Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on May 14th, 2013 at 10:06 am
"We welcome bicyclists at our drive-through lanes... riding a bike is just the kind of healthy, environmentally-friendly activity we welcome at our stores."
— James Graham, Walgreens corporate media relations
Walgreens, America's largest drug store chain, has responded to concerns that one of their policies unfairly excluded customers who ride bicycles. As we detailed last week, for at least the past several years people have been refused service by some Walgreens employees at outdoor service windows (a.k.a. drive-thrus) based solely on their mode of transportation. When asked about this refusal, store managers have listed a number of reasons — from safety concerns to liability insurance constraints.
Before we published that story, we contacted the Deerfield, Illinois-based corporate offices of Walgreens Company to ask for a clarification about this policy. James Graham in Walgreens' corporate media relations department responded and confirmed that they had heard feedback from "bicycling customers" about this issue and they agreed to review their policies. This morning we received the following statement from Graham:
At Portland-area Walgreens stores, we welcome bicyclists at our drive-through lanes. Some bicyclists have recently said that our bicycle policy was inconsistently applied, so we began this week to inform our Portland area store employees that they can serve bicyclists at our drive-through windows. While we spread the word, we appreciate our customers’ patience. We are committed to helping our customers stay healthy and happy, and riding a bike is just the kind of healthy, environmentally-friendly activity we welcome at our stores."
at a fast-food place in Vancouver,
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)
As we learned in this situation, the application of the "no bicycles" stance at Walgreens windows was inconsistently applied. That makes it difficult for people to rely on being served if they arrive by bike. This clarification of policy from Walgreens will now make it more explicitly understood that outdoor service windows are open and accessible to all customers, regardless of what type of vehicle they arrive in. Now the next step for Walgreens is to consider making this a nationwide policy in all 8,300 of their stores. And of course, it would be great if other companies followed suit and made similar policy clarifications. It is National Bike Month after all!
For more on this topic, watch for an article about it by Peter Korn in the next issue of the Portland Tribune.