If Dracula were interested in drugstores, he'd shop at Sargent's in Chicago. In fact, store manager Harvey Snitman says
he's more interested in selling leeches than pimple creams or mouthwash.
The worm-like creatures, which sport three razor-sharp teeth, are among the drugstore's hottest selling items. Though
the store manager tries to stock about 100 of the wiggly, squiggly blood suckers at all times, he can easily sell that
supply within a month or two. Known technically as Hirudo Medicinalus, or by Snitman as "Little Friendly
Draculas," the medicinal leeches are primarily used by customers to withdraw
blood from black eyes. But other shoppers, from as far away as New York, believe they relieve migraine headaches, phlebitis and
the swelling of bruises.
The leeches, which the store imports from Russia, Poland and Hungary through a London broker, run about three to four inches
long and retail for $6.50. While the price may seem steep, Snitman is quick to point out that the little creatures can be
used more than once. After gorging itself on a luscious shiner, for example, a leech needs time to digest its intake before being
called on again for service.
Physicians prescribed leeches widely until the late 1800's, but their popularity has dropped off since. So, if you're in the
market and can't find them at your corner drugstore, stop by Sargent's. Just say Dracula sent you.
Campus Life, January, 1980, p. 23.