I've seen a lot of intoxicated panhandlers outside of Walgreens over the years, that I could probably create a whole blog devoted to the subject. You've heard of the website People of Walmart, right? Well I could do a Panhandlers of Walgreens. I'm not going to, but just saying, there's a lot of material there.
I don't know exactly why Walgreens attracts bums like flies to shit, but I'd venture an educated guess, that it's probably because of their extensive offering of cheap rot gut booze, generic tobacco, cough syrup, and mouthwash.
Today I went to Walgreens and I walked past a very disheveled older looking Mexican man, who was standing right outside the main entrance, and said something to me in Spanish, but since I don't know Spanish, I just kept walking, and attentively made my way into the store. He appeared to be panhandling, and looked drunk and disorderly, like a Mexican bandito right out of an old western film. Only thing he was missing besides his teeth was a sombrero hat, a poncho blanket, and a mule, and he would have looked like a character right out of The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, or The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.
It was just a quick in and out run to the store, but as I'm waiting in line to check out, a man poked his head into the store, to inform the cashier that there was a man right outside the door, the same dude I just passed before, pissing outside on the sidewalk right in full view of all the customers coming and going. Management called the cops. I got out of there without finding out the outcome, but there's always something like that happening outside our local Walgreens.
I was thinking that maybe they would cut down on crime, and the high incidence of street corner drunken derelicts hanging around shopping centers harassing customers, if they stopped selling cheap malt liquor, rot gut booze, and hobo hooch wine. It's been my experience in all the cities I've been to, that stores that sell cheap booze, attract more derelicts than those that don't.
Would it work? Maybe. Maybe not. If a bum couldn't afford their booze, maybe they'd resort to purse snatching, so they could afford it. Or they may end up overdosing on cheap mouthwash instead. Most mouthwashes contain a high amount of alcohol, but it's denatured alcohol, with added toxins to make it undrinkable, so as to avoid the alcohol tax and the need for a liquor license. But many desperate drunks drink it anyways, and is responsible for quite a few deaths every year.
Alcohol prohibition has already been demonstrated not to work, and I sure wouldn't welcome that either, but even if it's not a fool proof solution, I think fizzling out cheap booze, would help by at least being somewhat of a deterrent. Is it going to stop poor people from getting drunk ever again? No. But it may stop them from getting drunk as much, or as frequently, or in public places, like outside of shopping centers, or at bus stops. Though I could be wrong.