After Outcry, CVS Revokes Carding Policy For Nail Polish Remover

Consumers are now free to buy nail polish remover at CVS without being carded. (Photo: Rachel Rohr)

Consumers are now free to buy nail polish remover at CVS without being carded. (Photo: Rachel Rohr)

Last week, I had the unexpected experience of having my driver’s license scanned when trying to buy nail polish remover at CVS.

Since writing a post about the experience here, the story spread wildly and thousands of people weighed in on CVS’s new store policy aimed at tracking and limiting sales of products containing acetone or iodine, which are used in the manufacture of methamphetamine. (See, also: “Breaking Bad.”)

A new surprise came in my inbox last night, when I received an email from CVS’s public relations director, Mike DeAngelis, informing me that the acetone policy has been revoked in all but one state for acetone, and in all but three states for iodine:

We are committed to ensuring customer convenience while appropriately complying with regulations in our business.

After thoroughly reviewing our policies for the sale of products that contain acetone, in most states we will no longer require customers to present an ID to purchase these products, including nail polish remover. Our stores will be notified about this change by the end of the day today and it will take effect beginning tomorrow.

To comply with certain regulations requiring retailers to record sales of products containing ingredients used in the illegal manufacture of methamphetamine, we will continue to require ID for the purchase of acetone products in Hawaii and the purchase of iodine products in California, Hawaii and West Virginia.

Additional policy changes regarding purchase limits and age requirements may be implemented in the future.

A similar statement posted on CVS’s Facebook page indicated that customer feedback was behind the decision to end the new policy:

We want to thank all of our fans who have shared their thoughts on our policies for the sale of nail polish removers that contain acetone, which is an ingredient used in the illegal manufacture of methamphetamine. After a thorough review, we are revising our policy to ensure customer convenience while appropriately complying with regulations in our business.

Purchases of products containing acetone, including nail polish remover, will no longer require an ID, except in the state of Hawaii. We will also continue to require ID for the purchase of iodine products in California, Hawaii and West Virginia. These revised policies, designed to comply with certain regulations requiring retailers to record sales of methamphetamine precursor ingredients, will take effect before the end of this week.

DeAngelis’s note said the photo ID policy wouldn’t officially be gone until today, but a quick trip last night to my local CVS found that the Allston location, at least, had already gotten the memo.

Three things had changed since my visit to the nail polish remover section, seven days prior:

1. There was now a message on the shelf explaining the acetone policy.
2. The 6 oz. bottles that I was accustomed to buying had reappeared. The only option last week was a bigger, 10 oz. bottle, which seemed ironic under the circumstances.
3. Irony continued with a “buy 2 get 1 free” sale on all CVS nail polish remover.

I successfully made it through self-checkout with my nail polish remover. I now own far too much of the stuff. But on the bright side, my four-foot-long receipt (I measured) contains some excellent coupons.

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