CVS customer speaking on couch in front of tan wall with caption 'Locked Items at CVS' 'the locked items at CVS have gone too far tonight' (l) CVS Pharmacy building with sign (c) CVS customer holding Werther's Originals speaking on couch in front of tan wall with caption 'I had to page an employee to help me purchase werther's original' (r)

YES Market Media/Shutterstock @ryankristopik/TikTok (Licensed)

‘Since when are soft caramels a controlled substance’: TikToker says employee had to unlock candy for him at CVS

'She needed to see your ID to make sure you were 90.'


Sarah Kester


Posted on Mar 22, 2023   Updated on Mar 22, 2023, 1:37 pm CDT

When you shop at retail stores, you expect certain items like razors and expensive electronics to be under lock and key. But what about candy?

A TikToker named Ryan (@ryankristopik) was in for a surprise when he had to fetch an employee to unlock the candy case for him—and now he’s speaking out. 

“The locked items at CVS have gone too far tonight,” he wrote in the text overlay of his viral video, which by Tuesday had been viewed more than 279,200 times. 


set 👏🏼 them 👏🏼 free 👏🏼

♬ original sound – Ryan Kristopik

“Tonight, I wasn’t trying to buy razors. I wasn’t trying to buy baby formula. I had to page an employee to help me purchase Werther’s Original,” he said while holding up the bag of candy. 

“Since when are soft caramels a controlled substance in the United States of America,” he added. 

Unless those gold-colored candies are made of actual gold, a 2.65-ounce bag of Werther’s Original caramel candies costs just $2.49 at CVS. Given the low cost, many people agree with Ryan’s concerns. 

“The grandma black market is intense lol,” one user wrote, poking fun at the fact that seniors love their candy. 

“She needed to see your ID to make sure you were 90,” another added. 

“This screams nyc,” a user wrote, highlighting the fact that robbery, burglary, and other crimes in the state are up 22% since last year. 

Another TikTok user (@christxiee) highlighted this in her video with the caption, “Kinda crazy but also high crime rate i guess,” with a disappointed face emoji. 


Kinda crazy but also high crime rate i guess 😔

♬ BIG MAD – Ktlyn

In her video, the text overlay read, “Only in NYC that everything in CVS are locked up,” while she walked down an aisle with regular items behind bars. 

“Even regular body washes, tooth paste, and toothbrush. If you want anything, you have to contact assistant on getting it for you.”

The increase in theft isn’t limited to New York City. According to a survey by the Retail Industry Leaders Association and the Buy Safe America Coalition, almost 70% of retailers dealt with a rise in organized retail crime in 2021.

This is said to have begun during the COVID-19 pandemic. And now, with inflation on the rise, grocery store giants are feeling the effects as more people feel brazen to steal items like meat and cheese. 

Many users in the comments of Ryan’s video shared their own experiences of low-cost items being untouchable behind glass.

“Had to ask an employee to unlock……cvs brand bar soap,” this user commented. “I had to ask them to unlock deodorant… almost went without,” seconded another. 

“My CVS has locked up the fridges of water and soda,” commented a third. 

People also said it was embarrassing to ask employees to unlock certain items. “I needed to page one for Laxatives. Like can you just unlock them to spare us embarrassment,” this woman shared. 

“Me pushes button for pepto ‘ASSISTANCE NEEDED IN STOMACH RELIEF ASILE,’” another added. 

These strict systems have left people wondering how far retailers will go to lock up items. 

“I could see everything being locked one day, and there being only one employee who’s carrying all the keys,” this user commented. 

The Daily Dot reached out to @ryankristopik via TikTok comment and CVS by email. 

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*First Published: Mar 22, 2023, 1:36 pm CDT