On Wednesday February 5, 2014, CVS Caremark made an announcement.
It revealed its intention to no longer sell tobacco products in any stores.
The company wants to move away from bring a drugstore.
It wants to become a health services supplier.
The company claims tobacco products have no business being in the same place that health care services are being delivered.
That’s just wonderful.
Some people think it will hurt the bottom line.
Others think it’s simply a PR stunt.
I think it’s total bullshit.
There is just as much shelf space dedicated to candy as there is tobacco products, maybe even more.
Now, if the brass at CVS Caremark are going to claim that they are moving toward being a health care services provider rather than a “sell a bunch of different products” drugstore then they are either stupid or ignorant.
Or, they are just trying to be strategic in their “caring stance” since the cigarettes they sell are low-margin products.
Let’s face it, this country is known more for being a nation of consumption and excess than anything right now.
And that image isn’t helped by the alarming childhood obesity rates we have going on (as well as adolescents and adults).
Now, if a company is going to transition into the health care services sector, wouldn’t you think that their stance on tobacco products should apply to candy and other junk food that is sold too?
In fact, if you think about it, the most prominent place in the store–right in front of the registers where almost every customer spends the most amount of time–is reserved for, you guessed it, candy!
How the hell does that make any sense?
I guess since candy carries higher margins, it’s ok to continue selling those products even though they are contributors to obesity, diabetes, oral health issues, and numerous other health issues when not controlled.
Surprisingly enough, they don’t put the teeth whitening products and next to the tobacco products, but that’s an issue for the product staging and marketing people to handle.
Anyway, it just seems like a promotional stunt to get the company into the spotlight and some more people into their stores because of this “socially conscious” decision.
I still think unless they remove all of the candy and junk food in the snack isle (particularly the company’s own private label) then this is just an empty gesture.
I mean, what business does candy and other unhealthy snacks/foods have being sold by a “health care services” company (pretty much the company’s own words!)?
All it is, really, is an attempt to put a positive spin on the decision to eliminate a loss-leader.
After all, it sounds much better to say “We’re doing away with tobacco products because we want people to be healthy” as opposed to”Tobacco products at retail aren’t profitable so we’re getting rid of them”.