At the corner of “happy” and “healthy”

A couple nights ago I came home late from work and stopped to get pizza for dinner. It had been a rough day so I decided to get some dessert from the Walgreens next to the pizza place.

I had not shopped in this store for months because the pharmacists there had refused to fill prescriptions for ivermectin during a portion of the pandemic . They do, however, dispense mifepristone and misoprostol for the purposes of ending pregnancies.

(I should not have broken my embargo. My partner told me they had begun filling ivermectin again, but that was not enough to justify my lapse.)

I bought chocolate, soda, tea, coffee, bottled water, and at the checkout counter the cashier offered me a “new credit card.” I reflexively said no, but she said it was “a reusable gift card that could be given as wonderful Christmas present.”

I bought one,

As I was returning my cart to the store a man was lying in distress in the parking lot. A young woman stood beside him on a cell phone. I called to them and asked if they needed help. As I came close, she said that she had been passing the store when she saw him fall off a steep ledge next to the store. His head was gashed and bloody, as was his hand. He seemed to be in shock and kept insisting he did not want EMS or a hospital. Her mother had come to help and was calling 911.

I sat down with the man and talked to him until the ambulance came.

His Good Samaritan was in tears. I told her that she had done everything right. She had stayed with him and called for help.

When the police and EMS arrived, I left. Picked up the pizza and went home.

After dinner I looked at the “Scarlet” card the woman had sold me. It was not a credit or gift card, it was a card that required setting up an 8 dollar per month bank account. I emailed the company and told them I had been misinformed about the use and function of the card and wanted to return it.

The next day I went back to the Walgreens and asked them to refund my money for the card. I had the receipt and the unopened card.

They refused–not store policy. I would have to contact the card company to do that. I told the manager I wanted her to show me how to do that, as the contact instructions had a labyrinthine complexity to them.

She attempted to call “Scarlet” and her own Walgreens help line for over an hour and could not get through. Finally, I got through based on extra instructions from the return to my email (call the number and just keep pressing 1)

A man named Duke took my address and told me I would get a refund in 10 days.

I told the manager I had avoided the store for months only to have this happen. I told her about the ivermectin embargo and the abortifacient endorsement. Then I told her I had been at the store during the man’s distress in the parking lot.

Her answer was swift–he is a drunk. He came here last night and then was back this morning for alcohol.

I looked at the array of cigarettes behind her. People had bought them from her during my hour in the store. When she told me what she thought of the man I realized it was odd that the Walgreens employees watched from the store but offered no assistance. When asked they provided a partial roll of dispenser paper from their restroom. I suddenly wondered if the young woman’s distress had been heightened by attempting to get help from them?

I said, yes, you sell cigarettes and alcohol. I see that. Just don’t let a job rob you of your soul.

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