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I confronted the Manager of Shopper’s Drug Mart

September 5, 2010

So yesterday I had to get some Robaxacet.  My back has been killing me since the jarring kids rides at Disneyland and sleeping on the very, very soft bed at the hotel.  I wandered into the Shopper’s in Dunderave, the one that had me so mad late last year.

Well, first and foremost, this was the map I made of it after I left:

Turns out I was wrong.  The cosmetics department is MUCH bigger than I thought!!

Really, I don’t normally care what a store does, but I still don’t understand why a store that is legally licensed to sell medicines, a store that is required to have well trained medical experts on staff, sell so much crap…  It is simply beyond me.

Still, the thing that makes me so angry is the gauntlet of junk food.  This is so damn wrong.  As soon as I got to the cashier, after braving the gauntlet, I asked for the manager.  I was not going to put up with this exploitive, money grubbing behavior from a store that is a guest in my community.

The manager came over and I went off on him.  Told him how wrong it was to force people through the junk food, advised him that it is a poor decision for a store that sells medicine to also sell so much candy, chips and chocolate treats, and to advise him of clinical studies showing that junk food has been clinically proven to be addictive.  He politely listened to me and shared the fact that many people are unhappy with the gauntlet because they are slowed down in getting out of the store.  As well, they have chosen not to sell cigarettes.  Whatever….

The manager also said that the layout of the store was decided by head office.  So, obviously my comments to the manager should have been directed elsewhere.  To that effect:

An open Letter to Shoppers Drug Mart

Dear Jürgen Schreiber, CEO and President of Shoppers Drug Mart,

I have been a long time customer of your store and I have found your pharmacists to be both professional and knowledgeable.  Your selection of health products in your stores has been more than ample and I wouldn’t hesitate to get health products from you.

All of that said, I have been bothered by the constantly increasing quantity of candy that your stores have had.  Still my concern has shifted to outrage at the layout of your Dunderave store.  You have created a junk food gauntlet that one must negotiate to leave the store.  I am sure that you are aware of the high impulse value that junk foods have and have used this information to select what products you put in the gauntlet.  As well, I am sure that you are aware the impact that the increased consumption of junk food has had on our society here in Canada.

I am bothered by any company that chooses to take advantage of peoples inability to refuse junk food for their profit.  To be clear though, I have no problem with junk food being available to the public, just that it shouldn’t be available everywhere, and further shouldn’t be placed to require people to be ever vigilant against their cravings.  So, although I am bothered by any company trying to increase its sales by preying on the addictive qualities of junk food, I am doubly bothered by a company that is licensed to sell medicines doing this exact action.

I ask you politely, as a concerned citizen who has been watching what truly is an epidemic of obesity with the desire to help, please stop selling junk food in your stores.  I am sure that this is a hard decision to make as junk food has probably been a significant portion of your $10 billion in revenue in 2009.  If you refuse to stop selling junk food, then I ask a little less politely, but none the less, still a request, please change the layout of your stores so that no one is ever required to go through the junk food to purchase their medicine and leave the store.

I thank you for your time and attention to this issue and look forward to entering your store in Dunderave and not being forced to walk through aisles of candy and chips.


Mark Vaughan

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