day break mear Dartmouth and the weather was very good, so good that my wife quickly got sunburnt as she is very fair skinned, so a quick call into Boots, Dartmouth to purchase some Aloa Vera soothing gel at £5.99 a bottle + two reduced items at £1.10 each totalling £8.19. The till totalled this up to £12.49 !!!!! and when we brought it to the attention of a more senior female assistant she tried to do an adjustment and gave me back £2.75, ( still short ) – I again pointed out this was still incorrect and the shortfall was £4.40, where I was confronted with a matronly sarcastic ” You have to pay for these things you know ” . By which time the queue was growing in numbers and I turned to apologise to them. The elder sales assistant continued to be rude, difficult, and eventually counted out and gave me the £4.40 shortfall after my continued ( polite ) protest that the bar code/till was incorrect. I hope this eventually gets read as I don’t usually complain but this episode of sales/customer interface leaves me disgusted. I feel a letter of complaint to Boots head office is justified but question if any action would be taken.
    Remember to check your receipts people !!!!!!!!

  • Stark

    Copy of email to custmer servise, Boots. Can’t be delivered.

    Yesterday evening , 26 August,09, I went out of my way to go to yourshop in Victoria Station,0811 the number, I think . After a lengthy wait I was first served by someone who did not know where or what Canesten was.I pointed it out on the shelf behind him. There were 4 different types and I wanted the original cream ,which I knew from previous experience, worked.He asked another member of staff and then I began to be insulted . Had I used it before ? What did I want it for ? The name of this ,I think Somali, girl was Naima. I answered that no prescription was necessary and I did not want to explain what it was for. ‘ Alright’ she said’ I’m not serving you’ I again repeated that no precription was necessary. As a mattter of fact I had a rash that I did not want to discuss with a shop assistant in public with people around me. She reluctantly fetched an embarrassed pharmacist , who gave me what I wanted after asking me if I’d ever seen a doctor. Canesten is a product for skin complaints , a cream. Quite apart from her right to ask me, what did she think I was going to do with it? Smoke it ? I am 65 years old,. I have a family. I have had books published. I suffer from a chronic illness and I have high blood pressure, which was not improved by my duel with your vile mannered staff. I don’t fit the profile of a teenage substance abuser exactly.
    I would like to know what you will do by way of apology and to prevent other innocent clients being mauled in this way by this person and what you intend to say to this member of staff.
    Needless to say , you have lost a client for good. I’ll never go to a Boots again.

    As I left , she called after me the sarcastic greeting of bad mannered staff, who haven’t had their way, all over the English speaking world-’Have a nice evening’.


  • anonymous

    just to say sorry to everyone who has had a bad experience in boots stores.
    i myself work in a boots store and i can understand that some staff members can be rude and arrogant, but i will have to say please dont let it put you off all stores, we are not all like that. at the end of the day the customer is the MOST IMPORTANT person in the shop, it is the customer that gives us a job and it is the customer who pays our wages, and its lovely to see and speak to different people everyday!
    yes we get the occasional rude customer but it comes with the job title im afraid.
    please dont think all staff in different stores are the same, i think you will be surprised, try the smaller branches we have a little more time to spend with you.

  • Matt Payne

    Although I can’t say that all Boots are rubbish, because as stated a lot are run by upstanding people just trying to make a living. Although I still go to Boots for a couple of items I know get most of what I need from echemist. They’re a really reliable online chemist that have cheap delivery costs. Although they can’t put photos onto DVD’s they’ll pretty much satisfy every other need you might have.

  • anne fenn

    Sorry to hear about your experience in the London store, it does sound disturbing and not something anyone should go through.
    I am a Photographic Consultant for Boots and know we do not offer images saved to Dvd.
    We can save a jpeg. to a non-rewritable CD only.
    It is very hit and miss quality wise and customer service in the photo side of Boots due to the lack of training for Photographic, personnally I was appointed 10 years ago when Boots had Kodak as a franchise.
    The Kodak training was second to none,we could tell if the chemistry was off, strip a printer or processer down to worn equipment and have the Lab running after a few hours.
    Boots took the most productive labs, one of which was mine….and has undermined everything which a photo service and customer care should be.
    For the last 2 years I have asked my managers in my store to train the staff on photo, it is not like selling a bottle of shampoo, it is a memorie.
    So there are a few of good trained photo out there, 3 I know of, but trust your photos to Boots?

