I mentioned during my Eating Well On $1 A Day Challenge that men don't buy tampons and my succumbing to buying tampons for a jar of free peanut butter. One of the comments on that post was from Julinda who said:

My sister is poor and frequently visits a food pantry. She, like many other women, would appreciate your womanly products donation. She has gone without the items she needs, which is sad in this day and age. I try to help her when I can. Thank you on behalf of the woman that will use it.

Safeway had Carefree pantiliners on sale for $0.99 this week and I had 39 coupons from inserts I had collected for $1.00 off 1. Even though I knew this and had read the words from Julinda's comment, I had no plan on buying them. Getting one package of tampons for a jar of peanut butter was completely different than walking up to the cash register with 39 packages of pantiliners. I was embarrassed enough with one in my basket and so buying a bunch wasn't even a consideration.

This afternoon I was talking with a group of friends and telling them my tampon for peanut butter story. One friend asked if getting tampons and pantiliners for free was common. I said I didn't know since I really didn't pay attention to when they went on sale, but mentioned the Safeway deal and how I could buy a bunch, but that would really be embarrassing. She looked back at me and said in a stone serious face, “How embarrassed do you think those women are that are unable to pay for sanitary items when their period comes each month?”

I was ashamed. Yes, it would be slightly embarrassing for me to put 39 pantininer packages into a shopping cart and buy them, but it's a pretty pitiful embarrassment compared to how women in that situation must feel. And so this evening I went pantiliner shopping buying 39 packages worth $82.00 for $0.18 :

carefree pantiliners

carefree pantiliners receipt

free carefree pantiliners

I don't think I will ever be ashamed of buying tampons or pantiliners again…

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  1. The funny thing is that if you go through the aisle without embarrassment women think you are more manly. Why? Because the act of purchasing those items doesn’t challenge your manhood how you handle it does. Kudos to you for helping and caring regardless of personal discomfort!

  2. Uhmm.. Sorry to tell you that actually pantyliners are not tampons. Pantyliners cant replace tampons at all and it’s not really necessary for women to buy it.

  3. Christina, they’re not the same, but they’re handy for light period days. If you’re on certain types of birth control, that’s all you need most days.

  4. @Heather Yes, it did end at Safeway on the 25th, but I assume there will be other opportunities before the expire. CVS had a similar sale the week before. I will post if I see another one.

  5. I think it is great that you were willing to do this. When I had my son many years ago I needed breast pads as I was leaking all over. Hubby refused to go and I wasn’t up to it. Had to ask a friend to help me out and after that learned to improvise. There is nothing unmanly about accepting the fact that women have needs and you know what? for the most part no one knows or cares what is in your shopping cart. The only time I notice is if someone has a cart full of junk and they are using a food stamp card (they need some education). Also a person with a huge cart full of stuff and no coupons and the bill is in the hundreds of dollars, I always wonder how they can afford all the goodies in their cart.

    Happily I now have a hubby that will get me anything I need at the store if needed.

  6. i spent a few months living in a homeless shelter. the items they needed the MOST were feminine hygiene products, deodorant, and shaving cream.

    everyone thinks to donate soap and shampoo. few think about the other hygiene needs.

    it’s people like you, and donations like that, that make life for the homeless and needy just that much more comfortable and bearable. you made 39 women feel better about themselves. instead of having to resort to toilet paper wadded up while in public restrooms or rolled socks, she was able to live that week with dignity and feel just that much more human. all because you swallowed your shame and bought pantyliners.

    thank you.

  7. This was incredibly sweet and good for you for learning something, seeing a new perspective and changing your mind. I never did understand why men were so embarrassed to buy tampons. It’s not like the checkout person things *you* are going to use them! 🙂 At the very least it means that you most likely have a girl at home and you’re not some “lonely loser” (not that single people are losers, I’m only teasin’).

  8. Christina is right. Pantyliners are nowhere near enough, sorry. You’d have to change it every ten minutes. Ceejay74, if these women can’t even afford pads or tampons, what makes you think they can afford birth control?

  9. Meredith, most areas, at least in the us, have a free clinic that will supply birth control to those who ask. there isn’t, however, usually a place where those same women can get feminine hygiene products, and birth control does not always stop your period.

  10. For all the haters trying to educate this selfless and generous man about how “useless” his donations are, I would like to make 2 statements:
    1. What on earth is so wrong in your lives that you have to be so negative about someone else’s generosity? I sincerely urge you to seek professional help.
    2. I am 30 and have been off of birth control for over two years, and have survived entirely on pantiliners during that time. Women are different, so don’t assume that because something doesn’t work for YOU, it isn’t very adequate for someone else.
    The self-centeredness of your comments galls me. On the other hand, I commend this gentleman for improving his world-view and stretching his comfort zone!

