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Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Death to the Poor (As Usual) 

This Washington Post article starts out in the right direction. Stores around the DC area, particular in poor, minority areas, have taken to locking up their condoms, requiring customers to buzz for staff assistance - announcing their purchase to the whole store. Obviously, this has significant impacts on who buys, and consequently on who uses, condoms.

Redfearn points this out, and begins to chastise the stores for policies that pretty plainly target the poor and minorities, but then backs off, letting the "business argument" against theft carry the day. She also (a bit inexplicably) feels the need to give the abstinence whackos a few lines of space, after which she lamely discredits them (but only if you read carefully).

I understand the businesses position. If they really do see high theft rates in some stores - though I'd be more inclined to believe them if they offered numbers - they have an interest in locking things up. However, there needs to be a better way of unlocking them. Why not put them behind the counter - that way it's between a customer and the check-out clerk, same as if they weren't locked up. It might be a little less intimidating.

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