Why rich people look nicer

OK, I get it now. Expensive clothes look better than cheap clothes, at least mass-produced cheap clothes. I have found no pants at Walgreens. Sweatpants, yes, which I refuse to buy, leggings and workout pants yes, which I did buy. But can I actually wear them out in public? Nobody looks good in leggings.

I tried on one potential outfit: leggings, white t-shirt and sweatshirt. I certainly could wear it if push comes to shove, but I feel like I’m wearing a costume. Actually, what I really feel like is me from the 80s. Well, me from the 80s, plus 20 pounds. Not a good feeling or memory.

Still no shoes, but I did find some house slippers that are plain black corduroy with a plastic sole. They’re almost, almost like a pair of black loafers.

The week starts tomorrow. Why am I doing this again?



The spice of life

It’s amazing how the stock in Walgreens varies so much from store to store. Is it totally random? Do the managers decide stock based on demographics of shoppers? Or is it just whatever falls off the back on the Walgreens truck on that day?

I was down on 3rd Street today and stopped in the Walgreens at Bayview Plaza. I figured they’d have tons of food, since they’re the only game in town. Nope, no food. Very few clothes. But the socks and underwear were under lock and key! So were the lube and pregnancy tests. No condoms in sight.

The Walgreens at 3rd and Williams rocks! Lots of clothes, including designer fashion: Dickies shirts and jackets. But who’s going to buy a jacket for $49.99 at Walgreens? Not me, especially when the fabulous generic pleather ones go for $29.99. I spent so much time going through the stack of sweatshirts looking for smalls for my daughter that one of the Walgreens men asked me if I wanted any help. He went in the back and brought out a huge box of sweatshirts for me to ferret through. Love the pumpkin color. That Walgreens also sells canes and walkers and bathtub seats. Do they have lots of older customers?

And what do they have under lock and key at this Walgreens? Crest toothpaste. An entire case of Crest toothpaste products. But the plot thickens… all the Colgate toothpastes were out unguarded, for anyone to pick up. No lock on the socks, underwear or lube. I asked the friendly clerk about it, but he pretended to be as perplexed as I.

Oh, and on the way out I found these lovely Grillz candy, fake bling for my teeth.

Do people still get scurvy?

There’s plenty of prepared food to eat at Walgreens, and most sell ingredients like flour and sugar so I could actually bake. Lunches will be a snap and dinners can be frozen pizzas, macaroni and cheese with tuna, omelettes: pretty normal meals for us. My one concern is fruit and vegetables. A lot of Walgreens have bananas and apples, which is fine for fruit. But no fresh vegetables. Canned corn and frozen peas will do, I guess. Oops, I take that back, there’s always a nice packaged salad made with iceberg lettuce and a slice or two of cucumber.

The Westlake Walgreens is amazing. Three full aisles of food. An entire aisle of frozen and refrigerated items, and about half an aisle of Filipino and Chinese food items that I’ve never seen before in my life. And another half an aisle devoted solely to cookies. And let’s not forget the ChocoVine.

I’m not worried that we’ll get sick, I mean I’m not pulling a Supersize Me, but I do fear the worst: food that will make me farty.


THIS is why I love Walgreens. I was so excited to discover that the Westlake Walgreens actually does sell alcohol, and was scanning their limited yet none too shabby selection, when I saw it: ChocoVine!

“The taste of Dutch chocolate and fine red wine.”

It’s a genuine product of Holland! Ingredients: “grape wine with artificial flavor, cream and artificial colors.”

As tempting as it’s been, I haven’t opened it yet. I’m waiting for my official week. I’ll put on my Walgreens jammies, light up a Duraflame log, pop in one of my latest DVD buys (The Last Mimzy perhaps?) and pour myself a glass of some fine ChocoVine. Ahhhhh…

For lack of a pair of shoes

Still no shoes. The slippers and sweatpants scenario is looming. I thought for sure there’d at least be some rain boots offered at Walgreens soon. Maybe I’ll end up wearing slippers covered with those rubber slip-over-your-shoes rain protection things.

No shoes, but I did score the greatest pleather jacket! This was at the Walgreens at Mission and Front, which usually doesn’t carry very many clothes at all. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw it. I was only a teeny bit embarrassed trying on clothes in the greeting card aisle, which had the closest mirror. But it’s fabulous! I also got a brown hoodie with super soft fleecy material inside, that I can layer under the jacket if it’s cold.

