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OP-ED: CVS on Walnut and 40th Is My Safe Space


Photo by Mike Mozart / CC BY 2.0

No one seems to understand, except maybe the balding manager who stands by the self check-out and insists that I take a bigger bag if I buy more than two granola bars at a time. That’s how he shows that he cares. 

No other CVS compares, and I’ve tried dozens. The CVS near Franklin’s Table is cold and unfeeling; the aisles stretch infinitely backward, the shelves are higher and menacing, the granola bar selection is subpar at best, seriously lacking in mint chip Cliff bars at worst. The CVS on 43rd and Locust seems like it would be a cozy, inviting space, but it doesn’t feel like home. It may be more secluded, so I can buy my stool softeners in peace, and it may be open 24 hours a day, so I can buy flavor blasted goldfish at 2 am, but it isn’t the same —there’s no bald man, no girls in Penn sweatshirts lingering in front of nail polish, no sense of security. 

The CVS on Walnut and 40th is where I go to get away from the world: I step off of Walnut, and the bustle of college students, cars, and bikes turns into the hushed murmurs of sorority girls standing in the shampoo aisle, looking at different types of nut milk, considering what flavor of kombucha to get. Tranquility. The man at the pharmacy who doses out my copious anti-depressants doesn’t judge me; he understands my struggle. I know exactly where everything is. Here, I can stare at yogurt flavors for as long as I like. Here, I will accept the bigger bag. Here, I am at peace.