A chemist shop has perhaps the greatest potential for embarrassment of any retail location with the possible exception of a Marks and Spencer lingerie department. However, If you are unfortunate enough to find yourself in a lingerie department you can quickly make tracks for the nearest fire exit, but sometimes one is trapped in a chemist shop with nothing to do but examine the goods on all too open display. The shelves are full of things which would be much better hidden away or discretely placed within opaque brown paper bags. The Victorians had by far the healthiest attitude to what can best be described as "intimate items" : whilst a surgical truss or a sanitary towel might be an essential item - there is no need to advertise the fact.
The other day I found myself imprisoned in my local chemist shop waiting for a prescription to be dispensed. My eyes did their usual surreptitious circumnavigation - searching out potential hot-spots to be avoided - when they chanced on one of the finest sights and man can behold : a safe harbour amidst the stormy seas of nipple cream and expression pumps - a tube of Erasmic Shaving Cream.
Forget for a moment its ability to provide a safe parking lot for the cautious eyeball: in itself it is surely a thing of beauty. Examine the proportions of the box, drool over the typeface with its enlarged first and last letter, thrill at the courage of the designer who brought together the glorious conjunction of the black, the white and that particular shade of red. With Mormon-like certainty one knows that this product has never been within a thousand yards of a focus group.
I use an electric shaver and therefore have no need for shaving cream. But five minutes later I left the chemist shop gratefully clutching my bottle of pills ... and my tube of Erasmic shaving cream.