CVS Health: Taking a Stand Again

Three years ago CVS stopped selling tobacco products, which I thought was a perfect move for a company that promotes itself as part of the health care industry.

The loss of tobacco sales cost CVS $2 billion in annual revenue, out of total revenue of about $150 billion in annual revenue. I’m sure it was a difficult decision, and they knew they would be criticized by investors because of the negative financial impact, and by others who would accuse CVS of being a nanny.

So I admired their decision back then to stick to their beliefs, despite the backlash.

Well it is happening again.

CVS just announced that it will be moving most junk food away from the storefront, banning sales of low-protection sunscreens, and eliminating foods containing artificial trans-fats.

And I congratulate them for such a move.

But as before, there are those who criticize the decision.

I think moving candy away from the front counter is beneficial for reducing those impulse buys that we are all guilty of. The retails stores know exactly what they are doing when they place such goods right near the checkout. So to those who criticize CVS for being a nanny for removing the candy from the front counter, you can either walk a few feet to where the candy aisle is, or you can realize that you are being “manipulated” when the candy is up front. If you succumb to the impulse buy, the store’s ploy has worked; if such merchandise is moved to a different part of the store and you decide to buy it, you are the one in control.

I think many people feel guilty after they realize they have fallen victim to an impulse buy, because they feel a loss of self-control. So why would you be bothered by the fact that CVS is reducing the likelihood of such a feeling?

And like I said, if you really want that candy, it’s just a few steps away. And you now have complete control over the decision.

So kudos to CVS.

Next step, stop the alcohol sales. Not sure how that’s any different than the tobacco sales. Leave the alcohol sales to “non-health” companies.

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Jim Borden

Accounting Prof. at Villanova; happily married for 30+ years; father of 3 outstanding young men; vegan; interests: fitness, creativity, education, blogging, social media.

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