June 22, 2009
CVS Criticized for Condom Lockup in Communities of Color
Change to Win, a coalition of labor unions, believes that CVS’s practice of locking up condoms at certain stores—commonly in communities of color—creates a barrier to access for young people who are less likely to ask a store associate for them, The Tennessean reports. The group asserts that CVS’s anti-theft policy puts those communities at risk for unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.
By surveying more than 2,200 CVS drug stores nationwide, the labor group found that, in nine of the 19 markets where prophylactics are kept under lock and key, the company was at least three times more likely to lock up condoms in communities of color than in predominantly white neighborhoods.
“We do know from studies that free access to condoms cuts down on sexually transmitted infections,” said Neerav Desai, MD, assistant professor of pediatrics at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt University in Nashville. “For someone that has any hesitation about use, this could be another reason for them not to use condoms.”
CVS says that the practice is done solely to deter shoplifting and that stores where the condoms are locked up also have some available in the open.
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comments 1 - 15 (of 23 total) next
Linda, Baltimore, 2009-08-12 20:01:23
I want to add to my last post. when people take it upon their self to go into a business and steal, the business takes a loss for the moment. but then they raise the prices on things to make up their losses, now who pays for this? the customer who didnt steal, is now paying for the theft. punishment is given to the ones who do the right thing.thanks thieves for making life harder for everyone else.
Angela, , 2009-07-13 02:47:51
I work in an inner city emergency room. We have to lock everything down or it is stolen. Forget equipment in a room? It is gone. This has nothing to do with race or poverty level, it is strictly loss prevention. Shame on Change to Win for trying to turn this into something it is not.
Linda, , 2009-06-25 17:11:12
in my opinion if these stores are getting thigs stolen alot then lock up what you need to lock up. the health department and doctors offices give out free condoms. CVS (or which ever store it happens to be) they pay for all their products so why should they take a loss because of theft? they shouldnt.
MLR, Trenton, 2009-06-25 14:57:15
“We do know from studies that free access to condoms cuts down on sexually transmitted infections"... CVS is not in the "FREE access business" .. they pay for the condoms and if they have to lock them up because people who think they should have "FREE access" to them can't figure out they have to pay for them at CVS... oh well.. too bad.
Kurious2no, Washington, DC, 2009-06-25 14:33:52
This is really more about class than race. I have lived in a lower middle class to poor black neighborhood for 23 years and our CVS locks up condoms along with many other items. I have seen with my own eyes, the shoplifting that occurs. When in a middle to upper class black neighborhood, things are not locked up. So it appears that race is not the issue. Shoplifting is the issue and it hurts everyone in the community.
PAW, Massachusetts, 2009-06-25 13:45:50
I agree with the majority of those already posted. I know in Mass. there are free condoms everywhere. Besides, stores have the right to lock up anything they want to lock up - they already paid for it! Stealing only drives up prices on everything else. It's a survival issue, not a racial issue. Don't make it one. I also agree that CTW, along with many other "whiner" groups, should all put their money where their mouths are and supply freebies to ALL communities because ALL people need them.
RiMD, Massachusetts, 2009-06-25 10:43:25
I think they have every right to lock up any items that are prone to being stolen.
If people in "The Communities of Color" didn't steal anything that wasn't bolted down CVS would not have to put this policy into place. More people should take responsibility and realize that the actions CVS or any other store has to take regarding theft is a direct result of whats being done in any given community. If they hadn't stolen in the first place there would be no issue.
Tom, Tucson, 2009-06-25 08:23:56
I think this is wrong. I know for a fact, for my self that is, If condoms were locked up I wouldn't ask for them. I am just the shy to ask for something like this. I can't even talk to my doc. about condoms. let alone ask a store clerk for a box of them. I think they should have to take it down. and then have to stand outside and educate people on HIV/AIDS and hand out free condoms to the public.
Retail Worker, Pittsburgh, 2009-06-24 18:02:37
Adding to my earlier comment-I visited 1 of our stores in Chicago & needed a mgr to unlock just about every item on the shelf because it was a high theft area. Even shower gel was locked. We even have people who open pregnancy tests to use them in our store bathrooms. Locking items is done to protect the store from theft. A thief is a thief no matter what color.
Shawn, SFV, 2009-06-24 11:10:14
If someone is too scared to ask for a condom, maybe they shouldn't be having sex. They obviously aren't too scared to steal them and risk being arrested. If they want free ones, they can go to a public health center. I suppose if CVS starts putting security devices on condoms that would be racist too?
Retail Worker, Pittsburgh, 2009-06-23 23:24:59
I work in a chain store similar to CVS. We lock up certain items based on retail theft stats for certain towns. It has nothing at all to do with race. Our particular store does not lock up condoms, but we do lock up specific OTC meds such as Prilosec after we lost about 30 boxes within a two week time period. We also lock up disposable razor blades.
Condoms are the mos stolen item chain-wide for our store. THIS is why they are locked up in some stores. Not because of a person's skin color.
Lou, NYC, 2009-06-23 22:21:51
If we are ever going to really get to the post-racial community that President Obama's election promised, then we have to stop using race as an excuse. CVS locks up condoms and other valuable items in all "high loss" stores (where theft is very high). To label a company racist for trying to protect its assets serves no positive purpose. Change to win should spend its resources to make free condoms available instead of surveying CVS stores.
Mike Arnold, Nicholasville KY, 2009-06-23 21:04:17
I have no issues with locking condoms as a loss prevention strategy. Not sure about other states but in KY you can get free condoms at any health department and from most HIV service organizations. As for the condoms being more likely to be locked up in communities of color, has anyone stopped to think that it is not a race issue but an issue that they are located in areas with more of a shoplifting problem. Stealing is wrong plain and simple.
LEverett, Orlando, Fl., 2009-06-23 20:16:22
So when is personal responsibility going to factor in? 'Change to Win' doesn't sound like change, but rather the same old tired hot whiners of racism, when the real issue is securing the store's property for sale. Put your money where Your mouth is CTW, and you do the give-aways instead of endorsing theft! Let CVS run their business and let the Shoplifters cry behind bars.
John, Washinton, DC, 2009-06-23 18:04:33
comments 1 - 15 (of 23 total) next
The weight loss drug "Alli" is locked up in CVS Pharmacies near me. Are we going to blame CVS for the spiraling obesity epidemic? As a minority I am insulted when people try to make racial issues where there isn't one. It truly diminishes the word when there is a real racial issue going on.
And you bleeding heart pinkos here at POZ think CVS is being racist b/c they don't want their stuff stolen. Right....
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