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One Block, Three Pharmacies, How Come?

Okay so we’re always talking about the number of liquor stores, check cashing businesses, motels, pawn shops, and fast food restaurants in our neighborhoods, but has anyone ever bothered to question the oh-so-stealty move-in of pharmacies?


Case in point, on Crenshaw Boulevard at Coliseum, in one block there is a Rite-Aid, CVS, and Walgreen’s—literally next door and across the street from one another.

Now what is it that the pharmacies know that we haven’t quite caught on to?

Maybe they’re aware of our love affair with fast, greasy food and the fact that the only way we’re going to put down that chicken wing is if they pry it out of our cold, dead hands. Perhaps they’ve been following the stats on childhood obesity and adult obesity among Blacks.

Personally, I think they’re in cahoots with the fast food chain restaurants. When it’s cheaper to buy 12 pieces of fried meat that resembles chicken, than it is to buy the real deal at the store and cook it at home, there’s bound to be some clogged arteries and high cholesterol in the area and they are going to need some drugs…some overpriced drugs at that.

Lure em’ in with cheap prices and when the effects of the sh*t they try to pass off as food kicks in, there are the 24-hour pharmacy’s to save the day.

And us—we’re too pissed off that Popeye’s ran out of chicken, lol. We won’t call and complain about the types of business that are brought into our community, but we’ll call Popeye’s customer service to complain about them running out of chicken.

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I’m just saying, while I didn’t appreciate the manner in which the news presented the story, that man was on the phone calling Popeye’s customer service to complain.


And while I am speaking specifically about a block in Los Angeles, I am sure this issue is not germane to us.

There’s a reason why we see the same groups of businesses setting up shop in our neighborhoods—and across town, like in Santa Monica where they need another shopping center like I need a large order of fries from McDonald’s, they’re getting a Bloomingdales and True Religion. Which, I might add, that we will dutifully take our asses too instead of lobbying for those same stores to occupy the mall that we have in our own community.

Okay, you can go back to finishing your Big Mac now.

Jasmyne Cannick

Jasmyne Cannick, is a critic and commentator based in Los Angeles who writes about the worlds of pop culture, race, class, and politics as it relates to the African-American community. A regular contributor to NPR’s ‘News and Notes,’ she was chosen as one Essence Magazine’s 25 Women Shaping the World.

Reprinted with permission from