You'd imagine an iron supplement would be a simple purchase. But, we've also thought it would be easy to locate a half dozen other items, too. My wife reminds me that these stores only carry the items that sell to 80 percent of customers. Anything in the unlucky 20 percent is a special order. Apparently, I'm in the 20 percent.
A few months ago, I couldn't fill a prescription meant to reduce my blood loss. It was a "special order" that never arrived. Walmart called twice to apologize. I never did fill the prescription.
Friday, the only local store with the over-the-counter iron I take was Kmart. Not even the two "drugstores" carry the iron pills. We will probably order online in the future.
The old corner drugstore is a memory in most places. I remember going to the small drugstores as a child. One even had a soda fountain. There was Ivanhoe Drug, in our little community of 1400 people. In the "big city" we had Main Drug, Roy's Drugstore, and several Thrifty stores. My grandparents always shopped at Main Drug, but it fell victim to the national chains and warehouse stores.
Main Drug was primarily a drug store. Yes, there was a soda fountain, but you didn't go to Main Drug to buy clothes or groceries. You went to fill a prescription, buy cough syrup, or get the best milkshake on Main Street.
Today there are chains, often across from each other, and near discount stores and grocers with pharmacies. We have five choices between two traffic lights, each a national chain.
The two drugstores in our township carry more snack food and toys than medicines. Good luck finding my eye cleanser or my iron pills. But they have plenty of chips and cola. Walgreens, RiteAid, CVS, or whatever it is, they all seem identical, from their angled entrances to the giant candy isles and "As Seen on TV" whatchamacallits at the end caps.
The grocer has a small pharmacy and health care area. It seems to be dedicated to cold and allergy relief.
Walmart and Kmart have the best pharmacies. That's disappointing, but at least you can browse and shop while filling a prescription. Since few people shop at Kmart, you don't have to wait long. Still, their registers (not the clerks) will slow your exit. Kmart needs a new POS system.
The search for iron reminded me how lousy the health supplies and service are at most store pharmacies. We had so many issues with Target pharmacies in Minnesota that I vowed never to use them again. Target lost prescriptions, filled them incorrectly, and made a general mess of things. Not one store, either, but three different Target stores.
With so many choices, you'd want to believe one or two might be useful.