​​​​CVS Store Replaces Products With Framed Photos in Radical Anti-Theft Measure

The location is one of many trying to prevent shoplifting by any means necessary.

Storing extra-strength cold medicine behind a locked barrier is one thing, but keeping skincare and body care essentials behind glass cages is another. While this new wave of anti-theft protection may seem like an exaggerated response to petty theft, financial security reports indicate that call buzzers and locked cases are just the tip of the iceberg of what customers can come to expect. Customers at one CVS location, for example, are facing a brand new anti-theft measure: framed photos instead of products on shelves.

RELATED: Ex-Lowe's Worker Issues Warning to Shoppers About Anti-Theft Measures.

While that specific development may be surprising, retailers fighting back against shoplifting is not. According to Capital One, stores "lost $112.1 billion to retail theft" in 2022 alone—but that's not all. The report also predicts that the number will rise to over $140 billion by 2025.

And prevention is easier than punishment, it turns out. Capital One reported that the average thief is caught "once out of every 100 incidents." With that in mind, big-name retailers are constantly implementing new forms of protection.

Drugstores like Walgreens are ramping up security with in-store personnel and locks and buzzers. Meanwhile, Target is taking a different approach and locking entire aisles in glass cages.

CVS was one of the first retailers to adopt the locked case policy. Since its conception, the protective measure hasn't sat well with shoppers, many of whom claim it's a huge inconvenience. But with shoplifting on the rise, CVS is being forced to get more creative with anti-theft protocols.

According to an Instagram post, a CVS in Washington, D.C. recently cleared its shelves, and is now using framed photos of products to showcase items for sale. If a customer wants to purchase the product, they must use the buzzer to call for a store clerk, who will then get it from the back room.

This specific location implemented the new measure for toilet paper and paper towel products only. The account didn't mention whether CVS has plans to roll out the new measure throughout the store, or if other stores in the area are following suit.

Earlier this year, New York-based comedian Ryan Kristopik poked fun at the company's radical anti-theft policies on TikTok. In the viral video, Kristopik slammed CVS for safe-guarding candy.

"The locked items at CVS have gone too far," he said. "Tonight, I wasn't trying to buy razors. I wasn't trying to buy baby formula. I had to page an employee to help me purchase Werther's Original."

"Since when are soft caramels a controlled substance in the United States of America?" Kristopik quipped.

Framed photos of merchandise and locked-up candy may be the most recent additions in CVS' ongoing attempt to reduce shoplifting—but chances are they won't be the last.

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Emily Weaver
Emily is a NYC-based freelance entertainment and lifestyle writer — though, she’ll never pass up the opportunity to talk about women’s health and sports (she thrives during the Olympics). Read more
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