A CVS pharmacy in Washington DC was forced to replace almost all of its inventory with photos to combat rampant shoplifting.
Framed images of items like toilet paper and kitchen towels replace the original, according to images shared with Xwhile customers have to press a button to request staff to collect the products from the warehouse.
“Is this how we live in America now?” asked conservative commentator Joey Mannarino, who shared the images. “This is the Third World!”
The pharmacy’s dystopian move comes just weeks after a CVS store in DC was ransacked by up to fifty teenage looters who routinely raid the store and plunder its shelves.
Amid the shoplifting crisis, CVS is joining rival drugstore chains Rite Aid and Walgreens in closing more than 1,500 combined stores in the coming months.
Framed images of goods like toilet paper and paper towels have replaced actual items on the shelves of a Washington, D.C., pharmacy
Customers must press a button to request staff to retrieve the products from the warehouse – a dystopian attempt to combat rampant shoplifting
Mannarino said in his post that while American pharmacies may resemble the “third world,” he had a very different experience on a recent trip to Spain.
Comparing the empty shelves at CVS, he said, “I was in Barcelona, Spain a few months ago and I saw Mac laptops sitting in the middle of the store.”
The commenter also shared an image of a display full of MacBooks outdoors and asked, “What did America do wrong?”
CVS has announced it will close 900 stores in the U.S. due to the shoplifting crime wave, which is costing the industry $112 billion a year, according to the National Retail Federation.
Mannarino included a picture he took during a trip to Spain, drawing a comparison between MacBook laptops left outdoors and America’s strict shoplifting barriers
CVS said the decision to close 900 locations, about 10 percent of all stores, by the end of 2024 is part of its strategy to move much of its business online and keep potential thieves out.
The strategy was spurred by a series of troubling incidents, including the fatal shooting of CVS store manager Michael Jacobs, 49, in September by an accused shoplifter in Arizona.
And routine looting at a CVS store in Washington DC revealed shocking images of entire shelves being cleared by gangs of children who reportedly attack the store every day.
“When you walk into this CVS, you think the store is closing because there’s hardly anything on the shelves,” Fox 5 reporter Sierra Fox told viewers.
She added that only a single security guard was stationed at the time, no match for the dozens of lawless teenagers.
“I asked an employee what was stolen most often and he just laughed and said anything,” Fox continued.
“A large group of children, around 45 or more, come by before school, after school and late at night to steal chips and drinks.”
“They even throw the food and drinks on the floor and trample on them, leaving a big mess behind.”
Abandoned shelves greet visitors to DC’s CVS, which is routinely cleaned out by shoplifting kids on their way to or from school
Entire areas of the store were cleared of products by shoplifters
It took an ice shell to keep the teenagers from snatching up these sad-looking waffles
Jared Stevey, 38, left, is charged with the shooting death of CVS store manager Michael Jacobs (pictured right with his wife Stacey and children).
Due to routine shoplifting across the country, data is available from CapitalOne Research It was estimated that stores had suffered $86.6 billion in losses due to retail theft in 2022, and it was predicted that retail theft could cost stores over $115 billion by 2025.
Analysts at UBS have also predicted that at least 50,000 stores in the U.S. will close in the next five years due to an increase in thefts coupled with the shift to online shopping.
The shoplifting crisis has hit pharmacies across the country, and rival franchise Rite Aid said it will also close 150 of its 2,100 stores in the United States.
The pharmacy chain filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy this month as it lost millions in stolen goods and struggled to resolve hundreds of lawsuits accusing it of complicity in the opioid crisis.
Walgreens also plans to close 150 stores by summer 2024, citing significantly lower corporate revenue.
In addition to rampant shoplifting, the drugstore suffered a loss of profits due to falling demand for Covid tests and vaccines.
Employees at more than 500 of Walgreens’ 9,000 stores nationwide went on strike Oct. 9-11, saying they quit because of deteriorating working conditions that are endangering employees and patients.
The problem is far from limited to pharmacies, however, as Target blames shoplifters for its decision last month to close nine stores in the crime-ridden cities of Oakland, New York, Seattle, San Francisco and Portland.
“We know our stores play an important role in their communities, but we can only thrive when the work and shopping environment is safe for everyone,” the company said in a statement.
With a large number of pharmacies set to close in the near future, millions of Americans will be left in “pharmacy deserts” and without ready access to medications, it says JAMA Network.
“We estimate that about one in four neighborhoods across the country is a pharmacy desert,” said Dima Qato, an associate professor at the University of Southern California The Washington Post.
“These closures disproportionately impact communities that need pharmacies most.”
TelePharma healthcare company, said solutions to pharmacy deserts include prescription delivery, mail order, prescription drug lockers, telepharmacy and doctor drop-offs.