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For 3 Bucks a Bag at Sun Ray Drugs

Take a walk back into the old-time pharmacy


With all this contentious talk of the proposed Walgreens and its trend in drive-through pharmacies, it triggered a look into the Red Bank Register archives to think back on what the traditional downtown pharmacy meant to people back in the day.

It was a time when people not only spent a lot of time walking through the store to shop for essentials, but walking to it.

And check out what they found when they arrived ...

Did you know that for $3.29 you could have yourself a cart full of toiletries, incidentals and an electric heater from Sun Ray Drug Co. in 1940?

Not that it's any help now, but taking a look at an archived advertisement from the 54 Broad St. store in the Red Bank Register can prove to be quite and educational experience in economics, let alone products.

For instance, the fact that epsom salts, "book matches" and witch hazel led the ad is quite telling. Smoking was big back in those days. It was the "in" thing to do. It was even considered glamorous by Hollywood standards.

So, everyone had matches and ashtrays in their homes, or many, anyway. Witch hazel, at 8 cents, was and still is that good old standby antiseptic skin cleanser and cut cleaner and Epsom salts (who is this Epsom guy and what is his story, anyway?) … well, it's always been known to cure what ails a person with a little soak. And a 5 lb. box was 13 cents.

There are a couple of things that have unclear uses in today's terms, though. For instance, you could get a "clover set" that was even "washable" in assorted sizes for 19 cents. Huh? Now I'm thinkin' there's a clover to certainly look over.

And, a fountain syringe would only cost you 29 cents. OK. Then there were "horehound" medicated cough drops for 12 cents and 5-cent "shubs" tobacco at two for 6 cents.

Here's the bargain of the day, though. An electric heater was 89 cents.  

So, for about $1.50, you could fire up the heat, have a smoke and soak your feet. Or, you could lather up with some 39-cent Noxema for shaving and soak in the tub with some luxurious 10-cent "health" Lifebuoy soap on sale at four bars for 19 cents.

What to do with that clover set, though?

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