This past weekend, my wife and I did something that we've talked about doing for years: taking what ended up being a 26 mile bike ride. We have a good trail system around, and the end of one of the trails takes you all the way up to a nearby city. We've taken the trail a number of times, but have always turned around. We thought we'd finally give it a shot, so off we went.
It's a pretty easy ride in terms of being on flat ground that's covered in gravel (it's a converted railroad bed), but it still felt good when we pulled into town. I'm not normally one to undo the benefits of exercise with treats, but given that it was our first time, we thought we might wander into a nearby CVS and get a small treat.
We both love ice cream so we first wandered over to the freezers to look at their single serve ice cream treats. I thought I was reading things incorrectly when an ice cream sandwich was $3.29.
Nope. It was right.
A frozen Twix? $2.99 as were most items. The cheapest item, an ice cream sandwich type thing was $1.99. Yikes.
No ice cream.
I started looking around the store, and I was unable to believe my eyes at the prices of things.
I don't do much shopping in drugstores, but the everyday price of just about…everything…was crazy.
9 volt batteries for over $2.
Individual candy bars for $1.25.
A ten ounce bag of potato chips for $4.
At this point, I wasn't looking to actually buy, I just wanted to see the prices.
The calamine lotion test
I decided to check things out from another recent experience that kind of acted as a trigger. A few weeks ago, my son got bit up really bad by mosquitoes. They like me, but they love him. He probably had 50-60 bites on his legs and was complaining about itching.
Given that it was around bedtime, my wife ran out to the nearest store, which happened to be a Walgreens, and brought back a bottle (6 ounces) for $5.69. I thought that seemed high, but whatever.
My wife mentioned it to her sister, who said that she had also gotten some that week, but had purchased hers at WalMart…and it was $2.19.
So, while my wife and I were walking around CVS, I figured I'd see what their price was, if they were also 250% or so higher.
As it turns out, they weren't. They were over 300% higher.
Their price was $6.99.
My jaw just about hit the floor.
We ended up escaping with what I think was the cheapest items sold in the store, a couple of bags of generic gummy bears/worms.
On my way out, I noticed the area behind the counter that used to house cigarettes, which they just discontinued selling last week. One of the things always mentioned since CVS announced this decision to stop selling smokes, is that they made over $1 billion in profit from them.
I commented to my wife that they must have decided to look to make up the lost profits by jacking up the prices of everything else.
I suppose there probably are deals to be found in drugstores, but my guess is that you have to take advantage of sales and coupons to actually walk away with any type of savings. But if you pay full price at the drugstore, prepare to be gouged.