The case of the moldy muff plugs

Every now and then, I come across a headline that causes me to throw up in my mouth a little.

Don’t Worry, That’s Just Bread Mold On Your Tampon

This headline required several readings before I could actually dive into the meaty part of the article. Plus, I needed a visual before I could carry on with my day.

Let’s take a look at the story, shall we? via The Consumerist.

“Normally, Danielle wouldn’t have pulled her Kotex tampon out of the applicator for inspection before using it. I mean, who does that? One happened to fall out of the applicator, though, and that’s when she saw them. The splotches of blackish mold. “Makes you wonder how many times things like this happen to tampons and we don’t have a clue,” she wrote. Um, yes.

She posted photos on her blog, along with the response that she received from a Kimberly-Clark representative when she e-mailed in the same photos. Their response, paraphrased: “don’t worry about that mysterious substance that you almost inserted into your vagina. It’s just bread mold.” Then they promised to send her coupons for more Kotex tampons. Thanks?”

Who does inspect a tampon before using it? I sure as shit don’t, because once it’s out of the little protective casing, insertion is close to impossible unless you happen to be the proud owner of a jumbo jet-sized snatch. I never understood how anyone could use o.b. Tampons — you know, the non-applicator tampons that are used by women who into all things-natural. (wonder what they do for vibrators.) For those of you (read: men who are somewhat clueless about lady bits) who don’t know what I’m talking about, just THINK about it for a moment or two.

“Dear Danielle,

Thanks for contacting us about your experience with KOTEX® SECURITY® tampons. We are very sorry that you were disappointed with your recent purchase of our product.

We understand how distressing it can be to find mold on a product that is used for personal hygiene and apologize for your concern. In instances where it has been found, we conducted tests on the product involved and have found the mold to be a common environmental species that carries no health risk. The vegetative mold is similar in nature to mold on vegetables or in baked goods.

You can be confident that we are diligently reviewing our manufacturing process to ensure this problem does not recur. Because our customers and their well-being are very important to us, we want to assure you that the quality and safety of our products are our top priorities. We apply very rigorous procedures to our products to ensure that they are safe for their intended use.

With the hope that you will continue to use SECURITY tampons with confidence, we are sending you some coupons through the mail for your use on future purchases.
[redacted]
Consumer Services, Kimberly-Clark Corp.
Lead the world in essentials for a better life.”

Nice to know that a pharma company is equating their products with baked goods. What this little letter tells me is that all we gals really need to do is buy some bread sticks and use ’em as feminine protection because that’s what Kimberly-Clark is inadvertently comparing their little ‘oops’ to. Next time I’m cruising the crimson, I’ll just mosey on into the Olive Garbage and pick up some of their famous bread sticks and go to town! Don’t know how I’ll explain the resulting yeast infection though. Perhaps I should think this one through a scosch more.

Oh and the coupons, well that’s just good business. *AHEM*

“Danielle didn’t find this particularly comforting. The reply came quickly, and knowing that had a form letter ready to go for cases of tampon mold is a little unsettling. She noted on her blog:

‘Yeah, that’s real reassuring. I was grossed out in the first place and their response just makes it worse! Seems this is a fairly common problem … and that is a cause for serious concern. I doubt most people get as lucky as I did – I just so happened to accidentally expose the mold and I am so glad that I did! Most people wouldn’t be so fortunate.

Thanks for the coupons, Kotex, but I can confidently say I’ll never be purchasing any of your products ever again.’

 Then her blog post went viral. Readers wondered whether she had faked the mold with a Sharpie for attention, or stored the tampons in a damp cabinet. (Isn’t that why they’re sealed in little plastic wrappers?) At readers’ urging, she approached a local news outlet which plans to send the tampon for independent lab testing. But in the meantime, someone higher up at Kimberly-Clark noticed, and reached out.”

Remember the whole Toxic Shock Syndrome kerfuffle back in the 80s? Rely Tampons were responsible for several cases — a few of them fatal — of TSS. As a result, this particular brand of tampons was given a new tag-line “Die With Rely” by a bunch of smartasses and eventually pulled from the shelves. Yep, our family had a field day with that saying. But, I digress. One would think that because of this particular type of feminine protection’s history, the parent company would rethink the whole creepy form letter signed, sealed and delivered with coupons.

I’m glad Danielle took the viral route.

“Dear Danielle,

I just read your message to us on Facebook and I wanted to tell you that we are so sorry you had this experience! In [redacted]’s eagerness to get back to your e-mail right away, she unfortunately sent you incorrect information concerning this issue.

Nothing is more important to us than consumer safety. Any discoloration or abnormality with our tampons is extremely rare, and we want to do a full investigation to determine the source and follow-up with our manufacturing facility. So if you still have the tampon, can you please return it to us by using the prepaid mailing envelope we’re sending you?

We’d also really like to get on the phone with you and find out more to help us in our investigation. Please give us a call at [redacted] and ask for [redacted], or reply to this e-mail and give us your phone number and the best time to contact you.

Again, we are so sorry this happened and thank you so much for getting in touch with us and giving us the chance to help make sure this doesn’t happen again.

[redacted]
Account Executive
Consumer Services, Kimberly-Clark Corp.
Lead the world in essentials for a better life.”

In other words, you embarrassed us on social media. See, we were so hoping that you would view the mold as natural, and wouldn’t have issues with sticking the offending tampons up your hoo-ha during your monthly visitor since some mold is actually good for you (see bleu cheese and penicillin). But since you’re all about blogging (kids these days!) and using the Twitter and the Facebook, you’ve sullied our rep but since we can’t say that, we’ll have to gosh, change our shitty for-profit ways and start making safer products for 52 percent of the American population. Shit howdy … we shoulda jumped on that War on Women bandwagon when we had a chance.

What total choads we are.

8 thoughts on “The case of the moldy muff plugs

  1. I suppose soon there could soon be expiration dates and storage instructions on tampon boxes. I’m with you on who the hell opens a tampon to check it out before insertion? Since I’m not a member of Cirque du Soleil, those applicator-less O.B.’s were a disaster for me to insert, too.

  2. OMG I am very very disturbed by this. So glad I am out of that phase of my life, however, now I think of my teen in the house. On the flipside I found it fascinating to find so many eco period products out there. Thanks for bringing this was out Julia…

  3. “I never understood how anyone could use o.b. Tampons — you know, the non-applicator tampons that are used by women who into all things-natural. (wonder what they do for vibrators.”

    By the end of the post you answered your own question — Olive Garden bread sticks should do nicely, and they’re pre-molded to Kimberly Clark specifications. The garlic is a delightful bonus.

    This is very funny and well done. Have you ever considered writing professionally?

  4. Holy crap, this is NOT JUST A women’s issue. i discovered mold on my condoms, but was reassured by the

    maker, Church & Dwight, this was a harmless virus known as a Trojan Horse.

    Very reassuring.

    Best
    W

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