A panic is sweeping the internet. For weeks now I’ve been seeing comments sprinkled across forums and news articles along the lines of, “My favorite o.b. tampons are gone–what should I try instead?” I didn’t think much of it, I’m not a fan of o.b. But you can’t ignore a rumor when the NY Times confirms that there’s truth in it:
Bonnie Jacobs, a spokeswoman for McNeil, said that the company had discontinued the ultra line but that other o.b. products should be available soon.
“o.b. tampons experienced a temporary supply interruption that has resulted in some stores being out of stock,” Ms. Jacobs wrote in an e-mail message. “We are working hard to bring supply back in line with demand and expect these stores to be restocked soon. We apologize to o.b. customers who may have been inconvenienced.”
Ms. Jacobs did not elaborate on what caused the “temporary supply interruption.”
The shortage began in September, and now boxes are selling on eBay for up to $130. Talk about brand loyalty!
Women all over are sincerely distressed. Far more than this limp description from a male writer on Consumerist:
… finding a blank space on the store shelf where you expect to find your favorite tampon can be a bit of an aggravation.
Spoken like someone who’s never realized that he forgot to pack his supplies and his period is here early, at the start of a long day away from home.
As a blog about women, we have a natural interest in things that have to do with our woman-bits. But this is also a feminist blog. Carey Goldberg, of Boston’s NPR branch, explains it best:
o.b.s are not just tampons. They’re iconic, representative of the branch of the feminist movement that encouraged women to become comfortable with their own bodies. (Because o.b.s have no applicator, women need to get a little more intimate with themselves when inserting them.)
If the very idea of getting up close and personal with your lady bits alarms you, then o.b.s are not for you. If you put a premium on privacy (they’re small), being environmentally friendly (no applicator, less garbage), and are comfortable with your body, then they might well be.
As for me? I bought a box of o.b.s once without knowing what they were. I used them for that day because I had to, and I was rather miffed. No applicator? Come on, I was in a public bathroom! I consider Less Mess to be one of the prime advantage of tampons. The box has sat in my drawer ever since, untouched. Emergencies-only.
I am now a sworn devotee of menstrual cups, specifically the DivaCup. Ladies, if you’re mourning the lack of your favorite tampon, I highly suggest you try a cup. You’re already comfortable fiddling around Down There, and cups put ANY sort of packaged product to shame when it comes to money and garbage.
That said, I wholeheartedly sympathize. I like the pads I like (back-up) and I get very upset when I can’t find them. I know how you o.b. fans are feeling. And it’s way more than “a bit” aggravated.