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Why Tampons are Like Granola Bars


A granola bar and a tampon, illustrating their similarity when it comes to scarcity
Granola bars and Tampons have basic economics in common

There are only a few reasons why school districts don’t budget for and provide free period products to students, in the restrooms, where they are needed. One of them is the belief that the products will be “abused.”


Yeah, you read that correctly. Abused is the word we hear. As in, students will take too many products from a basket or dispenser, or that they will treat them disrespectfully.


So, let’s just get into it, because SO MUCH OF THIS ARGUMENT IS NOT BASED IN FACT.


  • It is fair to say that there may be some vandalism in that kids, when finding something new in the privacy of the bathroom, may do stupid things. They’ll open tampons and shoot them out of their applicators, or pull the strip off a pad and stick the product to the wall. It happens. To not admit it is to not recognize what we all know about kids whose development includes testing limits and using poor judgment. But here’s the thing→this does not last. And it is rare.


  • Now, let’s get to the granola*. Have you ever worked in an office where management decides snacks in the break room are a good idea? You know what happens on day one: people who don’t even like granola bars grab a few to stash in their desks. Why? Because they can. Because it’s a novelty. And most importantly, because there is no guarantee that the granola bars will be there on day two.


worker hoarding snacks at office

But on days two, three, four etc., when those granola bars are still there, you and your co-workers stop swiping them because you know there is a reliable source, when and if you want a bar. The same thing happens with pads and tampons. After a short period of time, students don’t take more than they need because it’s not necessary to do so. They also don’t take more toilet paper, paper towels, or soap than they need, even though those products are in abundant supply.


What they do instead, is manage a bodily function that requires being in the bathroom, and then they get back to class. No trips to the nurse. Hopefully, fewer bleeding accidents. And a belief that their school actually cares about their dignity and education.


Honestly, can we afford not to do this?


Speaking of affording... so many simply can not afford menstrual products, which keeps them from school and work. It takes about one minute to change that for some of them. Go ahead, click here.


*Best granola recipe. Don't omit the coconut, even if you're not a fan. We wouldn't steer you wrong.


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