This week, we’re counting down the top five Haighteration stories of the year. Today, our second-biggest story of 2010!
We thought this was a light-hearted one about minor crime in the neighborhood.
We never meant it as a tutorial.
But judging by the top four search terms people used to find this story…
- “how to steal from walgreens”
- “stealing from walgreens”
- “steal from walgreens”
- “how to shoplift from walgreens”
…clearly there are some ill-intentioned Googlers out there.
Sorry, aspiring criminals — you won’t find any shoplifting tips in the post below. What you will find is our second-most popular story of the year.
Original post date: May 6, 2010
Earlier this week, while running an errand at our local Lower Haight Walgreens, we made a surprising discovery.
All of the toothpaste was locked up behind those protective plastic security shields. We had to push a button to get an employee to come unlock it for us, which is never not demoralizing.
Considering how common, cheap, and unsexy toothpaste is, we were perplexed.
The employee explained to us that before Walgreens started locking up the Colgate, shoplifters would practically clean the shelves out. The problem got so bad, they could barely keep it in stock. Which made us feel awful for those folks in the neighborhood so desperate for an oral refresh that they’d steal a $3 tube of toothpaste from the local ‘greens. But also got us thinking — what else are people stealing around here?
Here’s what we found.
Not having a uterus, we can’t really say whether the panic of possibly harboring an unexpected baby inside us would drive us to shoplift. However, we can say that these things are pretty pricey. (You know what’s not pricey? Condoms. Just saying.)
At over $20 a pop and with (relatively) high-end brand names like RoC, we’re guessing these are being stolen for their resale value. But we’d prefer to believe they’re being swiped by aging Lower Haight cougars too embarrassed to pay at the register.
Not all multivitamins, mind you — just Centrum. Sure this stuff is relatively expensive, so it’s probably being stolen and resold. Or do people just really, really want their vitamins?
Of course we don’t condone shoplifting, but if there’s one thing that infuriates us about shaving, it’s the ridiculous cost of razor cartridges. We’re looking at you, Gillette.
OK we’re not even really sure what this stuff is. Weight loss inducers? Metabolism speeder-uppers? Whatever it is, it’s expensive and people are stealing it. But we haven’t seen a lot of super-ripped meatheads trolling around the neighborhood recently, so we’re guessing there’s a black market for this stuff.
The fantasy? A young mother, having fallen on hard times, reluctantly makes the difficult choice to commit an act of petty theft so that her starving baby might live another day.
The reality? Baby formula has a high resale value.
Oh this is just cruel. If you’re embarrassed enough about your cold sores that you’d steal this stuff, the last thing you want to have broadcast over the Walgreens speakers is, “Assistance needed at the Herpecin aisle.” Haven’t you ever had a bad romance, Walgreens?
Lest you think all Walgreens are created equal, we stopped by another location in SOMA (at 4th and Townsend) to do a comparison. Know what we found?
Shelf after shelf of unlocked toothpaste.
Thus, we can only conclude that the Lower Haight has a problem with halitosis (and possibly oral herpes, and almost definitely poverty) that’s unique to our little slice of the city. It’s never haighteration’s goal to bum you out, but if ever there was a post to do so, this would probably be it.
Sorry — we’ll try to make tomorrow’s post fun. Promise.