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How are condoms displayed in stores? How do people purchase?

Photo of Mateo Hernandez Almeyda
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1) You will find the condom section in the health section. In the case of Walgreens, they have a lot of options you can choose but more than half of the shelves are locked so you have to push this customer service button and wait for someone to help you. It makes it awkward because you will have to tell them which one are you choosing.

2) After you get the condoms you will have to pay to the cashier. 

Duane Reade

1) The condoms section at Duane Reade is similar to Walgreens, it’s located in the pharmacy section but at least it’s not locked. So you can get the one you want without calling customer service. The only thing is that there is one shelve that has this transparent plastic doors that you will have to slide if you want to get these condoms. 

2) It is the same as Walgreens.


1) Target displayed the condoms in a more convenient way. You can simply grab the one you choose and this section it’s also in the pharmacy. 

2) Target have self-checkout, I think this is a really good option because you don’t have to show what you are buying to anyone. Making it more private. 

7 Eleven

1) It’s display behind the cashiers, so it’s not reachable for any customer. There is a limited selection of condoms. 

2) In order to get one, you have to ask the cashier for condoms and you will have to specify which one you want. Making this really awkward and not private.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Will Hsu

This is such an interesting research! I think the design behind how condoms are displayed, and how customers could purchase them really effects the willing people want to buy them. We think that the easiest way for protection is using condoms but neglect a lot of problems behind how to get ones. This reminds me the research my group made, we've interviewed some high school students, and they said they don't want to use the free condoms the health clinic provide, because they think those condoms quality are bad. However, the good condoms are also difficult for them to get, and they think those cost a little high. So I think it is really interesting to see the problems behind why a lot of young people rather risk themselves, but not using condoms when having sex.

Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard

Thanks Mateo for this comparative analysis of different stores! Your point about the need in some stores to ask for someone to unlock a door or give you condoms (when they are behind the counter) might make some people feel uncomfortable (at least from what other research posts highlighted) in particular in some cities or countries. It might be also interesting to see how people in the store react. In fact, because I was curious. I recently went to a Pharmacy and went around looking for condoms. I could not find them so I eventually asked one of the young man who was working in the store where they were. He was with a colleague and they both seemed a bit surprised but very politely indicated the aisle I should be looking for. Privacy is definitely a dimension to keep in mind as we move to implementation.