Today I was buying iron pills at the drugstore. These particular ones are behind the counter so I have to have a conversation with the pharmacist to get access to them. They want to be sure that a doctor has actually recommended taking them and that it isn't just someone chomping down random pills on a lark.
I might suggest they do the same with the homeopathic pill section, but with the conversation being more along the lines of "You do realize these don't do anything, right?"
At any rate I got up to the checkout and the clerk scanned the pills and told me that they were on a two for one sale. I can't say no to free stuff that I will definitely use so I went back to the pharmacist, got my second bottle, and walked out.
I didn't get out of the store without feeling a little bit disturbed though. First off random two4one sales and medical treatments that require a conversation with a medical professional just don't seem right at all. I left a job once at least in part over objections to this sort of thing - medicine and huckster tactics just don't mix. It is irresponsible and exploitative at best, dangerous at worst.
But what really gets me is wondering why the company would do this. There aren't any signs anywhere and nobody is just wandering by the pharmacist's desk to ask if the iron pills happen to be on sale today. The only thing this accomplishes is when people like me walk in to buy the product they end up giving away a second one for nothing. This isn't like two4one chocolate bars or magazines or whatever where you can bring people in with a big flashy display and move some product at low margins. No, it is just straight up giving away stuff... which is great for me but it does seem like a poor choice for the corporation. Someone really didn't think that through very well.