Tuesday, December 13, 2005
I don't get drug stores...
It seems like there's a Walgreens or a CVS Pharmacy going in on every street corner out here in the west suburbs of Chicago. Honestly, right before we moved away from the Wheaton area there were three new Walgreens that went in within just a few blocks of each other. And now out here in Yorkville there are (or will be) three Walgreens within 5 minutes of each other.

I just don't get it. Why does anyone need a drug store? Aren't there already pharmacies in every Jewel-Osco, Target, WalMart, and Dominicks around? Isn't it way more convenient to get your prescriptions and toiletries at a place where you can also get your groceries and/or clothes? A drug store just has such a limited selection of products, why would I choose to go there instead of one of those other stores?

I guess what I really don't understand is why these drug store chains are growing and expanding so much across the suburbs. It seems to me that the drug store concept would be an outdated one, a dinosaur of a bygone era doomed to extinction. And yet it's just the opposite - they seem to be booming. I just don't get it. What's the draw? What's the appeal? In an era where "one stop shopping" is increasingly the norm, why are people still shopping at specialty retailers like Walgreens that don't sell anything any different than what you can get at the bigger stores?

Don't get me wrong. I'm all about supporting small local businesses and fighting the homogenization imposed on us by the big box retailers. But Walgreens and the like aren't small local businesses. They're big national chains that are essentially the same as the big box stores, only smaller and with less selection. I'd go to a locally owned mom-and-pop drug store for the principle of the thing, but why would I go to a Walgreens?

Can anyone explain this to me?
posted by Mike Clawson at 2:14 PM | Permalink |


At 12/14/2005 12:09:00 AM, Blogger Matt W

no i cant explain it... but i work at target and we have a pharmacy that does well... yeah...


At 12/14/2005 08:24:00 AM, Anonymous mooseluv

From my point of view, it's all about service. They know who I am at my local [insert name of pharmacy chain here]. I don't have to fight the crowds for my prescriptions or yell my personal information across the sea of people to get them. And the weekly flyers I get tell me that their prices on tolietries are often far better than at the grocery store. Yeah, it's an extra trip, but it's a really short one and it saves me money and hassle everytime I make it :-)


At 12/14/2005 01:34:00 PM, Blogger Erin

...I always find that Walgreens is so expensive, too. Since Walgreens is closer to school sometimes I'll stop there if I need to pick something up in a pinch...but they take advantage of that. I recently paid 2.49 for something I can get elsewhere for .99. I'll never do that again...


At 12/15/2005 09:04:00 PM, Blogger Mike Clawson

Maybe I don't get it because I don't really have any prescriptions and thus don't really use the pharmacy all that often anyway. Maybe it'll make more sense to me when I'm older and more heavily medicated.


At 1/06/2006 05:16:00 AM, Anonymous Gerry Crane

Smaller store means that they can easily keep it open 24 hours a day. Perhaps this has something to do with it? I know that Dominicks and some Jewels are open 24 hours, but I don't think that the pharmacy parts are.


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