Retail Therapy

Every drug store, it seems, has the Diabetes aisle.

It’s where we head to pick up a few canisters of glucose tabs, or a vial of little sticks to pee on. It’s where they keep the lancets I’ll probably never have to buy at a drug store for as long as I live, and it’s where they display a dazzling — and ever-expanding — selection of blood glucose monitors.

And lately, I feel like every time I hit the corner Walgreens, the Diabetes aisle is bigger — or at least more crowded. What used to be the go-to section for the bare necessities is becoming increasingly gunked up with “diabetic” accessories. Today I saw four brands of diabetic vitamins, two brands of diabetic lotion, some gel that’s supposed to help with nerve pain, diabetic cereal, shakes and granola bars.

"All I need is that 24-pack of Butter Pecan Glucerna, and I'll be the perfect diabetic!"

I’ll fully admit that my first aversion to all of these products is the semantics involved in their branding. I see a sign that says “Diabetic Socks,” and my first thought is, “Whoa! I didn’t even realize socks had islets of Langerhans!” Do the diabetic vitamins prefer MDI or pump therapy? Do the bottles of Jergens and Nivea lotions ever come over and try to keep the diabetic lotions from eating cookies and birthday cake?

More than that, it seems that each product is a thinly veiled attempt to create a need that might not be there; to make more money on people who are desperate to control an unwieldy disease. I realize that socks for diabetics (not diabetic socks) certainly have their place, but do we really need lotion specifically for the elbows and knees of PWDs?

I suppose it just makes me sad to think of some newly diagnosed patient with a cart full of overpriced cereal and ugly socks, when such a big part of staying sane with diabetes is doing as many “normal” things as possible. I feel like I spend enough money on the things I need for my little pet without having to buy it any extra toys.

So until they start stocking the shelves with products like, say, alcohol swabs that smell like strawberries or glucose tabs that don’t send me into a coughing fit, I think I’ll try to do the rest of my shopping where the non-diabetics do theirs.

3 comments on “Retail Therapy

  1. snackrifices says:

    I’ve always wondered who bought that stuff. And I’ve wondered who the stores are trying to fool. I’ve had diabetes for 17 years and I’ve never had a need for special lotion – Bath and Body Works make scrumptious ones – and Danskins make sweet socks. I want to appear as “normal” as possible, I don’t buy things that are labeled “DIABETIC.”

  2. Rachel says:

    Just found your blog–love it! I laughed when I first saw “diabetes socks.” They’re uhm, plain white cotton socks! Do they prevent neuropathy?!

    I remember when I was diagnosed and my Mom always went to the “diabetic section” of the grocery store where there the nasty 5 year old cookies were located. I’d much rather eat nothing, thanks!

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