WEEK #29 JULY 17th

Dear Customers,

Back in the early 60’s I had quite a comic book collection as did many boys my age.  I say “had” because my mother pitched them all into the dumpster one fine spring day in an effort to rid my room of “useless clutter”.   One of my favorite places to procure comic books, besides my Dad’s supermarket, was McCoy’s Drugstore on West Main Street.

There was a wire spinner rack in the corner literally loaded with all the current issues of Batman, Superman, Spiderman, Archie, Richie Rich, Casper the Friendly Ghost and Hot Stuff, the little devil!  Stamped on the upper right corner was the purchase price; 10¢.  Then, without warning, one day I plunked down my dime only to discover the price had risen a whopping 20% to 12¢/each!  That old drugstore with it’s creaky wooden floors and myriad smells and aromas was such a fine place to browse on a rainy afternoon that I eventually took the increase in stride!

Then one day, that comfortable bit of nostalgia moved across the street into the building recently vacated by the Market Basket.  (the same storefront that now houses Buchanan Bros. Pharmacy).  It was bigger, more modern and well lit.  At least at first!  Then, after a time, the proprietor began cutting his inventory substantially to the point where there was only 1, maybe 2 of a particular item on the shelf.  It began to look like a Cold War Russian grocery store!  And, in what I can only surmise was a further cost cutting method, he began leaving off two out of every three banks of fluorescent lights!  You felt like you were in a store before it even opened!

Perhaps that’s where I first developed my aversion to dark, dingy store interiors.  To me, there’s nothing worse than dark frozen food, dairy, produce or meat cases.  The lights were put there for a reason- to highlight the product and make it more attractive, thus easier to shop.  Fluorescent light bulbs routinely reach the end of their effective life, leaving the display unattractive.  At store level, we have no problem replacing a bulb.  Where we come up short is if the problem has to do with the ballast – the heart of a fluorescent light fixture.  It provides the correct amount of voltage to start the lamp and regulates the amount of current it receives.  Changing one is usually beyond our capabilities.

For the past year, we’ve had several lights out in the produce and meat cases primarily.  Every time I walked past them I inwardly cringed – several times a day!  It’s not that we were ok with it, we were waiting for the repair company to arrive.  It took them SEVERAL months!!  Finally, in June the meat and produce cases were converted to LED lights.  They’re bright and attractive AND completely “ballast-free”.  And what a difference it makes to the presentation of product!  So much so that I felt it important enough to mention.