This article was originally published on Better After 50.
If you are a Costco shopper, you know there is no such thing as a small Costco mistake. When you buy one of Costco's oversized products, open it, use it a bit and then find you actually aren't too keen on it, you live with the consequences -- potentially for years.
When my kids were little, about two Bagel Bites into a package of 200 or so, they decided they had certainly had enough of those. When I bought a huge package of hand warmers a few years ago, we had two particularly warm winters, and the whole package expired and they turned stiff and unusable. And after my kids left the nest, no sooner did I buy the uber-sized container of tampons, well... you can probably guess what happened.
My eldest was over the other day, and asked if she could "borrow" a tampon. I told her to take the three and a half boxes that were taking up space in my bathroom drawer -- so long as she never gave them back to me (the words "borrow" and "tampon" do not really belong in the same sentence, do they?) I added a bunch more to this package by going through old purses in my closet, cleaning myself out (and yes, I know what will happen now that there is not even one tampon in my house.)
"Wow. Fantastic! Thanks so much, mom!" my daughter said. "You must be saving a whole boatload of money now!"
"Yeah, it's great," I lied. "No PMS medicine, no tampons, no pads, no birth control pills. I'm saving a fortune." I had heard the statistic that the average American woman will, in her lifetime, use more than 11,000 tampons or pads. "Must be thousands of dollars I'll save over the next decade!"
It must be, right? I started thinking about all the money I was going to save being menopausal. Why, the tampon savings alone must be thousands of dollars over the course of the next 20 years. I got excited and started spending the savings in my head... did I see a trip to Paris in my near future? Did I see a boob job, or perhaps an eye lift? Did I see new kitchen cabinets?I started doing a little research, so I could provide Michael not only with the good news, but the research to back it up. As I Googled, I sang Dan Baird's, "I Love You, Period." Do you know that song? Perfect for research on the cost of menstruation.
"I love you Period. Do you love me, question mark? Please, Please, exclamation point! I want to hold you in parentheses..." I searched CVS.com. I searched Drugstore.com. I opened the calculator app on the phone. I did the math. How much was I going to save this year by NOT buying tampons? TA DAH....
Ta Dah? 65.61 -- Period.
What? $65.61? Could it be? I rechecked the math, then rechecked it again. It was true. A measly $65.61. And that wasn't even Costco discount prices!
So why did I think that having my period was so bloody expensive?
I made a mental list of the kinds of purchases that friends of mine make (just to be clear, I do not buy any of these): Calcium, Vitamin D, probiotics, bone health vitamins, stool softener, wrinkle creams, botox, hair color, viagra... so perhaps it is time to say sayonara to the new kitchen cabinets after all.
I informed my daughter the results of my research. "So, I guess that wasn't such a great gift after all," she said. "Maybe you should take me out to dinner."
I guess I will. It's cheaper than a Costco mistake. Or maybe I just think it is.
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