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Wal-Greens Loses My Business

Remember that employee who stopped a potentially deadly hostage situation at Wal-Greens? Well, Wal-Greens fired him:

A photograph of four children tucked in a thank-you card from a coworker reminds Jeremy Hoven he did the right thing.

But doing “the right thing” cost the night shift pharmacist his job at the Walgreens drugstore at Napier Avenue and M-139. The national pharmacy chain fired Hoven on Monday, eight days after he fired his handgun to foil an armed robbery and a potentially deadly hostage situation at the store.

“In my mind, I can look at myself in the mirror. I can lay my head down in bed and sleep. In my mind, I did what I had to do,” said the 36-year-old Twin Cities-area resident.

46 Responses to “Wal-Greens Loses My Business”

  1. JMaverick Says:

    Thanks for the update Uncle. I guess it is time to find a new pharmacy.

    If you so desire to let Walgreens know what effect this will have on your shopping habbits, can drop them a note at http://www.walgreens.com/topic/marketing/contactus/default1.jsp?foot=contact_us

  2. martywd Says:

    I don’t shop at Walgreens much.   Now it will be never.

  3. Freiheit Says:

    “If you’re Walgreens, what do you do? I’m sure their lawyers don’t want people carrying guns in their store.” – I have never seen any Walgreens posted no-carry.

  4. armed_partisan Says:

    You need to know the Zip Code if you want to send them a complaint. I picked 48837, but the closest address to that zip is a place in Lansing, not Benton Township. I included the name Jeremy Hoven, which means they’ll probably know what I’m talking about.

  5. ben Says:

    I’m on the bandwagon. Never going to Walgreens again.

  6. divemedic Says:

    Boycotts accomplish nothing. Virtually every major company has a ban on employees with firearms. Why is that? Because the judicial branch of government has decreed that employers are responsible for employees defending their lives, but employers are not responsible for criminals taking the lives of others. These “no guns” policies are a direct result of that.

    Until liability laws are changed, these things will happen all the time, no matter what the business or company. Run a Google search: Papa john’s, Pizza Hut, Walgreen’s, Disney, 7-11, and Wal Mart have all fired employees for the same thing.

    More on the Walgreen’s case:
    http://www.heraldpalladium.com/articles/2011/05/11/local_news/4708657.txt

  7. Leatherwing Says:

    FYI, this is the address for the store where Mr Hoven worked:
    875 E Napier Rd
    Benton Harbor, MI 49022

  8. Bryan S. Says:

    We can either placate the lawyers or do the right thing in this country. Not both.

    grow some stones Walgreens!

  9. John Richardson Says:

    Mr. Hoven is fortunate that his profession is in such high demand. He’ll likely have a new position within the week if he wants one.

    Unfortunately, there are many people who defend themselves or others – with or without firearms – and suffer for it. I’m thinking of the Wal-Mart employees who got fired for defending someone in a parking lot or the numerous pizza delivery drivers who have been fired for protecting themselves.

    It sucks.

  10. Stormy Dragon Says:

    Until liability laws are changed, these things will happen all the time

    One thing I think would help is changing the law such that if you render someone defenseless, you are creating a positive obligation to protect them. So you’re free to ban carry in your business, but if you do so you become legally liable for a failure to protect the employees and customers.

  11. Ian Argent Says:

    That’s my view on things as well, that you can, as property owner, ban firearms, but doing so places the liability on you.

  12. Dave Says:

    “Boycotts accomplish nothing”?????!!! That is a shameful and ignorant statement. That is the sort of attitude that we need to avoid at all costs. Just google “successful boycotts in history” and you’ll see how little they accomplish. Funny how Boston Tea Party comes up as the first example. http://www.pbs.org/now/society/boycott.html

  13. Zendo Deb Says:

    You can send a comment to Walgreens Corporate idiots at this link.

    And don’t forget to stay away from Yum Brands, for the same reason (KFC, Pizza Hut, Long John Silvers, Taco Bell) – they like unarmed pizza delivery drivers.

  14. Paul Says:

    Come to Texas Mr. Hoven. You are welcome here. Plenty of pharmacy jobs!!!

  15. TomcatTCH Says:

    Until the liability laws hold gun banners accountable, I see no reason to heed their property rights.

  16. Pol Mordreth Says:

    FYI, here in Middle TN there is a pizza chain called Jets. Not only do they allow their drivers with permits to CC while working, one of their drivers had to use his weapon a while back and he got paid time off and the company assisted with the counseling costs. Don’t know if they are in your area, look em up!

