The hypocrisy of pharmacies selling cigarettes at the very register where customers can also buy their asthma and high blood pressure medications isn’t lost on many, and certainly calls in to question claims of being a health care partner and advocate. So in that vein, maybe it’s not so far-fetched that Walgreens is peddling junk food to kids.
Last weekend I made a quick pit-stop at Walgreens to grab a number five candle for my niece’s birthday party. I overheard the cashier ask the customer in front of me, “Would you like to donate a dollar to put a bag of Doritos in our backpack program?”. I shook out of my daze, certain I’d misunderstood. The customer agreed and the cashier moved a bag of Doritos from the display pile on her left to the donated pile behind the counter on her right. When I was asked, I politely declined.
Right on the counter was a huge yellow sticker promoting the drug store’s “School Supply Drive,” with pictures of pens, markers, scissors, and glue. It explained that 100% of my donation would go to the Kids in Need Foundation and help outfit at-need kids for their trips back to school. Had I been asked to give a dollar toward this, I’d have probably given two. Had I been asked to give a piece of fruit, a jar of peanut butter, maybe a box of cereal, I’d have said yes. But I absolutely will not spend a dollar to give any kid a bag of Los Tacos or Nacho Cheese Doritos.
I called back later and asked to speak to a manager, and Jennifer explained the Doritos promotion was exclusive to her store in Moore, Oklahoma and not part of the national donation drive, which is actually putting much needed school supplies in the hands of needy kids. Jennifer then said the store approached their regional food bank with an offer for the donated Doritos, to which, according to her, the bank said “great, awesome.”
Those bags of Doritos customers believe are going to fill backpacks for children? They aren’t going to make it that far. (more…)
At the Biggest Loser 7 finale, a fit and trim Filipe Fa walked out on stage next to his teammate and cousin Sione Fa and performed a rousing Maori Haka, a traditional war dance from their native Tonga. Filipe made it through 17 grueling weeks on the infamous ranch, ultimately sweating and beating 135 pounds off his frame. But the ranch and home are two very different places, and the years since Loser have put Filipe back where he started.
“In the last few years, Filipe’s put the weight, plus some, back on,” said his cousin Sione Fa, who is now a personal trainer at the Biggest Loser Resort in Ivins, Utah. Since his finale, Filipe has gained 155 pounds, twenty pounds more than he’d originally lost.
“It’s difficult to admit,” Filipe told us. “But it’s not that you can’t see it!” He’s hung back from alumni events like finales and given up speaking opportunities because he felt “embarrassed, inadequate.” He explained that nothing tragic happened, he gained weight like a lot of people do. First, it was 10 or 15 pounds and you think you’re OK, and then he explained the days turn in to weeks, turn in to months, and you’re back at your starting weight..
“I feel like it’s my time to lose weight again,” Filipe told us, as he talked about his new partnership with Walgreens, the Biggest Loser Resort, and his trainer Sione.
Without the pressure of the cameras, Filipe visited the Resort last October with an attitude that he was ready to start over. Walgreens, an on-going sponsor of the Biggest Loser television show, got word of his efforts and wanted to help. With the cousins they launched a web series, so far with eight episodes, that captures Filipe’s personal journey back to health. (more…)
Today, Walgreens opened the doors to a “flagship” store in Chicago’s Loop neighborhood that touts healthier offerings, including made-to-order smoothies, self-serve frozen yogurt, sushi and juice bars, and a barista selling exclusive State & Randolph brand coffee.
While many Chicago residents are pleased to see the ubiquitous corner drug store expand its offerings to help them live a healthier lifestyle, some are also skeptical that retail giant will maintain a high standard of quality across all channels.
These new additions do not come as a surprise to frequent Walgreens customers who have seen fresh salads and groceries appear in stores across the U.S. The chain also offers blood pressure screenings, blood glucose and cholesterol screenings, free flu shots in low-income areas and has recently sponsored a number of national and local athletic events.
“I love when a store or brand expands its core business to healthy alternatives,” said Chicago resident and business owner Molly Lynch. “However, I think Walgreens is overextending itself by offering sushi. There are multiple reasons why sushi eaters (myself included) should be mindful when eating this delicious food. Health concerns abound and sushi should be served where it belongs: in sushi restaurants, preferably the ones that passed health codes.” (more…)
If you’ve ever tried to purchase a private health insurance plan, you’re probably familiar with the hoops you have to jump through in order to become insured. Between the litany of questions and the endless scrutiny of your medical records, buying an insurance plan can be extremely overwhelming.
According to the Chicago Tribune, the nation’s largest drugstore chain, Walgreen Co., is planning to start selling health insurance to customers this fall. The Tribune reported that “the Deerfield-based company will sell health insurance products with different price ranges and coverage levels from coast-to-coast through a private health insurance exchange.”
An unidentified spokesman from Walgreens said, “As always, we’re looking at a number of options in light of health care reform as we continue to seek ways to help our customers better navigate today’s health care system.”