Some may cringe when reading this post, but I’m angry enough that something just has to be said. Our subject for today, ladies and gentlemen, was known as “supplies” when I was growing up. They are sometimes known as feminine products and include, pads, sanitary napkins and/or tampons. In this big, bad world of ours, we blind women can’t go to a store and ask for “supplies,” and generally I have ok experiences picking them up from a Target or drug store. I never had to ask a clerk to help me find them until the age of 23. I know it’s hard to believe, but a family member or friend always managed to help me find that particular item until then. It was the first weekend I was visiting Phil in Minneapolis. I had major stress and had an unexpected visit from “Aunt Flow” only two weeks after her last visit. We found a clerk in Walgreen’s and I sheepishly and quietly ask the male clerk for pads. In the loudest voice possible he said, “Oh you mean sanitary napkins?” With this being my first experience of this nature, I wanted to fall through the floor! Luckily he quieted his voice as I requested my brand and type.
Now we jump to the present evening, and I have absolutely no memory of buying my current “supplies”. My cycle is not regular, so it had probably been a while. I usually ask for “overnight strength” for reasons which are obvious enough not to be discussed here. It was just after midnight when I discovered my little corner of “The Red Sea” and went to get my “supplies. “I understand that “overnight strength”. have become thinner and “ultra-absorbent”. Still, I am very skeptical about whether these things are indeed “overnight”. A quick touch of the package was promising, but I was shocked to find how many of the little things were crammed into the bag when I opened it. They were so tightly put-together that one couldn’t really distinguish each one — more like each two maybe.
I am not the first blind person to have mishaps at the store. Phil had a grocery store worker who spoke English perfectly and didn’t know what Mayonnaise was. Two weeks into our marriage, we were “assisted” by a man in a grocery store who was illiterate and could barely see better than his current customers. He stopped other customers for help. (Boy, were we embarrassed and disgusted.) We definitely had some surprises after getting home with those groceries. I’ve heard of little kids telling their mothers the can had yellow stuff on it. The blind mom things it’s pineapple and gets home with corn or vice versa. Definitely inconvenient. But opening this package at midnight on a Sunday night with no other option but to try them isn’t my cup of tea. If I am unsuccessful in finding someone with time and resources to drive to the store for a quick trip to get the right thing, the bus version will take about twice as long, and I can only hope that “riding this ultra-thin white pony” in public won’t result in any visible consequences. Of course, without the security of knowing that the person “helping” me can actually read, it’s possible I may come home with the wrong thing again, although I will be a lot more careful in going over the packaging with discriminating fingers. It’s sad to me that an assumption as basic as that a clerk will pick up the specific and correct item when it is requested can’t be trusted. Is blindness a disaster? No. But it’s at times like these that it can be a royal pain!