  17. A Critic Says:

    “Boycotts accomplish nothing”

    It accomplishes my adherence to my ethical standards.

  18. Sean D Sorrentino Says:

    Better than an email would be a personal call to their consumer relations line.

    (800) 925-4733

    I spoke to Carolyn and she was very nice. She pulled the info up on her computer pretty quickly, so this isn’t the first time that she had to handle this kind of call. I told her, very politely, that I wouldn’t patronize a store that would fire a person for defending himself and likely saving the lives of his two managers. I even gave her my phone number and name so that she could call me back in the event that they changed their minds.

  19. Tailgun Says:

    Email sent to Walgreen’s to let them know they wont be seeing any more of my business.

    @Pol Mordreth Good to know about Jets Pizza. I already liked their pizza, but now they’ll be my go to chain.

  20. Chas Says:

    Exercise your right to keep and bear arms and lose your job? That’s crazy. Where’s the protection in law for those who exercise that constitutional right?

  21. Tam Says:

    This is just incredible. I mean, probably the only career field with a higher percentage of gun-carriers than “pharmacist” is “police officer”.

    Unfortunately, small pharmacies are rapidly becoming extinct thanks to the big chains, and those big chains have employee policies penned by gun-shy legal departments as Divemedic pointed out.

  22. Sigivald Says:

    Dave: “Stop thinking that” is not an argument – show me a modern boycott that actually worked.

    Remember how boycotts stopped Apartheid? Right, they didn’t.

    Remember how Target got made to be even more nice to gays and not donate to some politicians by a boycott? Oh, right – it didn’t.

    I can’t think of one that’s worked in my lifetime.

    (Like, in the list found with your search… most of them seem to have been “successful” only in “bringing attention” – that’s not what a success is in my universe.

    If we redefine “successful” as “gets attention” then a boycott is worthless because it doesn’t make them stop doing the thing you want.)

    (And the Boston Tea Party was not a boycott. It was destruction of property! Then again, that was hardly out of character for the nearly-terrorist Sons of Liberty.

    Intimidation campaigns aren’t “boycotts” either.)

    Chas: There is no constitutional right to keep and bear arms while on someone else’s private property and being paid by them to not carry as part of the job.

    The Second Amendment is there to keep the State from disarming you – not to make sure that you can carry a gun on the job regardless of what your employer thinks.

    Just like you can be fired for badmouthing your company in public even though the State cannot restrain your speech.

    Constitutional rights are against the State, not against private persons or aggregations of them in the form of partnerships or corporations.

  23. Josh G Says:

    Told them myself and the conservative-pistol-packing-2A-supporting members of my family will take the over 40 prescriptions we get filled a month there, to a local pharmacy. Costs a little more, but they allow their employees to carry. The drive-thru and late hours were convenient, however.

  24. Wecrosscreek Says:

    Below is the comment I sent them. My son is Type I Diabetic. I spend around $200-225 a month on medical supplies just for him. I have gotten to know other “Type I” Dad’s who are both gun owners and CCW holders. Do boycotts work? Maybe not… but they are not going to get one red dime form me or anyone one of the “Type I” Dad’s I get finished talking to. Will it hurt ’em? Maybe not… but I’ll feel good knowing they aren’t getting a dime from me. Yeah… this really pisses me off.

    ==================================================

    I am attaching a link to an article I just read concerning the termination of a night shift pharmacist who, legally armed, defended himself and a coworker from an armed robbery.

    http://www.heraldpalladium.com/articles/2011/05/18/local_news/4820927.txt

    Currently all my family’s medicines are purchased through Walgreens. That includes all my 14 year old’s diabetic supplies (Novalog, Lantus, Pen Caps, syringes, test strips, etc.).

    Unfortunately after reading about your company’s handling of this matter I can no longer do business with a company that will punish an employee for taking steps to protect himself and a coworker… especially in the light that after a previous armed robbery attempt no additional security procedures appear to have been instigated.

    I also feel compelled to express my frustration with your company’s decision via email (including a link to the story) to all my friends, family and as well as friends we currently network with through our involvement with the JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation).

    I ask you to put yourself in this young man’s place. With a gun in your face, which would you rather have… the training and a pistol… or your employer adding a couple more security cameras to capture what will be done to you?

    It is my hope that at a corporate level the action of terminating Jeremy Hoven will be revisited, that he will be fully reinstated and an apology will be made to him.

