Monday, February 1, 2010

The Longs goodbye

I stopped by Longs Drugs today to get a few things. Or rather, CVS/pharmacy, which has taken over Longs, like an occupying army. The reason I used to like visiting this particular Longs was its lush outdoor garden section, which was always alive with birds and birdsong, as it was home to a colony of chipping sparrows. The wild birdseed was kept inside on shelves next to the automatic doors, and the sparrows had learned to fly in the doors as they opened, snack on any spilled birdseed (tidying up the floor quite nicely) and then dart out when they were done. It was a system that worked for everyone.

Sadly, the new corporate occupiers have changed all that. Today I saw that the birdseed, instead of being stored in the kind of sacks that often helpfully bust a seam, permitting a trickle to escape onto the floor, is now entombed in plastic tubs with tight-fitting lids. There's not a speck of seed on the floor, and not a single chipping sparrow in evidence. I went out to the garden shop, where two or three sparrows were huddled in the rafters, none of them trilling their cheerful song. What do they have to sing about? The days of the free lunch are over.

8 comments:

Lily said...

This is SO sad. I love the big longs. I am certain I will not love the big cvs.

itzktb said...

That is SO sad...

farmlady said...

One more reason not to like the new CVS Pharmacy store. We have a Walgreens being built across town and I will drive that much further just to go to Walgreens when it opens.
I loved LONGS, but this new CVS is not a customer friendly store. I have to have coupons, a card, slips of paper for money off from the cash register and it takes forever to get checked out.
I CAN'T WAIT FOR WALGREENS.

Tai said...

Farmlady, same experience here. CVS is an ordeal, any way you cut it. Bring back the mom 'n' pop drugstore.

Lily, I love the big Longs, too -- it's so eclectic, so distinctly Oakland. CVS is obliterating all its regional flavor.

Farmgirl_dk: said...

Oh...did you briefly consider opening one of those plastic tubs and spilling just a bit on the floor? :-)
I used to love Long's....I lived in Berkeley for a year and there was Long's on Shattuck Avenue that we would go to all the time.
I really detest the homogenization of America. It actually makes me kind of angry...all the smaller chains and individual markets and all being gobbled up by one big company after another. But I shan't rant on your blog. That wouldn't be polite. :-)

Reverend Shawn said...

... and from the birds we learn a lesson (a new twist on "for the birds perhaps) ... the push of commericialization to make everything clean and neat and THE SAME is, as Katie noted - "SO SAD".

There is something real and reassuring in a world where seed gets spilled and cleaned up by birds who have learned how to secure a free lunch ...

There is something real and reassuring in a world that is not sanitized and plastic tubbed ...

Maybe if we took time to listen to the critters around us, we would no only remember that - we would gain from following thier lessons ...

Tai said...

Rev, these are words to live by. Thank you for such an eloquent lesson.

Farmgirl, you may rant on my blog any time you please. First thing I did was try to surreptitiously bust open a bag, but they were made of industrial-strength plastic. My mother always told me never leave home without a nail file and now I know why.

Farmgirl_dk: said...

Aw, Tai - thanks for the free-rant pass, that made me smile. of course, now that I'm smiling, i can't think of a single thing to rant about. dangit.