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ISSUE 120 VOL 10 PUBLISHED 12/6/2006

Tampons trouble in Buntrock

By Lindsey Myers
Staff Writer

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

This past Friday evening, as I was wrestling my way through Norwegian sweater-clad grandparents acting like they owned the place, trying desperately to get my meal and enjoy it in peace, something life-altering happened: My period started. Okay, well, it wasn’t life-altering, but it certainly altered my immediate life priorities. In that moment, I changed from a happy, hungry individual focused on the impending feast into someone hell-bent on promptly taking herself (with quarter in tow) to the nearest bathroom.

In true girl fashion, I made the journey to the nearest bathroom with a girlfriend, and relief washed over me as I pushed through the door and saw the glimmering, silver beacon of hope in front of me. It was as if it had always been waiting for me and my quarter, patiently knowing that the day would come when “Aunt Flo” would visit unexpectedly and need attending to. I deposited my quarter, turned the handle, heard the melodic sound of “ca-chunk,” and reached my expectant fingers into the machine to retrieve my prize. Lo and behold… - - nothing. What I had assumed was a beacon of hope was actually a cruel torture machine, eating my quarter without providing me the very item that was growing progressively more vital with every passing moment.

Not one to be disheartened and having no other options, I trotted to the next nearest bathroom. This time I took care to check that the tiny, nearly unreadable “empty” notch was not protruding, and upon finding that it wasn’'t, again enthusiastically deposited my quarter, this time hastily turning the crank instead of luxuriating in its mechanical liberation. Again: nothing.

This is about the point in the story where Lindsey is becoming very agitated. Imagine, dear reader, how you have felt when you were dying of thirst and found your trusty soda machine was out of your favorite kind of beverage, and upon resorting to less-favorite flavors, found that it’'s out of everything but some nasty diet RC Cola. Now add to this the extra facet of pressure and humiliation a woman feels when she is trying to do everything she can to be discreet and elegant but is unable to find any product that would make it even remotely possible. Obviously, I was mad. I was out 50 cents with nothing to show for it, and I did not have time to run back to my room before Christmas Fest.

No matter, I thought: Buntrock has plenty of bathrooms. Surely one of them will be equipped with the Holy Grail I am seeking. This is apparently not true. I went to every single bathroom in the Buntrock complex and not a single one of them was stocked with even one tampon. Not. A. One. Oh, and pads? All out.

This raises several feminist hairs on my neck. I’'m a discreet person and enjoy keeping it as under wraps as possible as to when I’'m on my period. It’'d be really nice if, when that occasion arose, I could count on one of half a dozen bathrooms in a central public building to have at least one product that could help me from being uncomfortable and/or humiliated. I even went into the Pause mainstage bathroom, and when I asked a Pause employee if they had access to the stock, they acted as if they’'d never even heard of a tampon. Also, it'’d be really fantastic if the machines actually denoted when they were empty, instead of now, when only half of them were nice enough to tell me before I deposited my money.

As it was, I ended up spending three dollars in quarters and taking a field trip over the entire building with no actual relief. I finally waited in line for 20 minutes at the Bookstore to buy 30 tampons, when all I needed was one. The worst part of this story? I’'ve had three friends since this event confirm that they have experienced similar tampon-droughts where none are to be found in the entire building.

Shame on whoever is in charge of keeping these machines stocked. I find it very hard to believe that in one day, the traffic of Christmas Fest-goers (most of whom are post-menopausal anyway) used up every single machine’'s stock.

Many of us women have gotten pretty tough about our periods; we don'’t expect to be pampered, nor do we demand that every bathroom have a box of chocolates and a personal masseuse with heating pads and oils. All we want, and frankly, what we deserve, is the assurance that, in an emergency, we can count on our public facilities to be stocked in what they claim to provide. I only hope that this article makes its way to whomever’'s duty it is to perform this basic task and that they will promptly start giving this issue a little more thought. Oh, and if you get a chance, I’'d really love my $3.25 back, feel free to stick it in my P.O.

Staff Writer Lindsey Myers is a junior from Appleton, Wis. She majors in English, in history, and in political science.

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