  • farzin malik

    yeh your sales assistant are very rude to their customer and security guards are violent towards thin girls. Your staffing need to be sorted out properly. i am discusted on the way they treat there customers


    it looks like you’ve had a bad experience, but i’ve worked in Boots for about a year and a half now, and they really do focus on delivering good customer service. In my store though it doesn’t work out to well because the managers show no support to members towards staff anymore (due to a recent managerial change).
    As for the last comment, the security guards aren’t from Boots, they’re from a seperate company, and i think it’s disgraceful that after one bad experience you tar all the sales assistants and security guards with the same brush. I am pretty sure by the way some of you have described a situation you have gone beyond testing the patience of the sales assistant who has continued to be as polite. I remember standing next to a sales assistant who was being hurled racial abuse from a customer for absolutely no reason and yet the sales assistant continued serving her and said “well she’s entitled to be as small-minded as she wants to be” afterward but had continued serving her like any other customer.


    oh and as for the Canesten story, whether or not a prescription is required, the Healthcare Assistants do need to ask you those questions for a Pharmacy item. If you didn’t wish to discuss it with her, you could have asked to speak to her in a more private place, or been asked to be referred to another member of staff.


    I think your arrogance in believing that you’re better educated than her, even though clearly you didn’t realize the legal requirements she was trying to adhere to will have come across in the way you spoke to her. Perhaps you will receive an excellent level of service if you are more open-minded to her questions. She was asking you to make sure that you were taking the most effective treatment for what you had, and to give you advice on the best way to use it.


    I had a bad experience when buying canesten at boots also,being interigated and asked personal questions in a public place ..as a 55 yr old, I found the vile shop assistant had no idea about confidential issues ,I too will never put myself in that situation again.

  • anne blake

    i have been using the same local chemist for over 30 yrs . my severely

  • Trish Allen

    The shop assistants at Boots must have some idea of the uses of items like Canesten, and therefore did not need to dig so deeply, especially in front of other customers. I think some of the assistants enjoy watching people squirm as it gives them some kind of power complex. Frankly I would have simply walked out and avoided confrontation with someone who clearly had absolutely no people skills whatever and probably enjoyed the whole episode. If Boots continue to employ people with the customer care of an octopus, then expect nothing better.

    At the age of 17 I was interviewed for a temporary job on the counter at Boots, and it was drummed into me to be always courteous to the customer, no matter how difficult they might be and that they were always right. That advice stood me in very good stead then, and in all the years I was dealing with the public, nursing, but those were in the days when there were proper counters and good customer care. Have you noticed how much service improves in smaller shops which still have proper counters instead of these awful self service places, where you wander around aimlessly trying to find things that have been moved to other places and heaven help you if you dare to stop someone and ask. Don’t bother with Boots. There are plenty of better shops that are less expensive and want to keep you as a customer.

  • prat

    Accidents happens so you never drive ?
    plane crashes so you never Fly ?
    the same way some where ,some shop assistant dose something thing skill
    how is that fair to a say i never going to walk in all boots store …..

  • reg briggs

    You should come into Boots in Peterborough,plenty of staff walking round with clipboards BUT no one on the tills.do we the paying public matter anymore,I sincerely hope your profits collaspe and you shake out staff.

    The last 8 yes 8 times I have been to the photograpkic counter,i have had to shout for assistance

  • Marion Green

    I took a CD to Boots in Dumfries on 10th July, 2010. The pretty assistant was most helpful, helping me select the photos I wanted, advised me on things I wasn’t sure of. I suggest you all come to Dumfries (for those of you who’s geography is not so good) that is in Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland.

  • Allan Pearcey

    My local chemist which until about a year ago was run by Lloyds, and run very well I may add was taken over by Boots. The word ‘disaster’ comes to mind.
    My wife and I have our monthly prescriptions from there and hardly a visit goes by without some trauma or other.
    Either – they say they haven’t received the notes from the doctor yet, (never happened when Lloyds were there) or we collect them, go in a couple of days later and despite having already received the medicines, are told “your prescriptions are ready”
    A week ago we asked for a bottle of Optrex only to be told that we have to see a doctor before they are allowed to sell it to us. So we went along to another local chemist and picked up a bottle off the shelf.
    The last straw came this morning when at 10.25am I called to collect our monthly prescriptions only to be met at the door by two young assistants who were stopping anyone entering. I was told that although our prescriptions were ready the fact that the pharmist had not turned up for work, I couldn’t be served. Now I realise that this wasn’t in anyway the fault of the two assistants, who were very polite and helpful, but it is a fact that since Boots took over the shop, the word ‘disaster’ seems to be very appropriate.

  • Maria Wallace

    I also have fallen foul of the rude staff employed by Boots. The one I took the abuse from was in Glasgow Sauchiehall Street, by the name of Maureen Davie.
    My mother had a prescription for 100 paracetemol handed in on 26th August, this ” CHARMING PERSON “. told me she could not get them untill her dosset box started again on 9th September, I explained they dont go int he box. She as much as said too bad. I said my mother has none, her reply, “WELL GET HER DOCTOR TO WRITE MORE THEN “.
    Her attitude was downright disgraceful to be working with the public, when I said so she said too bad.
    Not at all a good advert for Boots.

