Wait, wait. I've got a coupon.

Depending on what part of the country you're from, you have a local drug store. Eckerd’s, Walgreen’s, I think it's GDC on the East Coast. These stores have a weird collection of items ranging from the not-so-useful to the purely eccentric. I like to think of them as an Impulse Shoppers Paradise. Really, the only reason you should go to these places is to get your Rx filled or before a road trip to see if there's anything really novel you're forgetting, like an Alabama CD or one of 10 novels they may have. Walgreen’s, especially, is notorious for having very little in stock, nothing in bulk, and no high end items. They don't have a lot of groceries, cool Sharper Image type things or the full range of office supplies one might need. It's also a place where they could run out.

That's right, in our day and age of consumer gluttony where we're only happy with our purchasing experience when we can log roll 22 gallons of mayonnaise out to our car, having to hear the words "out of stock" seem like their coming from another planet. And they art, sort of. These midsize drug stores harken back to the days when they were the Wal-Marts and Super Targets. They were the big kid on the block. But they've kept their ideals and their size and their product selection....and their clientele.

Oh Lordy what do I gotta do to shop at this place without having to stand behind the AARP'er trying to pay for make up, deodorant (moth ball scent), batteries and cranberry juice with twice as many coupons as she has items. I've worried that I've overspent before, like at a Best Buy when I feel guilty about paying $50 for a video game, but this is nearly haggling, another lost art. "Well, I think 3 chickens is a fair price, but I think you can do better. How about 2 chickens and a duck for this basket of Maybelline?"

Not to mention that they have to pay in exact change, change they don't have ready, change they can't find, change they don't even know they may or may not have. So after 10 mins of bickering over whether the weekly special on flash bulbs and Ambesol actually registered on the register, then digging through a purse the size of a waterbed bladder looking for 96¢, it's time for me to move up.

And the whole reason I go, is because cigarettes are cheaper there. We're not just talking a few cents. If a local kiosk selling gum, muffins and smokes charges $4.50, and the gas station is charging $3.50, Walgreen’s is charging $2.50. It's weird. I guess in the end, they're keeping a lot of things from the past, including the price of smokes.

No comments: