CVS Slammed for Locking Up Even More Items—They've "Gone Too Far"
Some shoppers say they'll now go elsewhere because of the inconvenience.
When we go to drugstore chains like CVS, we're looking for convenience. Whether we need to pick up a prescription or grab a late-night snack, CVS is, generally speaking, a reliable destination. But customers have noticed more and more impediments to their shopping experience, as anti-theft measures have led to everyday essentials getting locked up. Now, CVS is once again under fire thanks to a new viral video showing ramped-up security. Read on to find out why one customer says the retailer has "gone too far."
Retailers have been facing backlash over anti-theft measures.
Shoplifting has been a hot topic over the past few years. The National Retail Federation (NRF) reported in 2022 that loss from retail theft had amounted to a nearly $100 billion problem, as the average retailer experienced a 26.5 increase in organized retail crime (ORC).
To combat this, major retailers like Walmart, CVS, Walgreens, and Home Depot have been implementing different anti-theft measures in stores—the most notable being the decision to lock up certain products so that shoppers are required to ask an employee for help to take them off of shelves.
Viral videos from CVS stores have shown everything from shampoo and conditioner to soda bottles being kept behind locked cases. This follows Ben Dugan, director of organized retail crime and corporate investigations at CVS Health, saying at a Nov. 2021 Senate hearing that the company loses more than $200 million each year due to ORC.
Despite this, shoppers have repeatedly expressed frustration with locked-up products at CVS stores. And now, the backlash is growing.
CVS is getting slammed for keeping candy locked up.
New York-based comedian Ryan Kristopik spoke out against the company's ongoing anti-theft measures in a Feb. 2023 TikTok video—which has since gone viral, racking up more than 33,300 likes in just over a month. In the TikTok, Kristopik slammed CVS for locking up one product in particular.
"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."
In the video, Kristopik held up a bag of Werther's Original Soft Caramel Chewy Candy—which costs just $3.49, according to its listing on the CVS website.
"Since when are soft caramels a controlled substance in the United States of America?" Kristopik said.
Other shoppers have noticed candy locked up at CVS stores.
Kristopik is not the only one who has been greeted with caged candy at CVS. Last year, a Twitter user revealed that she had experienced the same thing at a location in Virginia.
"I go to the CVS near my job, they have the gummy candies all locked up," she tweeted. "We gotta lock the candies up too?!?! I mean that [expletive] is $4-5 for a bag."
Another user tweeted that this is happening in Philadelphia, too: "I hate being in Philly. CVS really got the candy locked up."
One customer noted that these locked-up products have made shopping "increasingly insufferable" at stores like CVS. "Candy locked up in plastic cells, one cashier working, un-stocked travel size toiletries, endless lines for self checkout… the joy of shopping is now a distant memory that will soon become myth," they tweeted.
Best Life reached out to CVS about customer complaints over locked-up candy, but has not yet heard back.
Some customers say they'll shop elsewhere from now on.
This is not simply a minor inconvenience that customers are willing to overlook. In fact, many shoppers say increasing anti-theft measures (like locking up candy) are pushing them to not buy things in stores like CVS at all anymore.
"If something is locked, half the time I just go home and buy it on Amazon," one person wrote in response to Kristopik's video. "I go to CVS to disassociate, not to tell a stranger what shampoo I use."
Others chimed in to agree with this sentiment in the comment section of the viral TikTok. "I hope they realize how much $$$ they are losing doing this. I refuse," one user wrote.
Another replied, "I just stopped going. They lost my business, I don't have time to call someone over every time I want an item."