I’m officially boycotting Walgreens.
I’ve never suffered fools gladly and have near-zero tolerance for blatant stupidity. You’d think, being in politics that I’d be used to it by now. I’m not. Here’s the deal …
On my first-born’s 14th birthday, Kristen wanted to go to this place in Los Angeles called “The Last Bookstore,” which is supposed to be just the coolest used bookstore ever (it is). We laid up in West Hollywood — because I can’t afford Beverly Hills — had a great birthday dinner, and then drove to downtown Los Angeles after rush hour was over.
We found the bookstore easily enough, only to discover it didn’t have a restroom. And, well, girls being girls, one was required (they never seem to “go” before we go). However, the helpful clerk at the front desk advised that the Walgreens a block up the street did.
So off we went to take care of business. Only …
The restroom was a pay toilet. Not the kind of pay toilet of old where you had to scramble around looking for dimes or quarters. No, to gain access here, the store manager informed us, we had to buy something.
But I didn’t need anything. Nor did I want anything. My daughter just had to heed nature’s call.
Tough luck, the manager said. If you don’t show me a receipt showing you bought something, I’m not unlocking the door.
As there was now steam coming out of my ears, a bottle of water for a buck seemed an appropriate purchase. But here’s the thing …
I understand that Walgreens is a drug store and not a public restroom. And I understand it doesn’t want downtown homeless bums making themselves at home in its johns rather than taking care of business in the alley like they usually do. However …
I’ve already bought a ton of stuff from Walgreens. And in all of my other visits and purchases at Walgreens — for which I had plenty of receipts at home — I’ve never once used any of their restrooms. So if pay-to-pee is the name of the game, it owes me.
That said, it’s its store and it can set whatever restroom policy it chooses. On the other hand — and this is the great thing about the free market — I can protest such a stupid, anti-customer policy by shopping elsewhere.
Yep, it got me.
I had no choice but to spend that $1 on a bottle of water I didn’t want. But that’s the last $1 Walgreens will get from me. Because of their penny-wise-pound-foolish policy, Walgreens will now lose the hundreds, if not thousands of dollars I would have otherwise spent with it in the months and years to come.
For want of a nail.
Chuck Muth is president of Citizen Outreach, a conservative grass-roots advocacy organization. He can be reached at www.muthstruths.com.