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The Great American Tampon Shortage

As if things couldn’t get any worse

By Jennifer GeerPublished 10 months ago 3 min read
Photo by Duncan Shaffer on Unsplash

So far this year, Americans have experienced shortages in baby formula, camp counselors, child care workers, lifeguards, and swim lesson teachers. It’s not a stretch to say, it’s been a rough year for parents. Add in record-high gas prices, and this summer does not look to be a fun one.

Prices were already up nearly 10% for the year on tampons. And now, for months, social media has been warning of a tampon shortage in certain areas of America. In fact, #tamponshortage is a trending topic on Twitter.

“The Great Tampon Shortage of 2022: The Supply Chain Problem No One’s Talking About”

Despite this, it took an article from Time for anyone to take notice. In The Great Tampon Shortage of 2022: The Supply Chain Problem No One’s Talking About, the author, Alana Semuels, states, “In the last few months, I’ve visited stores in New York, Massachusetts, and California — no tampons.”

Semuels also found women from Washington DC complaining of shortages on an online group, and she interviewed Dana Marlowe, the founder of I Support the Girls about the shortage.

Marlowe’s nonprofit group provides bras and menstrual hygiene for people experiencing homelessness. She says her group has been struggling to find tampons for months, “What’s been going on for a couple months is that organizations call us up and say, ‘we need tampons,’ and we go to our warehouse and there’s nothing there.”

A recent tweet from I Support the Girls shows sparse shelves in Indianapolis and Maryland.

“Our team’s photo of local pharmacies last week in Maryland and Indianapolis showing empty shelves where #Tampons use to be. #TamponShortage — We’ve heard your DMs of empty shelves from Iowa to Toronto and NYC to LA. Have you seen shelves near you that look like this?”

I haven’t noticed shortages yet in my local area

I haven’t seen empty shelves of tampon products yet in the Chicago suburbs. A quick check online shows tampons are currently available at the local Walgreens, Targets, and Meijer stores.

However, I did notice certain absorbency levels (ultra and super plus) were harder to find and required ordering online.

Why are tampons in short supply?

There are several factors leading to the shortages. Insider explains the cost of materials for producing tampons is up, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is limiting the availability of plastics and absorbency materials used in tampons.

What does Amy Schumer have to do with anything?

After the Time article, retailers and manufacturers admitted the shortage is real. In a strange twist, Procter & Gamble (makers of Tampax) told Time the tampon shortage is due to a successful marketing campaign by Amy Schumer.

Schumer responded on Instagram by saying, “Whoa, I don’t even have a uterus.”

It’s ridiculous to blame Schumer

Even if Schumer’s ads were to blame for a rise in purchases of Tampax tampons, the shortage includes other brands.

Besides, tampons are not a “fun” item women buy on a whim because they see a celebrity using one. Instead, they are a necessary hygiene product as critical to life for people who menstruate as toilet paper is for everyone else.

What can you do?

If you find your shelves are bare of tampons, there are other options to help you get through the shortage. You can try looking for different brands, some organic brands may be easier to find. Other alternatives include menstrual cups and period underwear.

What about you? Have you had trouble finding tampons on your store shelves? Let me know in the comments.


This story was previously published on Medium.

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About the Creator

Jennifer Geer

Writing my life away. Runner/mama/wife/eternal optimist/coffee enthusiast. Masters degree in Psychology.

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Very well written. Keep up the good work!

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Comments (5)

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  • Luis Bezanson7 days ago

    That was so amazing.

  • Pryor Da costa2 months ago

    Great Story!

  • Clyde E. Dawkins10 months ago

    Sexists always want to blame Amy Schumer for something. Excellent story

  • Irene Mielke10 months ago

    I actually saw that there were donation boxes for tampons in the malls near my house for the food-banks. Great topic.

  • Hillora Lang10 months ago

    I just heard about this added shortage the other day. I think it hasn't gotten much coverage (yet!) because half the country is male, and men don't want to know about periods and other female stuff. ignores it. Thanks for this informative article!

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