  • http://www.boots.com rj

    Watch out for the miserable, arrogant Pharmacist at the Milton Keynes, Crown Walk store. Milton Keynes Shopping Centre

    My husband and I approached the Pharmacy counter to seek advice for our 10 week old baby. The only reason we approached the Pharmacist by the name of Farid, Farok or Faisal, not sure as we did not catch his badge quick enough, (respectfully of Asian descent) is due to not knowing what was the appropriate medicine to buy as a decongestant for our baby.

    Unfortunately we were shunned and told by the Pharmacist that he the counter was closed. My husband was not given the chance to speak and finish his sentence when the Pharmacist rudely interrupted him by saying “we are closed”. My husband tried to speak again and the Pharmacist raised his voice and said “WE ARE CLOSED” and walked off. My husband and I turned around in dismay and disappointment as we have never been spoken to in such a rude manner before. I appreciate that it was approaching the end of the day, however the store was still open. I then approached a staff member at the till, as we were desperate to find a remedy for our daughter. The lady happily and kindly escorted me to the decongestants for babies, where we began our search. I explained to the lady what had happened and she said there was no reason for the Pharmacist to have spoken to us like that, since now it was 16.55pm and the store had still not shut.

    We did not find a suitable decongestant for our baby in the end however felt extremely disgusted how we were treated by this particular member. If he does not want to work in Boots, he should seek alternative employment as an attitude like that is not well received by Customers.


    Just to warn you, watch out for boots staff- felisape(Name given) at st-pancreas intl Boots store, She is around 50, white. As you pickup a perfume she will pounce on you and accuse you of trying to steal the item. I stood there for 20mins while she went away to chat to her manager and make up a cock/bull story. Full story to follow.

  • Linda Haines

    I had an eye test at the begnning of September in Boots- BRISTOL and was told | needed a different prescription in both my distance glasses and my occupational lenses (for reading & computer work )

    I decided to have new glasses entirely and chose the frames for both .
    THere was, as sometimes is the case in Boots Buyone One Get One Free.

    However as I discovered you only get this offer if the glasses are exactly the same prescription !
    AS I was having a distance pair and a reading pair and the distance were REACTOLITES, and a thin lense and I only got to have a BOOTS frame free as the first pair were designer frames the costs spiralled to £405.00 for two pairs, which albeit very expensive I opted for.

    A week later both pairs were ready, on collection the readind pair were the wrong prescription they had been made 2 mm blow “the line ” instead of 2mm above making them 4MM out. (THey are obviously like bifocals )

    THey were returned, two weeks later I went to collect the corrected pair of glasses
    but again they were wrong !!!! Naturally I was not happy

    THere was no manager in the shop and only two young ” girls ” both of whom were not authorised to gave a refund which i asked for.
    I agreed the manager could call me to discuss the matter, which he did.

    I arranged an appoinment to see him and give them anothere chance to get these glasses right, that was on the 14th October.

    It is now 4th November and I stll do not have the glasses, that is 3 weeks after I saw the manager and 8 weeks ago that I originally had my eyes tested.

    I am awaiting the manager to call me to discuss it yet again but I wont hold my breath.

    What can I say except ” SHOULD HAVE GONE TO SPECSAVERS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • michael smith

    I agree Boots are the pits, my wife takes pain pads and i gave my wife prescription into Boots in Batheaston Bath when i picked up my wife prescription she applied the patch after an hour she didnt feel well then realised Boots gave her 10mg of pain pads instead of her usual 5mg i complained to boots only to be put through to a call centre who said they will do no harm. she telephoned her doctor who said take them off immediately on no circumstances use them they are a controlled drug and that high a dose should not be used.
    my wife has not even had an apology i complained to the pharmacutical society who was suppose to be making out a report this was in august and my wife has still not heard every time i ring up there is an exscuse my wife cannot use even the low dose pads now as they make her ill also.
    2 months before this i picked a previous prescription up and when i got home there was only three pads in a box instead of the usual four when my wife enquired about it the pharmacist a Jane cotton said “exscuse me for saying this but you dont pay for them so what are you complaining about” my wife is a pensioner so needless to say we have never been in boots since and wont do in the future.
    Found a small good chemist now and they are so helpful and friendly.

