I frequent convenience stores less and less these days, as I no longer poison myself with tobacco, I’ve long since swallowed my last drop of alcohol and even go lightly on the sodas and junk food of late. I don’t, however, resent anyone’s right to indulge in those things and I’m not opposed to a completely free market where the owners can sell anything legal. I do, however, wonder how many people actually realize what they’re seeing stacked head high on and around the counters of so many of Bartow’s quick stops.
Suffice to say that my knowledge of the various products I’m about to outline is rooted in what will have to be a separate article which will probably be better suited for the "Testimonies to God’s Love and Grace" section.
The next time you frequent one of these fine establishments take note of some of the items regularly placed in the areas considered most ideal for impulse marketing. You may notice that the displays become larger and more brazen in lower income parts of the community. The most memorable I’ve seen is a display like the ones I’m about to outline, placed prominently beside an advertisement for "government-provided cell phones."
Tell us in the comments what you think of these products and displays in local stores.
The "blunt" section is an area which to an innocent mind may seem like an exotic cigar menu. Cherry, banana, cinnamon and even bubble gum flavored cigar wrappers with no tobacco included. Now I know a few cigar aficionados and I’m sure there are a few, but I’ve not met one who likes to roll their own cigars, let alone enough in Bartow County to support an entire store display. Most anyone under a certain age knows that this section is actually directed at marijuana smokers, particularly younger marijuana smokers. This is probably the most innocuous of the items that get under my skin, but worth mentioning, none the less.
The glass pipe and bong case is also partially directed at marijuana smokers, but all you have to do is watch a few episodes of the TV show Intervention and you’ll begin to recognize that an increasing number of the pipes in those cases are designed specifically for smoking methamphetamine. That’s right, the synthetic chemical that is virtually ravaging every rural part of this county, state and nation. There are no other uses for many of the pipe designs in the cases that you stand beside and maybe even lean on as you wait in line.
The paraphernalia that most people probably don’t recognize are the "silk roses" that often sit right there on the main counter. These 10 cent "flowers" come packaged in a glass tube about 3 inches long. The glass tubes are designed and sold for one reason and one reason only: to facilitate the smoking of crack cocaine. Many of the stores have even gone as far as having their copper scouring pads located nearby. This is known in the drug world as "Brillo" after the name brand and is used in conjunction with these glass tubes to help drug-addicted people all over Bartow County smoke cocaine and meth.
Allow me to stress that as far as I know it is not illegal to sell any of these items and as a free-enterprise, limited-government conservative I don’t think it should be. In a free market system that works, we the people can effectively self-legislate this type of untoward business practice by spending our dollars in locations that choose the high road and by voicing our displeasure to the proprietors of these establishments.
Sadly it seems that the "high road" locations are becoming fewer and further between, but at least we can try and make a difference by speaking out and shining a light on the dark intent behind the marketing of these items right under our noses.
The cost of drug addiction on our community is astronomical and the negative impact on our judicial and healthcare systems is undisputed. The least we can do is make it less "convenient" to partake in illicit drugs.