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Contemplating the high cost that sometimes comes with paying the lowest price

Published: Sun, January 3, 2010 @ 12:00 a.m.


Wittenauer Pharmacy in Poland Village has closed. This has probably gone unnoticed by many readers, but not by my family. When we moved to the Youngstown area, we wanted somewhere that had amenities within walking distance: stores, parks, libraries. The options were few, since the center of commerce seems to revolve around Route 224 in Boardman. Even if one did live nearby, the commercial strip completely lacks pedestrian access in the form of sidewalks, crosswalks, or crossing signals.

We found a home in Poland where we could walk to a 250-acre forest, a library and stores, including Wittenauer. With my newborn, I walked down to Wittenauer often to fill prescriptions and buy sundry items. They knew me by name, and they always made a pleasant fuss over the baby. I looked for excuses to stop in. The best part was that I never had to get there by car.

In my book, there’s nothing more annoying at the end of the workday than to have to run errands in my car on the way home. The traffic, the constant in and out of the car, the parking, are all unpleasant aspects. Whenever possible, I come home and do necessary errands on foot. Not only do I get some exercise, but I take my time and explore different routes, I encounter neighbors and friendly dogs. I can let my mind wander where it will without thinking about the road, traffic, parking, or having to repeatedly extract my son from the car seat.

I understand that I could do all of my pharmacy shopping somewhere else, at the grocery store, say, or at one of the large pharmacy chains. Chances are I might save money on non-prescription items, since large chains can achieve greater economies of scale. But the money I’d save is not worth the hassle of another car trip to an anonymous big chain store that is too large to navigate through. Perhaps I should care more about always getting the best price.

I know that businesses need to care about it in order to survive. Large chains usually weigh upon local government for tax breaks for a number of years in order to move to a site (in exchange for the jobs and commerce they are sure to bring). In doing so, they do not contribute to costs for road upkeep brought by increased traffic or for flood control brought by the large paved parking lots and rooftops (impervious surfaces that increase rainwater runoff). Local residents and taxpayers (including small businesses without the muscle to demand tax breaks) bear the brunt of these costs.

But this isn’t how we tend to think of things. Just as the businesses do, individuals tend to think about the simple bottom line: where can I get it the cheapest?

My family, however, will be mourning the loss of Wittenauer even while different registers ring up our “great deals.”




1rijirock(4 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

Healthy samples are giving free winter samples for a limited time at http://bit.ly/5dxDmw

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2VINDYAK(1799 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

It is so unfortunate that our current economy is forcing many of us to seek the lowest price possible, which is enabling the big box stores to capitalize.

Eventually our economy will revive and consumers will discover they no longer need to enjoy the unpleasant experiences of traffic jams, waiting in long lines and big box stores crowded with strange people and unruley children.

Unfortunately, it appears our health care future will follow the path taken by the big box stores. What comes around, goes around.

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3aeparish(669 comments)posted 5 years, 1 month ago

When did they close? I swear I just heard a coworker talk about how she picked something up from there within the last week.

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4Viewpoint(89 comments)posted 5 years, 1 month ago

I'm wondering what will become of the gift certificates that we purchased for family members just before the holidays? They had to know something was about to happen to the business, if so why did they continue to sell gift certificates within a week of the closing? If they won't refund the money, then there should be action taken by the prosecuter for fraudulent business practices. This is one time hiding behind the cloak of bankruptcy should not be condoned, it is theft no matter how you look at it.

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