As a CVS employee of 7 years, I'm here to clear up some things you might still be confused about.
The most important fact that any store manager knows is that revenue generated by the front store is nothing compared to the profits provided by the pharmacy department. This is FACT! This info has been circulating internally for years and is backed by years of research. CVS is very generous when it comes to spending money on research. They even spent money researching what color will be more eye-friendly. CVS literarily doesn't care about how much money you save on front store items. Why? Because the majority of their profits for the day are generated by the pharmacy department. Think about it this way: your prescription copays are the same anywhere you go. So to you, as a consumer/patient, it makes no difference where you get your prescription filled, except... and here's where I think CVS is genius... except your preferences. CVS understands it better than anybody I think. All of their research is directed at understanding how to sway your preferences to continue to come and fill your prescriptions at CVS. They spend billions of dollars on research to come up with industry-leading ideas on how to keep you coming back to CVS. They were the first to roll out such a comprehensive reward program as ExtraCare Rewards and still to this day, I have not seen a company be able to even match it, much less beat it. The ExtraCare bucks are designed for one thing and one thing only: convert the customer who shops the front store only to a patient who regularly fills RXs and also shops in the store while waiting for their RXs. You, as a consumer, are much more valuable to CVS as a CVS/pharmacy patient.
Why am I saying all this? Simple... as much money as they make on your prescription, they're willing to make less of a profit, maybe even lose some occasionally, just to keep you coming back and filling RXs at our pharmacies. Having said that, I want to point out another important fact: company policies are contingent on the decisions of management of the store. All store managers are given the authority to override any policy that may hinder your positive shopping experience. But heed my warning: if the manager of the store is not willing to appease to your demands and you decide to call his/her superior, don't be surprised if you don't get your way with them either. Even though, the manager CAN override the policy, doesn't mean that because s/he didn't, his/her superior will override the store manager's decision. The manager's superior will back his manager up and send you back to the store to resolve the issue. Therefore, if you're going to try to work the system and manipulate CVS rules, be courteous about it. Kindly ask if you are able to redeem whatever it is you're trying to do and chances are if you've been nice to the service associate, they will be courteous in return and go the extra mile to try to save you a couple of bucks. We aren't jealous that you have a coupon. Contrary to your belief, we are more than happy to apply it to your purchase. You just have to be fair about it. Just because you, the customer, are always right, doesn't mean you should be and this mindset plays a big role in our decision-making.