  • Jim Gilmer

    I find it impossible to get service at the Boots Pharmacy department. If you put in a prescription you have to first wait in a 10 minute queue then go away for half an hour. when you come back to collect the items you were told were in stock you have another 10 minute queue only to be told it is not in stock but they will order it. 2 days later you find they have ordered the wrong item.
    Boots were once a good store. No more.
    Service, price etc are a disgrace. It does not help that staff are constantly having to issue drug addicts their daily doses. The addicts have a very agressive attitude and demand immediate service.
    No more Boots for me.

  • Elizabeth Blain

    As a customer in Boots stores I am absolutely horrified to know that on some occasions there is only a Pharmasict and one technician and they are expected to give a five minute wait for prescriptions and serve on the counter as well, is this really safe or justified as the staff work relly hard and have good people skills and a demanding job. Also their tills are also extremly slow and on several occasions I have had to leave the store without a receipt.

  • Linda Croft on March 10,2011 at 10:25am Melton

    I dont usually go into my local Boots store but was given a money off voucher for No7 and thought I would try there products out. I am an Avon fan. On arriving in store the lady on the No7 counter disapeared up stairs. I waited and after 5 mins I asked the lady on the till if someone could help me with No7 products, she appologised and asked another assistant to find the No7 lady for me. Well 10 mins later she arrived and I asked if there rainge had nail varnish remover? her reply was, had I seen it in a larger Boots store and if I haden’t why would I expect to see it at this store? she looked at me as though I was somthing she had troden in and her attitude was rude, basiclly I was just wasn’t worth the bother. I would have bought somthing else as it was I walked out of the store and put the voucher in the bin. I will stick to Avon in future thanks!

  • Irena

    I worked for Boots as a temporary staff, I was always helpful and customer focused however when I finished my temporary contract they let me go just like that, the most of the staff were rude but they all come from the same asian country so it is ok, HR are horible I was waiting for my first payment over 6 weeks and she didn’t understant what people want from her, my work mate was waiting for £1000 because of her mistake. They need to review their workers for sure………..

  • Graham Harrop

    Went into boots in wootton bassett, nr swindon, to buy soluble cocodamol, i find other strong painkillers frequently contain caffine which doesnt agree with me. About a month or more ago i bought some from there giving half of them to a relative who i recommended them to, simple it would seem, not so , the woman at the till asks me why do i take them,um its a painkiller ( says on box, what a dimwit), “only you buy a lot of these and your often in here” not believing what im hearing i ask her ” do i when was i last in hear then ? ” no reply, “they are addictive you know” yes i know it says that on the box too!, more questions follow as the queue grew, ive had enough of this ridicule and storm out of the shop,i got them from llyods chemist, and will boycott boots . Conclusion, boots sell over the counter medicines if THEY decide you can have them, sod em i say. Thank god they dont sell alcohol or cigarettes, can you imagine it ? ” whos the beer for? will you drink it all?”.


    after reading some of the above letters and they come from all over the UK I hope someone from Boots takes a look I also had no problem when it was Lloyds. I handed in 2 prescriptions one dated 28/3/11 and the other 29/3/11 to our local chemist i received the rest bar 1 item i returned today 7/4/11 to told that the injections were not and they would contact me on delivery this is not the first time ,but on almost every visit their is a shortage. You wait for your pills etc and if there is a shortage and you go back you have to wait again. As on their label
    TRUST BOOTS ???????

  • Mrs Wilson

    I have just made a purchase via the Boots website and it was the single most frustrating experience I have ever had in my entire history of intenet shopping. First I thought I’d look at hair dye but it didn’t have an option to search by colour! It made me trawl through every colour there was. How ridiculous. The only other search option that was relevant was to choose out of permanent, semi permanent etc so I chose permanent. It still brought up semi permanent so that was a pointless waste of time. I was fed up by then but unfortunately the other item I wanted to purchase could only be bought through boots online much to my dismay. In order to complete the purchase you had to register with them which is pretty standard practice usually however with Boots you have to choose a screen name before checking out in case you ever want to participate in forums etc. I don’t want to participate but I still had to sit there typing in name after name as it wouldn’t let me move on until I had a screen name that nobody else had. This took about 10 minutes but felt even longer. Internet shopping is supposed to be quick and easy! What a complete waste of my time and energy. If I want to use a forum why can’t I register a screen name then? I will never use their website again.

  • Eileen Mills

    I have been let down by Boots The Oracle READINGThey failed to complete my prescription, and said the items not included were not being manifactured any more. But thet would try again for them and let me know that same day by phone.I waited 10 days and no phonecall. I tried phoning them, but they did not answer the phonem and in the end I had to get another prescription from the Doctor, and today got my medications at another chemist. I SHALL NOT GO TO BOOTS AGAIN

  • Eileen Mills

    I think it is disgusting