At my local CVS, beer, wine and liquor all sit on the shelves where any customer can grab however many bottles they please before checking out. Cigarettes sit behind the cashier counter, out of reach, but not especially inconvenient to customers. There is only one type of product that is locked up in a case: condoms. To get condoms, you have to ask a cashier who will walk you over to the case, unlock it for you, let you pick what you want, and then relock it once you are done.
I have one question about all of this: what the hell’s the point? I can understand creating a barrier around items that are relatively easy to shoplift, but then make-up pens ought to get the cigarette treatment before condoms do. There is no age limit in the U.S. on condoms (and even if there were, that would be enforced at the register).
No, the only reason for the condom case is the paternalistic sentiment that people should feel a little ashamed for having sex, and if we can’t stop them from doing it, we can make them feel a little awkward when they try to buy protection. And to that point: condoms are good for public health. They prevent STD transmission and unwanted pregnancies, in case you hadn’t heard. That’s why many colleges give them away for free.
So, to CVS and any other store that keeps their condoms in a locked box: set your condoms free. The condom case is pointless and is a remnant of an era when movie couples slept in separate beds.
One final note, in searching for an image for this piece, I found a site devoted to this exact cause: Save Lives Free The Condoms.