Driving down Lyndale Avenue, radio station set to Jazz 88 FM, blaring a Latin version of “I Did It My Way.” Destination: Walgreens. The pit of human despair. The place where optimism and good health clasp hands and jump off the cliff, eyes closed, hoping for the best but knowing they’ll end up in the aisle with the support hose.
Old woman in wide wale corduroys with ice grips on her boots. Brought along her own garbage bag to stuff more purchases inside.
Always an angry-looking middle-aged woman in the photo department, confused by how to order her digital prints or how to make a photo album. And by the fact that no one is ever working at the photo department counter.
Mother/adult daughter duo who came just to browse the aisles.
Nervous men. Always nervous men. Not sure why. Nervous about buying condoms, make-up, medication? Nervous about the other clientele? Hard to say.
Old man or woman holding the Walgreens flier from the newspaper. Clutching it, actually. Reading the fine print. They are not going to get cheated on two-for-one Cadbury Eggs. Or hair spray. Or Bugles.
Very fancy woman in business attire, bags under her glassy eyes. She doesn’t believe she works this hard, makes this much money and still has to stop at Walgreens to get the cream she needs for… her rash.
Always someone with an insurance problem at the pharmacy check-out. Always someone sighing. Always someone saying, “I told them… I explained to them… I told the pharmacist when I called it in… But I called this in three days ago… But I’m dying… I can’t afford this… Isn’t there a generic?” And we, the People In Line, feel for them, because it all blows, but we also want to get our meds and go home and ther person mucking up the works becomes nothing more than an impediment to our progress back to the front of the store, past all the cheap Valentine’s Day candy, past the sad people waiting in the check-out lines to buy their gallons of milk and back out to the street. We know it’s not fair, the system sucks but, really, um, GET THE FUCK OUT OF OUR WAY!
An enormous woman buying groceries at the pharmacy check-out while grabbing handfuls of free peppermints offered to Snyder’s customers. The handwritten sign in magic marker proclaims, “Welcome Snyder’s Customers,” because Walgreens bought out Snyder’s and now, supposedly, all those Snyder’s customers will fall into line and troupe over to Walgreen’s like good, drug-gobbling lemmings. A more accurate sign? “Snyder’s Customers: We Hope You’ll Put Up With Us.” Maybe, “No Pharmacy Is Perfect, Might As Well Shop Here.”
There are terrific and terrifying combinations of products purchased at Walgreens.
Gummy bears and an enema
Calcium supplements, O Magazine, Koosh ball
Dog bone, nail polish, enormous Salted Nut Roll
Sugar free candy, Dinty Moore stew, birthday card
Crayons, epsom salts, appetite suppressant
Condoms, baby shower card, LifeSavers
Matches, eyeshadow, Advil
Snickers, M&Ms, feminine pads, jlo Live Luxe perfume
Sunglasses, personal lubricant, men’s dress knee high socks
Laundry detergent, Mucinex, Fritos
Cough medicine, jar of nacho cheese, can of Raid
9 prescriptions and 10 jumbo-sized Hershey bars
Bubble bath. Just bubble bath. Well, OK, throw this lighter in, too.
Always hard not to stand behind someone with such combos and say, “Ooh, someone’s gonna have a party.”