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Sunday, July 8, 2012

And like a bad neighbor, Walgreen's is there

We've always had a vaguely bad feeling about Walgreen's. It seems like a place that exploits poor people. That's terribly unfair -- it's no different from so many other large corporations. But we always get that nagging impression.

But then we read this, including their playing the "serving the sick" card, and we think, "Screw that place; we'll never shop in a Walgreen's again."

Comments (18)

I never liked them either and prefer Rite-Aid, hands down.

I have to admit that not once from any of my wife's or my surgeries or other health problems have we biked or walked to Walgreens for our prescriptions. Going by car was very convenient and necessary.

Let's bring some common sense into the equation. Just yesterday we took a 87 year old friend by car to Fred Meyer for his prescription. He uses a walker, and had to present his prescriptions and all the other identity cards. Please don't ask this Parkinson patient to walk or ride his bike the 3 miles. I'm getting tired of a minority dictating either another minority or majority to walk or peddle. Is Sam going to call this Equity or "only fair"?

Why doesn't the neighborhood band together, create a cooperative pharmacy, that has only a storefront, a bike rack, and an "ride through" prescription window?

Of course, that would require them to actually THINK for themselves and solve their own problems. They'd rather someone else solve the problems, but ONLY on their terms (and without regard for anyone else but themselves).

I'm not a huge Walgreens fan (wife used to work for them) but nevertheless it seems they're looking out to serve customers of all types, including those who actually drive (like over 80% of Portland area trips are made). Maybe since I am a bus rider, I should demand Walgreens provide service directly to my bus so that I don't have to disrupt my commute...maybe Walgreens come up with special vehicles that dock to my bus (while in motion) so I can take care of my prescription needs at speed?) Just think if there were businesses like that, how many more people would ride the bus...

Kind of a coincidence really. I was in that Walgreens the other night and I channeled some of my old cable access partner's sense of humor on them. James Shibley died almost 4 years ago at age 39 - sob - and he was a comedy star. He had this bag style of humor that I really miss. Here's how it went:

I'm at the checkout and the place is a wreck. Floors stripped to the concrete, plastic sheets up and junk everywhere with around 10 workers doing things. So I told the Walgreens employee, "This place is beat to sh*t. You should think about remodeling it."

And that is a James Shibley-style line.

The neighborhood association playing the traffic disruption and late night noise card 50 feet from Peacock Lane is priceless.

There are three Walgreen stores about the same distance from our home. My wife and I have noticed that each Walgreen’s store seems to have it's own personality. We think it has a lot to do with the store manager and how the manager treats the employees. Out of the three, there is one we choose not to patronize. The employees at that store seems to be rude, disinterested and somewhat incompetent.

One good thing I do like about Walgreens... some of them are open 24hrs if you need it.

It is very hard to complain about a business that is doing things legally. Walgreens knows what it's customers want and he city obviously agreed to their plan. Why get mad at Walgreens? Their customers come from the same neighborhood and will be using the drive thru so blame them. Or the city. Or change the zoning in the area. Businesses need to make a profit or they won't exist for the drivers or anyone else.

With the increase of mixed-use development, those living in the city will have an increasingly difficult time getting away from commercial districts, so I expect more of this type of conflict in the future. Livability is having access to these businesses, but it is also being protected from them. We will never go back to the mom-and-pop pharmacy on the corner that was part of the 20-minute neighborhood of the last century, nor will small, neighborhood-friendly grocery stores reappear. The auto-culture may have created big box stores, but they are an economic necessity now. I wonder how the planners plan to deal with that?

I never liked them either and prefer Rite-Aid, hands down.

Ask the hundreds of former employees who worked for Rite Aid (aka Payless Drugs) what they think of them. Also, the former ceo went to jail for cooking the books. I'll take Walgreens any day.

Boycott Rite Aid!

Just a few blocks up the road from our place, CoPo let the Castle sex-store chain set up shop, much to the outrage of various neighborhood groups. It was there for a number of years, but has now been razed and an entirely new building's going up. It's going to be a Walgreens. And I haven't heard a word of complaint.

Hey, things could be worse for Walgreens.

I lived on the panhandle to GG Park during the 80s and early 90s before moving up here. Once, in the middle of the night, I awoke to screeching fire engines (10-alarms) heading to Haight Street, where a huge fire could be seen over the trees in the panhandle. The Haight-Ashbury neighborhood had been trying to prevent Long's Drugs from moving into a vacant, corner lot. There was already an independent drug store that had been on Haight Street forever, which, of course, would have been put out of business, and the neighborhood did not want ANY large chain store moving into the neighborhood, period.

