May 1, 2009

Seth Brigham doesn’t like…Pharmaca Integrative Pharmacy.

Seth Brigham is one of those characters that “keep Boulder weird,” as the bumper stickers they sell at the Boulder Bookstore say. He’s run for City Council a few times, mainly in order to [email protected]#$%^&* off the Powers-that-Be; he’s been around Naropa and Ginsbergy since back in the day, and has great photos to prove it; he’s passionate about the issues (all of them) and writes stream-of-consciousness, vehement, well-informed comments on the Daily Camera web site in a personal, passionate manner—at least he doesn’t do so anonymously, as so many cowardly “trolls” (the term for mean web commenters) do.

Recently, he sent me the below—right before he ccd some of our back-and-forth emails to the Boulder Chamber and the Boulder City Council (all of ’em). Luckily, I hadn’t said anything untoward or personal…but, still…you gotta give him credit…he could find a bone to pick with Sitting Bull, pick a fight with Gandhi, or [email protected]#$%^&* off the Dalai Lama. 

Waylon… willing? Or, will it do harm to your natural health trade magazine???

Pharmaca founder Barry Perzow previously started a chain of natural food stores called Capers.

How ironic… And, yet, on the Pharmaca website you’d get the idea they were a few devoted herbalists who started from scratch, in a small back room, devoted to the well being of all “living things.”

Perzow said his goal is 150 stores in five years.

Here’s my editorial…

The Hypocrisy Of Pharmaca

April 22, 2009

A couple I know both worked at Pharmaca, a local “integrative pharmacy” that began with one store in Boulder in 2000.
They now have more than a twenty stores in many states.
Pharmaca claims on their website that “Customers come to know our practitioners…” 
Last year, without notice, they “downsized” my friend without cause and without any consideration of his circumstances.
His coworker and partner were expecting their first child.
He has two children from a previous marriage and she has one.
Pharmaca calls it’s employees “Team Members”… that “enjoy many benefits at levels other retailers can’t match.”
“In addition to the regular benefit programs, we’ve designed our workplace to be one of serenity, creativity and fulfillment.”
Their corporate website claims, “We trust, respect, and support every team member and work as one team. 
The synergy of our efforts makes work a place of delight, creativity, and fulfillment.”
After six months or more of being just on the “brink” of financial collapse, even with financial help from relatives and friends, my fired friend was able to find a new job.
Then, Pharmaca did it again. 
They fired her, without notice, after five years of employment, for no cause, “downsized” again.
They now have a beautiful six month old boy and three other children to support.
Pharmaca claims, “Our profitability is the collective responsibility of all team members…
It ensures the continuing wellness of our customers, and rewards our team members and all stakeholders fairly.”
Have you ever been to a Pharmaca? Unlike a WalMart, they charge higher prices for many medicines and prescriptions that are much cheaper at other stores.
Their main selling points, or excuses, for these high prices are that “Our customers know they are our top priority…
We exceed expectations by listening carefully and building caring relationships…
We are known for our dedication to the wellness of our customers and communities…local and global.
As we grow, we continuously pursue new opportunities to restore and support the health and well being of all living things.”
Does this mean they don’t consider their own employees “living things?” 
Perhaps, they should consider changing their mission from one of substance over style.
If they lowered their prices for the health and well being of their customers, they’d sell more product.
And, they wouldn’t have to dump their “team members” at the cost of “serenity, creativity and fulfillment.”
Oh, and let’s not forget, the survival of a “team member” and their family.

Seth Brigham
[email protected]


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