The Tamponzi Scheme: How America Is Unfairly Capitalizing On “That Time Of The Month”


I trust that anyone with a basic understanding of economics wouldn’t ignore the price of something blatantly expensive yet utterly worthless. But apparently no one else (on Google at least) has ever wondered why tampons (literally just cotton and string) are so expensive!!! Frankly, I’m shocked because there are crazier feminists than me out there.

I can’t be the only girl who has ever thought it’s an outrage that a box of 36 Tampax Pearls (no horrifying cardboard for me, thx) can cost as much as $10.99!! Are we all so ashamed about the Walgreens checkout man knowing we’re on our period that we don’t even think about the math? The CEO of Procter & Gamble, who to me resembles a little white cottony tampon, has.

Wants to be your tampon.

Wants to be your tampon.

Let’s say one 36-count box covers roughly ummm, what, like 1.5 periods? Well that amounts to almost $100 a year that you pay just because you were born female! At that rate, Procter & Gamble (the mega-corporation that owns Tampax) stands to make something like $4,000 off of each girl during the course of her reproductive years. Creepy, right?

The future-lawyer in me wants to play devil’s advocate about whether or not this is fair:

  1. Do these insane prices really reflect the true cost of production of a cotton ball with a knot tied on the end?
  2. Or is it more consistent with the scarcity created by a constant and completely predictable demand — basically the entire female population aged 12-50?
  3. Is it discriminatory for corporations to charge above-market prices when it disadvantages women — who depend on these products in order to lead a normal life?
  4. Was Jack Donaghy from 30 Rock right when he said, “Market research shows young adult females will buy almost anything?”
  5. And are plastic applicator tampons just one of those things we’re hooked on that we don’t really need?

Conclusion: AW HAAAYYL NAW.

I am a bra-wearing, underarm-shaving, modern American lady and damn it, I enjoy my creature comforts! Look, as the princesses that we are, we always want wayyyyyy more/better beauty and bath products than we truly need. But I have no patience for an argument that we were all meant to Red-Tent it (grown-woman points if you got that reference) or use…pads. I’m sorry but that is just SICK and NOT an alternative.

Like I said, this price-gauging phenomenon is suspiciously absent from the Zeitgeist. But maybe we could bring this issue to light if we were, like, proud (but in a non-hippie way) of our tampons? Maybe elaborate gestures of ladylike modesty — not wanting to be seen making a tampon purchase — sneaking a tampons up your sleeve into the bathroom at work — are ways we let white-haired old-dudes embarrass us into just shelling out money. Personally, I think the world would be a wonderful place if tampons were just always chilling in the bathroom, for free, ready for us. You don’t see guys putting a quarter in a machine for toilet paper do you?

What do y’all think? Have you ever noticed this?

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