I am grateful for many things in my life. But one thing that I just added to my list, and never considered before, is that I don’t have to figure out the shopping habits of American consumers.
With Americans working more hours than ever, U.S. retailers have gone out of their way to make shopping more convenient, adding products and services to their core offerings – all in an effort to entice customers to spend more money in their establishments.
Witness Walmart and Target adding large food sections to their stores; gas stations adding convenience store food items; CVS and Walgreens selling tobacco products and food products.
But wait, didn’t CVS announce earlier this year it was going to stop selling tobacco products in its stores in an effort to promote itself as a health care company? They did! And in fact will stop selling these products a month sooner than originally planned.
Will removing one product from the shelves of all CVS’ move them closer to being a true “health care” company? I suppose it helps, as cigarettes are the leading cause of lung cancer in the United States and causes all sorts of other health problems. But if you look closely at what CVS sells – you start to see more problems with their logic.
First, and I was not aware of this until some of my Facebook friends in other states pointed it out to me, CVS sells liquor in many of its locations. Surely, not the healthiest choice to make when you are thirsty. They also sell candy – all prominently displayed right in front of the registers, and not too far from the aisle with all the diabetic testing supplies. If you want to be a healthcare company shouldn’t you remove all sugary snacks from you shelves?
But let’s not pick on CVS – at least they are trying.
You can walk in to just about any major supermarket these days and get a prescription filled while filling your cart with products filled with sugar, fat and nicotine. The lines between food store and drug store have become very blurry indeed.
So where will this mash-up of health care and snack fare end?
I have a vision of walking into a 7-11, and while waiting for my prescription to be filled, munch on a beef and bean burrito and wash it down with a Dr. Pepper Big Gulp.