Friday, January 9, 2009

Can Shoppers Drug Mart Do Anything Right?

Shopping for specialty items is a pain at the best of times. Try finding a seasonal affective disorder light. Sure there are some specialty stores that carry them. But few. Shoppers Drug Mart carries them and has cornered the market. Not a good time to restrict access -- especially if you have stores just about everywhere. And, by all appearances (looking through the window), they do offer a good array of lights to choose from. But I arrive at one of the few stores that actually carries these lights and I can't get in. Its 8 pm. I can get into the main store using the same entrance (Danforth and Main area in Toronto) and buy groceries, chocolate, cheap pop, cosmetics and yes a good array of over the counter pills and products. But try a specialty item. Humbug. If it’s a little-out-of-the-ordinary healthcare item the doors are closed. Once again Shoppers Drug Mart demonstrates that their mission is shareholder value. Consumers be damned.

So now it’s 9 a.m. and I will drive to a store. It's not nearby. I can go by car and make my purchase. I still lose half a day in the process + the time last night.

And call them to get this message. "We close at 7 pm." But get there and find that its really 6 pm.

p.s. I dropped by four stores. Three of their pharmacists had no idea what I was talking about. One wondered if I bought these lights there regularly. The other had no idea what I was asking for. A third realized what it was but had never seen or heard about one at Shoppers. Oyez, oyez oyez.

But some faint praise. The excessive space dedicated to chocolate, cheap pop, cheap butter tarts and Danish pastries has been taken down at the Queen and Carlaw store. Stocking clerks tell me that head office insisted. If they remove all of it maybe they can earn their partnership with the Diabetes Association.

Anton Hart

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