Recently, I’ve had the kind of fun that comes with having an unexpected period at a gym during a workout. Thankfully, I wore black that day and a friend was with me to offer support when I learned there were no tampons in the women’s bathroom. What?! This is a customer service, health and sanitation issue.
This is an upscale gym that I infrequently patron. The interior is sleek and modern. The women’s bathroom and locker area are big, have large mirrors and cushy cream-colored seating in the dressing area – you could host a party in there.
The vanity area is stocked with hand soap, Q-tips, mouthwash and cups with which to swish and rinse. However, there are NO tampons/sanitary napkins. Really?! You go through so much effort to make sure one end of our bodies is fragrantly fresh, clean and hygienic, but ignore the other end?
I can see it now –
Regular upper-class gym members, heatedly pointing out that blood isn’t part of the gym’s décor. They demand a refund, or at least a discount on the membership that month.
I asked the young, tall, polite, cheekily smiling, gentleman at the front desk if they have any feminine napkins/tampons in the emergency supply kit. Because, when it’s unexpected like this, it may be an emergency – right?
Our exchange after my request:
Gym Concierge – “ I’m sorry we don’t have any in supply. You’re the first person who has asked me about it.”
Me – “Wow!” I say (my eyes widening in disbelief). “NONE of your other female patrons have asked you about it? Sign me up for whatever magical exercise program they’re taking that stops their periods in its tracks.”
Gym Concierge – While laughing, and maybe a bit embarrassed, he says again, “I’m sorry.”
Me – “Yes, it’s a sorry situation, but not your fault though. Please tell your management that providing these items are a health and sanitation service for your customers. Thanks.” (I plan to send this blog to their corporate office, too.)
It IS sorry. It’s sorry that tampons can be more expensive than the other goods offered at this gym. My friend pointed out that there is an old tax applied to them as a “luxury item.” What?! This is no luxury, it’s a necessity! Last I checked luxuries are nice-to-have items – liquor, or a designer watch. Feminine napkins/tampons, like toilet paper are basic essentials.
I think it would be more work and expense to deal with unclean facilities, stains on cream-colored furniture AND keep the gym goers calm about it; instead of having have a small supply of feminine products in the women’s bathroom. Schools in other parts of the U.S. are offering them for free, so why can’t retail and service businesses see the necessity, too?
Here is a petition to make sure the tampon tax is removed and to make it easier for companies/institutions to go with the flow – stock feminine products for their patrons/customers. Share your thoughts in the comments.