    Sincerely,
    xxxxxxx xxxxxxxx

  25. divemedic Says:

    Dave: Every week some group or another threatens to boycott some large corporation, and they never change. Pizza Hut has the same policy despite numerous boycotts.

    Sigivald: The property owner in many cases is not making a “no guns” policy as a personal choice in a vacuum. The policies that most employers have in place is a result of the government declaring that businesses who allow guns on their property are legally liable for what is done with those firearms, while a businesses who ban firearms are not legally liable when defenseless patrons and employees are shot. That is where the violation of your constitutional RKBA is.

  26. SPQR Says:

    I’ve been boycotting Target ever since they fired a security manager who supplied radios for teams of people searching for a woman who was picked up in their parking lot and murdered.

  27. Nylarthotep Says:

    DiveMedic is right. Doesn’t mean I’ll ever walk into a walgreens again. I won’t do it to punish them, but to make myself feel better.

    If you don’t like something you react. If the reaction has no effect at least you have been honest to your own moral base.

  28. Ted N(not the Nuge) Says:

    Well, fuck walgreens in their stupid neck, and fuck the shit eating lawyers and judges that make up these fucked up laws and policies too.

  29. Gnarlysheen Says:

    A Critic said:
    ““Boycotts accomplish nothing”

    It accomplishes my adherence to my ethical standards.”

    This. Times a thousand.

  30. Ash Says:

    Exactly what are the “liability laws” folks are referring to? (let alone Ted’s judges and lawyers who are “making up these laws”).

    It’s Walgreen’s HR managers and likely their insurance company responsible for this state of affairs. Nobody and nothing else.

  31. Tam Says:

    Ash,

    Well, I didn’t mention any “liability laws” but I’d imagine that what people meant was the likelihood that if an employee of the Walgreen’s corporation, on their property, wearing their little uniform, and on their timeclock, shot somebody, whether accidentally or on purpose, they are going to get taken to the cleaners. And doubly so if they hadn’t taken the rudimentary preventative stance of a “no guns” policy.

  32. GooseYArd Says:

    Here’s their response:

    “Thank you for contacting Walgreens regarding this matter. Our policies in this area are designed to maintain the maximum safety of our customers and employees.Store employees receive comprehensive training on our company’s robbery procedures and how to react and respond to a potential robbery situation. In past incidents, employees have told us they’ve found this training effective.These policies and training programs are endorsed by law enforcement, which strongly advises against confrontation of crime suspects.Compliance is safer than confrontation. Through this practice, we have been able to maintain an exemplary record of safety.We’ve made significant investments in security technology in recent years, including increasing the number of digital surveillance cameras at our stores.With upgrades to security technology, we are able to provide police with high-resolution photographs and video of crime suspects.We continue to invest in state-of-the-art security measures and high-definition surveillance equipment and hope that the apprehension of robbery suspects in the Benton Harbor area will prevent future crimes. Thank you for contacting Walgreens to share your comments.”

  33. The Comedian Says:

    If enough employees don’t die on schedule the company will never see a good return on its dead peasant insurance. (aka “janitor insurance”)

    Really, banning self defense is just good stewardship of the shareholders’ investments.

  34. wizardpc Says:

    These policies and training programs are endorsed by law enforcement, which strongly advises against confrontation of crime suspects.

    Which is why cops never confront suspects. It does explain why they have to go all “lights and sirens” whenever responding to a violent incident.

  35. North Says:

    Walgreens sells a lot of low cost stuff. Not the highest quality items, really. Their shelves are filled with things that are not all that valuable.

    Apparently the lowest value item at Walgreens is ’employee.’

  36. Wecrosscreek Says:

    I got the exact response back from them as well. Word for word.

  37. Phenicks Says:

    I also received same canned response

  38. Mike Says:

    I won’t step foot in a Walgreens again unless and until they make this right to Mr. Hoven.

  39. e Says:

    Same canned resonse. I replied with this.
    =======================================================
    Thank you for your response.

    I agree that compliance is safer than confrontation. If the “crime suspects” ask for some pills, you give it to them and they leave, great; no one is hurt. If the “crime suspects” were not wearing masks; they may get arrested later, thanks to the high resolution surveillance equipment.

    However, when the “crime suspects” are ordering you to the back room, the chances of getting killed by the “crime suspects” goes up dramatically. That is when action needs to be taken to preserve life. The manager of the store has four children and a wife; how sad would it have been if the “crime suspects” murdered him, because Jeremy complied instead of confronted. I cannot think of anything more saddening than a father not being with his family.

