The Sponge

There was an episode on Seinfeld where Elaine finds out that her preferred prophylactic — “The Sponge” — is being discontinued.  In a panic, she races around Manhattan buying contraceptive puffs until the store shelves are empty and her closets are full.

Me, I am not so particular when it comes to the health and beauty products.  Oh, who my kidding?  I am particular about a lot things.  Many, many things.  Most things.  Well, pretty much everything.  OK, everything.  Absolutely everything.

And of all the things I am particular about — which in case I didn’t mention, is everything — I am most particular about what I put into my body.

Always the Alvarado flax seed bread.  Never the soy crunch.  Never the sprouted barley.  Paper stick Q-tips?  Yes please.  Plastic stick?  No thanks.  Only the Reach spearmint woven dental floss.  Forget the Oral-B.  Forget the cinnamon.  Forget the waxed.

And for twenty-five years — twenty-five years — Tampax slender regular tampons.  With the cardboard applicator.  In the pink box.  Period.

They were always hard to find.  It’s a small target audience.  But, now?  They are nowhere.  Poof.  Vanished.  Disappeared.

I try all the CVSs, all the Walgreens, all the Safeways.  In Palo Alto and Menlo Park.  I check with stores off the beaten path, like the Target.  I check with stores off the high road, like the Walmart.  I check and check and check and check.

Failing to complete my mission through the normal channels, I calm myself with thoughts of  They have everything.  Absolutely everything.

Back home, I rush to the internet and start my search.  I feel great relief when I see the results.  Amazon to the rescue!  A three-box package!  Whew!  I expel the breath I didn’t realize I was holding.

Wait a minute.  The item is marked “currently unavailable”.  My heart starts to pound.  I will get my period any day.  I have checked my gym bag.  I have checked my brief case.  I have checked my travel kit.  I have checked my car.  Dash and trunk.  Alas, I have scrounged only three slender regulars to add to my tiny stash.

It’s OK, I tell myself, it’s fine.  They’ll be back in stock for the next time.  So, you’ll use something else this month.  You just have to get through one period.  Anyone can get through one period.

I want to place an order, but there is no Add to Cart button.  I look more closely.  I fill with dread.  I read “we don’t know when or if this item will be back in stock”.  They may not know, but I do.  I have seen this sentence during previous electronic shopping excursions.  It means the slender regulars are gone.  It means they are gone for good.

I learn that Customers Who Bought Tampax Slender Regulars Also Bought Annie’s Homegrown Cheddar Bunnies.  This is not helpful.  Who in their right mind would substitute snack crackers for a tampon?  Even the crackers are whole grain and organic, no one would do this.  Please!

I start rapid cycling through web stores.  No.  No.  No.  No.

Oh, I know!  I will order directly from the manufacturer.  Oh, no!  I will not.  Even Proctor & Gamble is out of stock.  What is going on here?  Was there a baby boom that produced an army of girls who are now depleting the nation’s inventory of teen size feminine hygiene products?

Suddenly, I am feeling strange.  In a way I never felt like before.  Not in my whole life.  I am not positive but I think that what I am feeling may be what is known as anxiety.  Normally, I just can’t panic.  It is not my nature.  If my vital signs were any lower, I would be dead.  Still, I think I may be in an actual tizzy.

But I am not done; no, I am far from defeated.  This fat lady has not yet begun to sing.  I am not ready to surrender because there is eBay.  Where the people go when they must find the unfindable.  When they will pay absolutely any price.

But where to look?  Under the Health & Beauty?  Or maybe by the Collectibles?

© 2013 Jaclyn Schrier. All rights reserved.

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