Shrink (?)

19 Jun

I mentioned in an earlier list that I was confused because Walgreens locks up national brand stool softeners.  Is that a heavily shoplifted item?  And it can’t be that a pharmacist has to give them to you (like Sudafed), because the private label item with the same active ingredient is not locked up.  At a few stores, the Imodium is locked up too, next to the laxatives.  And that right there seems like a bad plan.  Somebody that needs Imodium (perhaps after ingesting eye drops [see my brother’s comment on the previous post]) might not have that kind of time.  The time to find a store employee, who then has to go find the keys, who then must walk back over to the shelf,  unlock the item, then bring it back to the register to be rung  up, and then, finally, given to the customer for whom it might already be too late.

Anyway, the stool softeners are locked up in every Walgreens I’ve been to since I’ve started this project (and no, I’m not abusing laxatives – I just noticed them locked up at one store a few months back, and have checked at other stores.  Shheeesh).  As were certain antacids (like Prilosec), fancy toothbrushes, and data storage devices (thumb drives, SD cards, that sort of thing).  Other items are locked up at some Walgreens and not others.  Condoms are locked up at the 24-hour locations, but they’re often not locked up at the stores that close at 10pm – I think we can all figure that one out.  Teeth-whitening strips are sometimes locked up, sometime not – seems to depend on if there’s room in the case after locking up the electric toothbrushes.

The one that really caught my attention, though, was hair care products.  At a Walgreens location that is right next to an expensive private school and just down the street from (what is generally thought to be ) the rich kids’ public high school, the high-end hair products are locked up.  The Bumble and Bumble, Biosilk, and Chi hair products are kept under lock and key.  So I checked a Walgreens that is just down the way from both a high school and middle school that have large working class and immigrant populations.  At that Walgreens they carried the same hair products, but they weren’t locked up.  Or at any of the other Walgreens I checked.  So apparently, the rich kids are shoplifting hair care products, and the poor kids aren’t.

BUT!  I guess the poor kids’ grandmas are shoplifting, because the wrinkle creams were locked up at that store!  And that’s crazy!  I can’t really picture any of the old ladies of Duranes shoplifting.  But I think I read somewhere that senior citizens do a fair amount of shoplifting, so maybe they are.  I also noticed at that location the baby formula was locked up, and I hadn’t seen that in other stores.                  😦

But the condoms were not locked up, which seems crazy!  Maybe more people should be stealing contraceptives at that particular Walgreens location.



This post is dedicated to my brother and my mom.  I hope it has enough poop references and sociological observations (respectively) to make you each very happy.

For anyone that’s curious, the schools I was talking about were: Albuquerque Academy, La Cueva, Valley, and Garfield.

For the record, I totally have no idea why Walgreens locks some items up and not others.  It might not have anything to do with their shrinkage numbers.  Maybe they just wanna encourage people to buy their private label products. *shrug*

I am not totally crazy. I didn’t just drive all around town all day doing nothing but visiting different Walgreens.  I went to the stores that were on the way to the gym or close to work. Except for the one that’s way to hell and gone up in the heights.  That I went to just to see what there was to see.

Doesn’t “baby formula” sound like something  that if you’d added water to it, you’d end up with a baby?


10 Responses to “Shrink (?)”

  1. Mom June 20, 2010 at 6:51 am #

    You are, of course, my favorite sociologist.

  2. Your Brother June 20, 2010 at 1:15 pm #

    Excellent observations and commentary. This is my favorite:

    Doesn’t “baby formula” sound like something that if you’d added water to it, you’d end up with a baby?

    I’m going to see if I can convince anyone of the above, or perhaps that baby formula is for single or lesbian women who want to have children.

    • mandymcadoo June 21, 2010 at 11:16 pm #

      If anyone can convince someone of that, it’s you dear brother.

  3. Perrin June 20, 2010 at 11:04 pm #

    I wonder how much research Walgreens does to decide what to lock up. Is the company interviewing focus groups and paying statisticians to figure out what’s going to be stolen in a certain neighborhood, or is it just the store manager who decides? The only thing that’s always locked up that frustrates me is the perfume. I know it is expensive and all, but I really want to smell them all before I buy any, and I feel silly sniffing all of the little bottles and packages in front of the poor Walgreens employee who has to keep watch over the open cabinet.

    • mandymcadoo June 28, 2010 at 9:11 pm #

      I was going by the assumption that they use the shrinkage numbers that they get after doing inventory to decide what is locked up after it’s been proven to be a product that is shoplifted regularly. No real idea though.

  4. henry March 8, 2011 at 1:45 pm #

    In the Walgreens by the Chicago Ave. EL stop they lock up the instant coffee.

  5. Star March 22, 2012 at 8:06 pm #

    Hey 🙂
    I work for Walgreens.
    First and foremost, according to corporate, the locks are coming off soon.
    The items that are locked tend to be high return items. Meaning that someone is stealing the item with no intention of using it. They come back, without a receipt, and return items for store credit. These are usually small size high cost items.
    Also some items are locked solely do to one person. The same person may come to the same Walgreens to steal the same item often enough that it needs to be locked at that location.
    Kay Thanks.

  6. Tina September 30, 2013 at 4:19 pm #

    Have you ever been in a rough part of town? Wouldn’t you say that there are areas that have less crime? That goes hand-in-hand with retail theft. If you were a professional shoplifter–which would you prefer a BRAND or a store brand? Regardless of whether the school is “private or high-end” kids steal–they frequent stores with their back-packs and rip you off. If parents would teach their children right from wrong from day 1 you and your brother could get your laxatives without having to have assistance. Good luck

    • mandymcadoo September 30, 2013 at 4:29 pm #

      I’m not sure you’ve understood the post, dear heart. But good luck to you as well.

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