A Sign About Shoplifting Tampons Caused A Debate About Snitching And The Period Tax

Anyone who gets their period knows that maintaining your hygiene level during that time can cost a lot of money. While reusable menstrual cups have become more mainstream, they aren’t a viable alternative to pads or tampons for many people and require a more significant upfront investment in most cases. A lack of access to menstrual products is an issue around the world, where getting their period can keep some children from going to school.

Here in the U.S., there is considerable debate on how these products are taxed as “luxury items,” though they’re clearly necessities. There is currently a push for “menstrual equality,” as the New York Times reports, meaning equal access to hygiene products as well as education about reproductive health. Activists are also pushing for laws that will obligate prisons, shelters, schools and government buildings to provide free menstrual products, and for states to exempt these products from a sales tax.

While most people aren’t necessarily immersed in menstrual equality on a day-to-day basis, the average person who has experienced it can understand what would be at stake if you couldn’t afford these products. That’s probably why this photo shared by Twitter user @oonskie is being talked about. It’s an image of a shelf in a grocery store that has a placard that reads, “Help us build safer communities–report shoplifting to a member of the staff.”

It’s placed over the tampons and pads.

“We really need a genuine conversation as a society about what ‘safety’ means,” they captioned it.

The image sparked a lot of angry responses, from all sorts of positions. Some people who work in grocery stores weighed in to say that no one on the clock there cares if somebody is stealing some pads:

And others said that as customers, they couldn’t care less either:

And there were a lot of comparisons to programs for hanging out free condoms:

Looks like the CEOs will have to come down and police the aisles themselves, but I have a feeling that wouldn’t make them feel very “safe.”