    I also understand why you fired Jeremy, he did break company policy; and if you let him remain employed then it would show Walgreens does not enforce their own policy. Maybe now is a good time to change your policy. You do not have to put a big sign on the door saying GUNS WELCOME! You just need to remove the small print in the employee manual saying ;employees are not allowed to carry their legally concealed pistol. We can assume Jeremy carried his pistol there for a long time with no incidents. There are already citizens legally carrying concealed in your stores, with no incidents. The criminals know your employees do not have firearms, that is one reason they robbed your store. If the criminals have suspicion your employees do have firearms, they most likely will not rob your store. When is the last time you saw a robbery or murder at a pawn shop? (FYI, most all pawn shop employees have firearms on them)

    Not all people choose to carry a firearm, that is fine; it should not be forced upon them to do so. People who choose to legally carry a concealed firearm make an ethical decision, that they will be responsible for their own protection in a very bad scenario; such as Jeremy did. Calling the police was not an option, Jeremy protecting himself with the best tool available (a firearm) was an option; and he chose it. Walgreens policy would force Jeremy to remove his means to protect himself. Now who is responsible for protecting him? It should be Walgreens. If Walgreens will deny their employees means to protect themselves, then Walgreens should be legally liable for their employees protection. Lets pretend Jeremy was not carrying his firearm that night, he gets killed. Would layers be able to make a case against Walgreens?

    I would like to ask the people who write the policy for Walgreens a hypothetical question. If you in a back room with two other employees, and two “crime suspects”; which scenario would you choose.
    1. Your two fellow employees are unarmed, letting all three of you get murdered by the “crime suspects”.
    2. One or more of your fellow employees is legally carrying a concealed pistol, they are trained to use it and save the life of all three of you.

    Thanks again, I do look forward to another reply.

  40. JR Says:

    My response to them:

    Ah, I see the marketing department prepared a statement for you.

    Let me translate what I am reading:

    “Although our employee utilized a firearm to defend his own life and the lives of others, we would prefer that our employees remain unarmed and at the mercy of vicious criminals, who ARE armed. Our policies in this area are designed to maintain the maximum safety of armed criminals, who know that our stores are an easy target where they will not be challenged by armed resistance and they can assault our customers and employees without fear of retaliation. Please rest assured that we have invested in security cameras that will help us identify the perpetrators when any of our unarmed customers or employees are injured or killed by criminals. These policies and training programs are endorsed by law enforcement, which strongly advises against confrontation of crime suspects, which is the same thing they advised that airline passengers do and enabled terrorists to fly planes into buildings in New York. Compliance is safer than confrontation (for the criminals.)”

    Your stores are now less safe, not more safe.

    Cameras do not protect people. If they did, then police would carry cameras. Police don’t carry cameras, they carry guns. And the police will not be there when the criminals are, will they?

    Perhaps the money I spend with Walgreens means nothing to you, but you’ve just said, “Up yours! We prefer policies over people!”

  41. divemedic Says:

    You guys don’t get it. This is all about money and lawsuits. If a company like Walgreen’s does not prohibit weapons, they are legally responsible for every shot that every employee fires. If they DO prohibit weapons, they are virtually immune from being sued by the families of their dead and injured employees. Until liability laws change, these policies will remain.

  42. e Says:

    @dive

    Yea I know. I just wanted to make some wallgreens customer service rep think a little, instead of just regurgitating the can response. It just sucks that the laws are like that. Laws should be reversed, let companies be sued if they disarm people and let them be murdered by criminals, and let the individual be liable for his flying lead. Where are the lawyers to change these laws?

    Is it because the big money is in the way the laws are currently? Blah.

  43. Ash Says:

    I ask again, what are these “liability laws” you speak of?

  44. Ash Says:

    And since when did lawyers change laws? Were you asleep during civics class?

  45. Karl Says:

    Folks, use the link mentioned by several of the posters and send an e-mail to Walgreens letting them know you will no longer patronize them and that you will spread the word about their bad behavior to all of your family and friends. The fact that they respond to your e-mail with a form letter e-mail shows that at least you are getting some of their attention.

  46. DJFelix Says:

    Whether the boycott works or not, do you feel safe going to a Walgreens? They have basically told all criminals, nationwide, that armed robbery at Walgreens will not be met with any resistance per company policy. That does not make me feel safe going to Walgreens. I’ll switch to CVS. Their online support has turned abysmal recently, and I was considering switching. If I can’t feel safe there, why would I stay a customer?