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CVS Store Pulls Tide Pods Off Shelves—Will Others Follow?

One CVS location has made it a little harder to buy this popular detergent.

CVS is not just a drugstore, as any of us who have made a late-night CVS run know all too well. These stores offer everything from food to toiletries to beauty products, making them an ideal stop whether we have prescriptions to pick up or not. But shoppers at one CVS location are in for a slightly more inconvenient experience if they're looking for laundry detergent, as Tide Pods are being pulled from shelves. Read on to find out about this surprising move, and whether more CVS locations are likely to follow suit.

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One CVS store is taking Tide Pods off of shelves.

Tide Pods, a type of laundry detergent, for sale at Target

Certain CVS customers will have to go the extra mile to get their laundry supplies. The retailer's store in Delmar, New York, has just pulled Tide Pods and other detergent packets off of shelves, the Times Union reported on March 10.

According to the local newspaper, shoppers looking to purchase these products will have to request them from a worker first.

"Tide/Gain Pods have been temporarily moved to behind the front counter. Please see an employee for assistance with buying," reads a sign in the Delmar CVS on the shelves where these products would normally be located.

This has been done to prevent shoplifting.

The interior of a CVS pharmacy in Minnesota.

Shoppers at the Delmar CVS have lost the privilege of accessing Tide Pods and other detergent products directly because of a surge in shoplifting. A worker at the store told the Times Union that too many people were stealing the small laundry soap packs off the shelves.

According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), detergent is one of the top product categories often targeted by thieves.

"These items are optimal targets for offenders who want to minimize the time and effort required to commit crime (e.g., the availability/accessibility and removability of items), and minimize risk of negative consequences (i.e., concealability), while maximizing the benefits of any given offense (e.g., value, enjoyment and disposability of items)," the NRF explained in a 2022 report.

Best Life reached out to CVS about the detergent products being pulled from this location's shelves, and we will update this story with their response.

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Other CVS stores have implemented anti-theft measures.

Tubes of Colgate-Palmolives Colgate toothpaste are locked up to deter shoplifters in a store in New York

There are no reports to indicate that more CVS stores have pulled Tide Pods and other similar detergent products from shelves to prevent shoplifting. But other locations have implemented different anti-theft measures in response to a rise in retail theft.

During a Nov. 2021 Senate hearing, Ben Dugan, the director of organized retail crime and corporate investigations at CVS Health, said that the company had seen a 300 percent increase in retail theft from its stores since the start of the pandemic.

As a result, CVS stores throughout the U.S. have been locking up certain products—like detergent—behind plastic cases. And that's not all. One CVS store in New York City has also turned to using trained security dogs to stop shoplifting, the New York Post reported in Feb. 2023.

"It's effective so far," Kevin Ward, vice president of security for the organization testing this anti-theft measure at a local CVS, told the newspaper. "We've had a couple of people who were known shoplifters who saw the dog and walked out without stealing anything."

Some shoppers have grown tired of these security measures.


Retailers like CVS are trying to find the balance between protecting their products and turning away customers who are frustrated they have to jump through hoops to get what they need.

In Dec. 2022, Roger Evans, a shopper from Arizona, told Insider that he has stopped buying items like razors at CVS due to these new security measures—instead choosing to purchase from direct-to-consumer brands like Harry's and Dollar Shave Club.

"I always found it difficult to find a staff member to come unlock them," Evans told the news outlet. "The drug stores have been perpetually understaffed."

Shoppers have even taken to social media to share complaints about CVS and its anti-theft measures. "I hate those CVS that have everything locked up," one person tweeted on March 1. Another Twitter user had a similar grievance a few days later.

"I know shoplifting was up last year, but I also know half the merchandise at my local CVS is in locked cases now, and the store is understaffed, so effectively I can't buy deodorant, laundry detergent, or face wash," they tweeted on March 6. "Is this… how we do business now?"

Kali Coleman
Kali Coleman is a Senior Editor at Best Life. Her primary focus is covering news, where she often keeps readers informed on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and up-to-date on the latest retail closures. Read more
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