Well, Long's ultimately got their permit from the City and began construction of the new building. The building was almost finished and someone decided to torch it (actually, the timing was probably predetermined). Unfortunately, they used a little too much accelerant. The fronts of the shops across Haight Street were charred and huge, plastic signs melted, and the corner building facing Haight but across the side street from the fire (I believe it was a building that held the admin office for the Haight-Ashbury Free Clinics) was also badly charred.

The people living in a three-flat Vic on the side street behind the Haight-Ashbury Free Clinics building were displaced when it caught fire, too. One of the families had just brought home a newborn. Luckily, no one was hurt or killed.

Long's got the message, and abandoned their Haight Street plans. The corner lot eventually became a new Goodwill store, which was more in line with the values of Haight-Ashbury. Of course, I should hasten to add that I don’t think the neighborhood at large sanctioned putting lives at risk through anarchy as a problem solving mechanism, but, as we’ve also seen in Portland and elsewhere, there are always some sadly misguided extremists willing to stupidly and recklessly go the extra mile.

As far as I know, they still don't know who did it.

Peacock Lane is once a year, for a couple of weeks. The drive through is 24/7, 365, with loudspeakers and industrial grade lighting. Walgreens rammed this through, over neighborhood objections, opposite residential that will never know darkness or peace as long as that thing is there. The Walgreens people respond to every letter with sweet corporatese that translates to "FU".

The Pharmacists organization targets drive-throughs as causing speed-ups and distractions that make mistakes more likely.

Also, this is auto-oriented development in an area zoned for transit and pedestrian orientation.

Urge all to patronize Bi-Mart Pharmacy, which is employee-owned and rated tops in the nation by Consumer Reports. The Woodstock location has a walk-up window, with no loudspeakers and no industrial lighting and normal neighborhood hours.

...and another thing. Write the legislature in support of the Pharmacists' organization and their proposals that would give their people the proper environment to do their job properly. Health care should not be anyone's profit center for squeezing pennies out by pushing sloppy care.

They did bring up one very valid point:

Drive throughs help the handicapped!

City planners are usually too ignorant to realize that a lot of handicapped people drive cars- even those in wheel chairs. (There is a purpose for those handicapped zones!)

Drive throughs let the handicapped fulfill some of their needs without the hassle of getting out of their car and walking, limping or wheeling inside the store.

I have often thought that discriminating against drive throughs is discriminating against the handicapped!


I thought the handicapped spots were to make everyone feel good about themselves. I rarely actually see a car parked in one, to the point that I have started to remark upon it when I see it these days.

(or wish I had my own placard for those hot days when I don't want to walk so far.)

Once you are in your car, would it really be that much trouble to go to a drive-through sited on an auto-oriented street, opposite commercial property? You all are talking as if protecting the residential adjacent this one Walgreens means that nobody will have access to a drive-through pharmacy. Nuts. This renders the residential behind the library unlivable for absolutely no good reason. And renders the transit and pedestrian plan chosen and re-affirmed by the neighborhood for this area for decades completely worthless.

There were a lot of the same concerns about the Walgreen's in Sandy before it was built. The city made them resite the drive-through to lessen the impact to the neighbors as well as add "Sandy style" design elements and a covered bus stop. I admit, I was initially one of the detractors, but since it's been built, it hasn't been a nuisance at all. I used to live in the vicinity and a friend lives directly behind it.

That said, I have to add that this is not a 24 hour facility. I imagine that could be annoying. Especially if the drive-up isn't situated properly.

dyspeptic: Once you are in your car, would it really be that much trouble to go to a drive-through sited on an auto-oriented street, opposite commercial property?
JK: Now you are asking people, including the handicapped, to drive further and make some other neighborhood “unlivable”.

dyspeptic: This renders the residential behind the library unlivable for absolutely no good reason.
JK: Why not advocate for putting the drive thru on the Belmont side?

dyspeptic: And renders the transit and pedestrian plan chosen and re-affirmed by the neighborhood for this area for decades completely worthless.
JK: Transit plan?? Why do you want to waste money, energy and people’s time using transit? Cars are cheaper, faster and the new ones use less energy than transit. See:

Further, who chose and re-affirmed the plan? Was there a vote of EVERY resident, or only a small cadre of neighborhood zealots, probably being led by the nose by a gaggle of city planners? (Ever notice that when real people have a chance, they overwhelmingly reject most stuff from the planners?)



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