The cost of progress: What's your priority?

May 14, 2013

I have been following, with some interest, the debate over the value of a CVS pharmacy directly across the street from the Walgreens and next to the site of the old Happy Harry's.  I must admit I don't quite see why we would need two very similar stores right next to each other, especially given that half of what they sell can be found in the Food Lion next door.

Mr. Beveridge from Broadkill Beach argued that the addition of the CVS store would benefit all of us because we all benefit from economic competition.  He went on to explain that a liberal is one who favors a centrally planned economy and a conservative is one who advocates for free enterprise.  These are artificial definitions created by our media.  I really don't care whether you are liberal or whether you are conservative.  I do agree that economic competition favors the consumer, but one has to ask at what cost?

When debating whether Lewes needs a CVS we should not be viewing the question in the context of political perspective or economic efficiency.  The question we should ask of ourselves is much more pragmatic.  "Is Lewes a better place to live because we have a CVS and a Walgreens and the Overhill Pharmacy?"  "Is Lewes a better place to live because we have a Home Depot and a Lowes and Best's?"  Anyone who evaluates the quality of their life based on the cost and availability of paper towels and sheetrock would reply "yes."  I would reply "no."

I've lived in lots of places.  Places that are wealthy and places that are poor.

Places that are urban and places that are rural.  But in the end I've chosen to live in a small town in Pennsylvania (Swarthmore) because it's my town.  I belong there because I know my neighbors and my friends live there.  I see them when I walk to the store.  I see them in the coffee shop and I see them at the funerals.  I know when they are doing well and I know when they are troubled.

One may say that the days of knowing your neighbors and having a strong sense of community and place are a thing of the past.  Many of us would say that's the cost of progress.  I guess the people of Lewes need to decide what's most important to them - getting a good deal on sheetrock or knowing the guy behind the counter.

Charlie Pell

Swarthmore, Pa.

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