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Veronique de Turenne

Chain reaction

Our shabby, dysfunctional, yet intensely local Sav-On Drugs has been consumed by CVS. We hate it. Well, I hate it. My friends and neighbors hate it. The people I've seen there, wandering the new landscape in a bewildered daze, hate it. What once was an eccentric blend of pharmacy, general store, 7-11 and liquor mart is now a soulless cyborg.Adios, Sav-On. Here comes CVS Gone are the tall displays that formed little canyons and hid you from sight. Gone are the neat rows stocked with unexpected items: French Champagne, Burt's Bee's lip balm, three-for-ten-dollars t-shirts, straw hats, Malibu Gum, Bumble and Bumble shampoo.

Sure Sav-On was a chain, but it was a chain gone native. This new CVS is viciously well-lit. Short aisles and low shelves form a wide savanna through which shoppers move like nervous prey. You can see everyone from any part of the store. Checkstands with gum and eyeglass repair kits and magazines have been replaced with a kind of holding pen where shoppers mill about until a cashier calls them over. No more browsing. No more gossip. No more checking The Star for the latest pix of Brad and Angie.

And the Bumble and Bumble - what did become of it?

"Right over there," a clerk said, pointing to the grocery section. "With the rest of the tuna."

Next entry: The (strange) view from here

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Next story: The (strange) view from here

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