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People online agree that shoplifting tampons is OK

A store is receiving backlash for a sign that asks customers to snitch on tampon thieves.


Esther Bell

Internet Culture

Posted on Jan 30, 2020   Updated on May 19, 2021, 4:40 pm CDT

It’s rare to see people agree on social media, but one woman’s tweet about shoplifting has everyone in consensus about right and wrong.

Twitter user @oonskie posted a photo Wednesday of a store sign that reads, “Help us build safer communities–report shoplifting to a member of the staff.” The sign is notably located in front of boxes of tampons and pads.

“Spotted by @HMPSurvival. We really need a genuine conversation as a society about what ‘safety’ means,” oonskie tweeted.

Twitter users quickly banded together to defend the hypothetical shoplifters. “If I see someone shoplifting pads or tampons im helping them like we in this together now fam,” Twitter user @INDIEWASHERE wrote.

Others were similarly quick to look the other way. “If I see someone stealing tampons my lips are SEALED eyes SHUT didn’t see a thing,” Twitter @emmymhartman wrote.

Some users pointed out the difference between a community and a grocery store.

“Don’t grass on your class: Tesco’s board of directors is *not* your community,” Twitter user @dogsectionpress wrote.

Tampons and pads are still subject to a higher tax than other “necessities,” like food and medicine, and can be hard to access in public spaces, so many users took the opportunity to advocate for free and accessible sanitary products.

“Shoplifting isn’t the problem. It’s the fact that sanitary products aren’t free and accessible to those who menstruate,” Twitter user @TaylorEenaHoe wrote.

Some users pointed out that communities aren’t really “safe” when residents can’t afford basic human needs.

“If i see someone stealing pads, I’m helping them out because a safer community is when someone doesn’t have to steal for a basic need,” Twitter user @JaysVillas1 wrote.

And some Twitter users even started meme-ing the sign to show how they really feel.

“Help us build safer communities–shoplift,” one user’s edit reads.

Though the signs were allegedly posted all over the store, not just by the tampons, Twitter users were nevertheless outraged. The “tampon tax” or “pink tax” has become a hot-button issue in recent years. While some personal care items, like ChapStick and Viagra, are exempt from higher sales tax, tampons and pads are not. Consumers point out that even though the tax may seem small, it adds up over time–as women on average get their period once a month for roughly 40 years, and they end up paying more than some say they should for basic hygiene.


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*First Published: Jan 30, 2020, 4:56 pm CST