Rebels Groping for a Cause

I was coming home from an errand this afternoon when I got stuck at a long traffic light and had a chance to see what Occupy Gainesville was up to. They were holding a banner in front of the CVS Drug Store at the corner of NW 13 St and 16 AVE, and some where passing out fliers to the waiting cars.

They were protesting, of course. They were urging CVS customers to move their prescriptions to a locally owned pharmacy, like Wise’s. In fact, the flyer I received listed 4 specific pharmacies:

  • Wise’s 4th AVE Pharmacy at 708 SW 4 AVE
  • Wise’s Parkwood Pharmacy at 3601 SW 3 AVE, Suite A
  • West Lab 4410 W Newberry Rd. #A5
  • Southeastern Community Pharmacy at 4343 Newberry Rd. #9

The flyer tells us that Wise’s historic downtown pharmacy with its lunch counter was forced out of business by large corporate competitors. It also says we will help stimulate a healthy economy by taking our business away from the big corporation and support these smaller local businesses.

It is a shame to watch such a colossal waste of time as this. Basically, Occupy Gainesville wants us to voluntarily redistribute our business to stores that are much further from us that the ones we are currently using. Here, in a city where we are encouraged to walk so we can save the planet, we are directed by the Occupiers to get in our cars and drive down to these 4 stores that are all on or just a few blocks off Route 26. Forget those several CVS and Walgreens you must pass on the way; let alone all the Publix Supermarkets with their in-store pharmacies!

Honestly, did anyone think this through down at Bo Diddly Plaza, where this was no doubt hatched during an all-night meeting of the jazz hands?

I admit that we do not get our prescriptions from Wise’s or any of the other beleaguered local pharmacies. Nor do I get them from CVS or the other evil corporate entities. We get ours from the ultimate evil corporation: the VA, a part of the Federal government. And why? Because they mail them to us! And, of course, they are heavily subsidized.

Perhaps the Occupiers might want to do a study of why big corporations with deep pockets can afford to expand in Gainesville and the mom and pops can’t. When CVS built the store on 13th and 16th, the city said they had to build it two stories high and have office rentals upstairs. If the Wise’s were told that, they might have blanched and said, “But we don’t want to be landlords! And the taxes on that building will be higher, let alone the cost of building it!”

Big corporations have the money to meet the life-sucking demands of dopey city commissioners with zero business sense. Family owned businesses are a different kind of animal. For instance, how many of the Wise’s children grew up to be pharmacists? I don’t know of any. A family business does not have the same vision for growth that a corporate owned store does. And what about the Greshams? That whole local chain disappeared a few years after Mr. Gresham retired. Did the Gresham kids become pharmacists? Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think not.

In the meantime, CVS, Walgreens, Publix and Wal-Mart compete amongst themselves and serve us well with many convenient locations all over town. And they hire a lot of LOCAL people.

I keep waiting for the Occupiers to wake up to the idea that the real blood suckers are our governing bodies.

A Traffic Lesson

I would like to give you all a pedestrian’s perspective on a recurring problem. Since it happens often in my life, I am sure other pedestrians are also exasperated with this problem.

Sometimes, while I am crossing 39th Ave, I will get as far as the MEDIAN just as some well-meaning person decides to stop for me. This person, no doubt, feels good about her “random act of kindness,” (it is always a woman), and she comes to a standstill in what is, for her, the left lane. This is a lane for cars that are usually traveling at 50 mph, and I was hoping she would do the same thing so I could keep walking and get on my way.

This creates a problem for me, the pedestrian. As I am crossing in front of her vehicle, another vehicle may speed past her before I can see it. I do not like to cross those last two lanes until there is NO oncoming traffic. I JUST NEED YOU TO GO!! Then I can see and walk the rest of the way. Another thing that can happen is that while I am trying to wave you by, and you are adorably waving ME to keep walkiing, and I am insisting that you GET OUT OF THE WAY, another car will come up your butt at 50 mph and have to slam on the brakes.

Fortunately, the vast majority of drivers are in touch with the fact that they will be GONE before they can give me a little wave, and they just drive by. I am grateful for this. I count on drivers being intelligent and competent. Surrendering your intelligence and competence to a fleeting idea that you could be nice to me could get one of us killed.