I wore the jacket when I went out to a fancy wine dinner with my friend Spring. Spring is one of the most fashionable people I know (she helped me clean out my closet a year ago) and she liked the jacket. She thought I was joking when I told her it was from Walgreens.

These are a few of my favorite things

I have bought some pretty great things at Walgreens. Some of my faves:

Big bubble wand. It actually doesn’t make big bubbles, like I thought it would, but it makes lots of nice smaller bubbles. Do I use it that often? No. But I sure do like looking at it.

Nancy Drew. A few years ago Walgreens had tons of old movies on DVD for 99 cents. My absolute favorite featured Dick Tracy (featuring Boris Karloff!) on one side and Nancy Drew, Reporter on the other. It’s the most wonderful version of Nancy Drew I’ve ever seen, from 1939, with Bonita Granville as Nancy and Frankie Thomas as Ted. My daughter and I loved it so much we tracked down the other 3 of the only 4 episodes filmed. And I paid $15-20 for them via e-Bay.

Other gems from that lot that introduced my daughter to a range of fabulous movies and old TV shows: Our Gang, very young Shirley Temple (before she got too cutesy), Gumby, Popeye, Laurel and Hardy.



What should I wear?

I think the true turning point for putting my “Living on Walgreens Alone” idea into reality was buying a great dress from the Walgreens at Mission and First. This is my favorite Walgreens for clothes so far. A month or two ago a rack of dresses magically appeared in the clothing section. I bought a blue and black abstract print polyester dress ($14.99), paired it with my black boots and wore it to Ellen’s birthday dinner in Oakland. Every single homeless man I passed walking from BART 5 blocks down Broadway complimented me on it.

I had been a little concerned that I’d be forced to wear sweat pants and slippers, but the dress made me feel like I it was possible to wear only Walgreens and still look OK.

My daughter, on the other hand, has it a bit easier. She’s loved Walgreens for their t-shirts that she paints, slices and dices, and turns into her own fashion. And her basic every day outfit for school is skinny jeans and a baggy sweatshirt. She owns three or four Walgreens sweatshirts already. In fact, she told me that for Christmas she wanted all the different colors of sweatshirts.

This morning when she started in on the familiar “I have nothing to wear” tirade, I told her I’d give her two sweatshirts I bought her and was saving for Christmas. She chose the light brown one to wear. “This color is somewhere between barf and tan,” she said. “I like it.”

Triangular sandwiches

I actually like Walgreens prepared food. There, I said it. I often go for lunch and buy the tuna or egg salad sandwich on white bread, cut diagonally and packaged in a triangle! That, a bag of fritos and a coke makes for the perfect midday meal. 

It’s just a simple sandwich on white bread with a small amount of salad–not like the usual American sandwiches with gluttonous globs of filling, spilling over with lettuce, tomato, sprouts, etc. etc. Makes me nostalgic for England.

Once I was downtown with my daughter and we wanted to see a movie at 5:30. It was 5:10 and we didn’t have time to get food at a restaurant, but I knew if she didn’t eat she’d be unbearably cranky when the movie ended. So we ran to the Walgreens on Market next to the Old Navy. Bought some hard boiled eggs, string cheese, granola bars, bottle of water and Red Vines for the movie. The eggs even came with little salt and pepper packets.

So yeah, I think we’ll do fine eating only Walgreens food for a week. Although as Andy noted on the last post, they don’t sell alcohol…

An idea is born

I love Walgreens. I used to wander through the Walgreens on the corner of Mission and New Montgomery with my friend Ellen during lunch. We’d try on lipstick, buy art supplies, pick up prescriptions. There were so many fabulously weird and wonderful items there, from squishy pillows covered in faux fur, to “as advertised on TV” dryer balls, to eco-friendly make-up brushes, to DVDs of old Our Gang episodes. I could spend hours going up and down the aisles.

One day, after noticing that they sold underwear and sweatpants, I said “I could live off Walgreens for months and never need anything else.” The idea got stuck in the back of my head and never left.

Starting Monday, November 1, I will live by Walgreens alone for one week. And my 13-year-old daughter will join me. That’s right, nothing but stuff bought from Walgreens for a whole week–food, clothes, entertainment, household needs. OK, it’s not months and months, but it’s a start.

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