Office Etiquette: 10 Drugstore Items That Can Save Your Day

By Diane Gottsman


Within the course of a typical workday, life can dish up a wide array of curveballs, surprises and mini-crises. The key to navigating through many of these emergencies can be solved with items from the nearest drugstore. Besides the standards, like breath fresheners and gum, which are absolutely necessary after your first cup of coffee, you can find an assortment of “life savers” when you are in a pinch. Stocking up means you can confidently move through your day ready for almost any situation.

1. Insoles. Sometimes looking good can be painful if your new shoes aren’t made for your daily work routine. A pair of cushy insoles will make walking in those heels a little more bearable.

2. Lunch substitutes. An assortment of energy bars, dried fruit and nuts will provide fuel for those times when going out to lunch is not happening. Some drugstores even have fresh grab-and-go lunch options, including fresh fruit, which will do a good job at curbing your appetite and keeping you happy and healthy.

3. An extra battery charger. Don’t wait until your only phone charger gets lost, misplaced or dies. Keep a spare around so you are never caught off guard. Designate it for office use only and you won’t run the risk of leaving it on the subway or losing it while traveling back and forth to work every day.

4. Greeting cards. Drugstores usually have a great assortment of birthday cards when you have forgotten your favorite office friend’s special day. While you are there, pick out a few extra blank cards and you will be ready for any occasion.

5. Nail polish. If you look down and see cracked and chipped nails bouncing across your keyboard, run — don’t walk — to the nearest drugstore. Your professional image can be tarnished by your ratty nails. The drugstore is also the perfect place to add a few updated colors to your seasonal nail wardrobe. There are so many choices of colors; you can’t go wrong by purchasing multiples, along with a topcoat and lip gloss to match. Most drug stores carry top brands and are worth the savings.

6. A magazine or a book. Though technically not an “office emergency” item, there’s nothing better to refresh or inspire you than taking a short reading break during lunch. Whether time allows for a lunch in the park or just 15 minutes over a sandwich behind a closed office door, reading a good book, or the latest magazine, can be a mini-vacation for the mind.

7. Personal supplies. Ibuprofen, dental floss picks, antibiotic first aid ointment, over-the-counter allergy medicine and Band-Aids are just a walk around the corner. These are all items that can truly save the day in an emergency. Buy them and keep them on hand so they are ready when the need arises. For contact lens wearers, get a small bottle of multipurpose solution and an extra case to store along with a spare pair of contacts.

8. Drugstore makeup. Don’t underestimate that inexpensive, aka “cheap” eyeliner at the makeup counter when you are checking out. It will not only do the trick when you are in a bind, but may become your favorite drug store “go to” makeup when you need a quick pick me up after a long day. Using finds from the corner store, create a desk-drawer makeup bag that duplicates your main makeup staples, along with travel-size toiletry items such as deodorant, toothpaste, wrinkle spray, and static guard.

9. Temporary hem tape. A loose hem on an otherwise gorgeous pair of pants can ruin your outfit and your day. Look for hem tape, or settle for double sided tape to hold up your hem when all else fails. If you can find a travel size sewing kit, you won’t need either types of tape and can sew on your loose button as well.

10. Colleagues sniffling and boss sneezing? Dart to the drugstore for some extra hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes. Keeping your hands clean and your desk, keyboard and phone wiped down may ward off a nasty virus. Hand sanitizer can also play double duty as an emergency deodorizer if you left the house without a swipe or spritz. Just a few drops neutralizes odor and dissolves quickly — just don’t make a habit of using it in place of your daily deodorant.