Authenticity or product placement?

The two stores with multiple mentions/appearances in the show are Duane Reade Drugs and Bed Bath and Beyond.  Which makes me wonder – is this authenticity of the show or product placement?  I tend to lean towards authenticity of the show. The writers see these two stores as where the characters would actually have shopped.

For example, in season six part two episode two, when Miranda and Steve happen upon the garden they choose to get married in they are carrying Duane Reade and Bed Bath and Beyond bags.

In season 4  episode 2, when Charlotte calls Anthony to tell him she wants to introduce him to Stanford,  he is carrying Bed Bath and Beyond bags. He answers the phone “What?!, Sorry thought it was my mother. Fifteen phone calls to make sure I get her the cheapest possible sheets from Bed Bath and friggin Beyond!”   (hahaha – one of my favorite lines of his!!)

In season 4 episode 1 when Carrie gets the “Dear Single” letter and brings it to breakfast the next morning, Miranda says “Soul mates only exist in the Hallmark aisle of Duane Reade drugs.”

Since the stores mentioned are in the writing, this is really what makes me lean towards authenticity and not product placement.  What do you think?  Do you think Duane Reade and Bed Bath and Beyond were ahead of their times before product placement in TV shows was everywhere you looked and they got in early?

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