Today’s PMS gripe: high tampon prices

Tampons have been in the news lately with menstruators in Australia, the United Kingdom and the U.S. fighting to lift the tax on feminine hygiene products.

For those who don’t know, this means these products would be added to the list of necessities exempt from sales tax, which in the U.S. can include prescriptions, groceries and sometimes even clothes, varying from state to state.

As anyone with a uterus can attest, “that time of the month” sucks. But it sucks even more when you don’t have a tampon. Sure, most of us have them stockpiled, but there is always the occasional time away from home when you need something right away.

Of the public bathrooms around campus, most of the women’s rooms have dispensers for these things, but the needs of menstruators that do not use women’s bathrooms are completely ignored. Even when dispensers are present, they are consistently empty, and even if by chance they are full, there is the problem of cost.

One tampon costs a quarter most campus bathrooms (the exception being the Davis Center restrooms). Since these things work like a gumball machine, you have to have a physical quarter too, not just 25 cents. Let’s analyze that for a moment.

Today’s PMS gripe: high tampon prices quoteIt’s a rip off. A box of 50 Playtex tampons at Walmart costs $8.68 according to their website, which is about 17 cents a tampon. Bargain brands are even cheaper, with Walmart’s cheapest brand at about 10 cents a pop. So why is UVM charging more than that?

Anyone who needs a tampon from a bathroom dispenser is probably already having an awful day, do we really need to kick them while they’re down?

Why, in some cases, is the University charging for this at all? Tampons are a medical necessity, unless people are okay with menstruators bleeding on everything they sit on (which I’m guessing is not the case). People might say there is a cost of purchase that at least needs to be repaid, but does it?

Let’s look at the all of things the University gives away for free: T-shirts, pens, glasses, calendars, stress-relievers, movie tickets, etc. Even if we just look at genital-related products, between RAs, LivingWell and safe sex events, UVM gives away hundreds of free condoms every semester.

The University feels it can give these away by the flock, but not hygiene products? They are given too sparingly and in too few places.

I’m not trying to argue that we shouldn’t have free condoms. Free supplies for safe sex is a must on college campuses, but if the University can afford to provide buckets of free condoms, surely it can afford to provide more free tampons as well.

It’s in everyone’s best interest to provide feminine hygiene products, and spare menstruators everywhere the humiliations of wadding toilet paper up in their underwear until they get home because they don’t have a damn quarter.