When there was a RiteAid at the corner of Bush & Larkin, I was relatively happy. Admittedly while it was strange to be able to buy Doritos and liter of vodka where I also bought my toothbrush, I went with it. Come to think of it, this was probably convenient for those picking up penicillin and needing something to chase it down with. They stocked pretty much everything I needed. Sure, the razors were under lock and key, but that’s the case everywhere, where if not needing to be unlocked, they are behind the counter.

Of course now, RiteAid got bought out by Walgreens, our new, almighty drugstore overlords. It’s wrong to say that this store has gone to shit as it was never all that great, but it’s gone to useless whatever the case. Basically, everything I could ever possibly need is now locked up. Walgreens has converted this entire store in to a walk-in ghetto corner market.

Toothbrushes? Locked up. Deodorant? Locked up. Ironically, the razors have been freed to now be behind the register. Sure, they’ll unlock the cases, but the clerk who does it eyes you with a look that yes, you could be ready to steal at any moment and tries to actually pick out the products for you. The guy asked me which deodorant I wanted to which I replied, “I don’t know. Usually when I pick one out, I get the one on sale that smells the least ‘New Jersey sleazebag out for a night on the town'”, which is often called, “unscented” I’ve discovered. Also, I don’t have a clerk hovering over my shoulder while I make my choice. That’s creepy, like Gavin Newsom stopping by your place for a drink. Oh yeah, $30 bottles of wine? Not locked up. The logic is beyond me.

As luck would have it, after giving up on buying a toothbrush and just about everything else, it was the Assistant Manager who totaled everything up at the register. I asked him what was up with all the enforcement because in reality, the majority of their losses come from the employees, not from the customers. Here are some random stats that our data master, Google allowed me to see. As you can see, 64% of store loss comes from employee theft and incompetence (which they’ve kindly called administrative error.) About 5% is the vendors screwing the stores. And then there’s that 30% of customer theft. If memory serves, that is actually a bit high and I’ve seen it totaled that customer theft is just 5% of total loss.

I pointed this out to the manager and that it was ridiculous to treat every customer who comes in the door as a potential thief. He replied that at that store they lose about $400 a day in theft and it makes up 3% of their loss. That was screwy as it meant that they make over $13,000 a day at that store. I’m not sure if he meant to say that customer theft was 30% of their losses and it was $4,000 a day. Or, he could have just been making up things as he went since he didn’t give a damn and if I wanted deodorant, I would have to go through him to get it.

Moral of the story, don’t buy from the Bush Street Walgreens! Take your business elsewhere. Maybe to Cala or even just to some other Walgreens that doesn’t lock up everything. And a word to the thieves out there, start hitting up the Walgreens in the Financial District and SOMA since they don’t lock anything up yet. Or just keep going to the Bust Street location while the rest of us shop elsewhere so that this store just dies.