Where have all the tampons gone?
There's no excuse for a shortage. Period.
I think I mentioned that we recently moved from San Francisco to New York, by way of Boston. One of the few things I noticed in each place, when I went to CVS or Walgreens or Stop & Shop, was that I couldn’t find any tampons. So I sought out a simple explanation, and reached out to the big tampon makers to ask whether there was a shortage. They were not helpful, which got my Spidey sense tingling, and led to my most recent story:
If you’re a journalist, and you reach out to a company, and they give you an answer like 'the reason you can’t find tampons is because Amy Schumer did a commercial and now everyone is buying so many tampons,’ you are basically contractually obligated to look into this story. Because that is a BS explanation if there ever was one. Suddenly women see Amy Schumer on TV (does anyone even watch TV commercials anymore??) and they start having periods and using tampons? I don’t think so.
This story was tough because there is not really any market data about tampons, and the tampon companies themselves—and one male analyst—kept stonewalling. But I kept finding people who would go to dozens of stores and not find any tampons, and it irked me that there was clearly something going on and no one wanted to talk about it.
This story reminds me a little bit of the story I did last year where I tried to shop only at women-owned businesses for a week, because one female CEO argued to me that the reason there is a tampon shortage, and a formula shortage, and a shortage of hormone replacement therapy for menopausal women, is that men are running the government and companies and making decisions about what to prioritize. Maybe you agree with that or maybe you don’t, but it is an interesting argument.
I don’t think I got to the bottom of the tampon shortage, but editors will only give you so many days to get to the bottom of the tampon shortage until they would like you to do something else. So if you have any intel on why this product in particular is affected that goes beyond what my story says, let me know! There is a running theme between tampons and formula in that they are both pretty regulated, which makes them harder to manufacture, but I’m not going to argue that we shouldn’t regulate medical devices or formula. But both formula and tampons are only manufactured in a few factories throughout the country, so maybe someone needs to be paying closer attention when these factories run into trouble?
Here’s the story again, and my women-owned business story:
The last thing I will share is that people on Twitter went bonkers over my Steamboat Springs housing story, because TIME did a provocative tweet:
America needs to end its love affair with single-family homes. One town is discovering it’s a tough sell ti.me/3mbrh37
If you want to see how much Americans love their single-family homes, just read my mentions. I think maybe this proves my point?