  11. That is really great of you to do! I will keep this in mind in case I run into such a deal.

  12. This was an incredibly inspiring post. Kudos to you and your generosity. Every item that you donate is a necessity to someone, even if not everyone understands that. Everyone’s needs are different, and someone out there will need these products (though in this case I think most women need pantiliners ^_~). Keep doing what you’re doing – you make a big difference in people’s lives and you inspire people like me to make a difference too.

  13. You didn’t just donate pantiliners, you gave women in need dignity. And I was so moved by Lovely’s post that I’m gonna find a shelter & start stepping up my game. And here I thought I was just gonna get coupon tips from this site. I got a lot more…a bigger heart. Tx. 🙂

  14. Congratulations! And thank you – that is truly a wonderful thing you have done. As far as LinerGate is concerned: all the products will be appreciated – a pantyliner is better than nothing when that’s all you have! Every woman is different and these products will have use for someone.

    It’s funny that its even an issue. My husband has no problem buying whatever “feminine” product I need. He did for his daughter before he met me as well (he was a single parent, the mother wasn’t around). He was never embarrassed, and quite frankly, I don’t get it. Why would men be embarrassed? Do you think people would think it was for you? I’m confused.

  15. Awesome – good for you AND for the friend who helped you see the need. And GREAT for the ladies who will be able to use these. My husband is chuckling over the fact that this is making me tear up, but this is very cool. Good for you.

  16. Buying tampons with confidence is a quality us women can greatly appreciate. 🙂 As far as whether it’ll lose you “manly” points with the dudes, all you have to tell them is that there are thousands of deployed infantry soldiers walking around with at least one tampon stashed somewhere in their rucksack (they make great temporary bullet-hole-pluggers…lol). Keep up the great work!

  17. Oh my lord… another male in this world who isn’t afraid of buying feminine hygiene items, lol… we are a rare breed indeed and blessings upon you!

    Real men buy pads, tampons, pantiliners and anything that society defines as “female items” – because we feel secure enough with our own identity that we are not oppressed by what others may think of us, regardless of the circumstances – whether you are buying for a girlfriend, sister, friend or even yourself!

    Just a day ago, I went to Shoppers Drug Mart to buy a HUGE pack of overnight pads with a coupon – no weird looks, no comments from the female cashier and a smile – perhaps a tinge of jealousy – that I as a male would dare make such a purchase. Heck, I didn’t even bother “masking” the purchase with other things… just me walking out with a pack of pads in my hands, LOL.

    Being involved with shelters and such in the past and on-and-off, I can definitely attest that feminine hygiene items are often overlooked as “charitable donations” when really, women who can’t afford these costly products really appreciate! Cheers for you and those like you.

    Perhaps like you, I will certainly look into purchasing some feminine hygiene items when they’re on sale and donating it! I can’t imagine I haven’t thought about this given that my blog is all about menstruation – shame on me! =O

  18. You just made me cry. *hugs*

    Note: Battered women’s shelters also need period care items. In a city where I used to live, they’d often have a small community service article in the newspaper asking for them.

  19. I never understood the male shame about this sort of purchase. Are you actually worried that people will think you’re buying them for yourself?

  20. Jeffrey,
    That’s a great thing you did and I’m glad you got over your apprehension about buying such products. I add my voice to the chorus urging you to please ignore the silly comments about the lack of worth of your purchase (are those really women making those comments? How is it that I understand the variability of menstrual cycles better than OTHER WOMEN?)

    As a man, I must ask: is this revulsion to purchasing tampons/liners a near-universal male thing? Is it common for men to refuse to buy breast pads to help out the mother of their child? I’m baffled by this fictional crisis of masculinity…are most of us really that infantile? It’s not about you, guys: she’s lactating or menstruating and she doesn’t really feel up to strolling down to the store. Man up and help your better half.

    Jeffrey, your simple gesture will mean so much to so many people. I’m ashamed to say that your single 18 cent purchase has done more good for people you will never meet than I manage to accomplish in a whole year.

  21. I’m so happy to read this! REAL men buy fem. products. You are an outstanding man for doing this!

    Women’s fem. needs is a FACT OF LIFE!

    There is deals on tampons and the heavier pads too! CVS and Walgreens have these quite often… sometimes they are even money makers. Keep your eye out!

  22. As a man, i have never understood why men are embarassed by this. What is it you think is going through other people’s heads because you buy a pack of tampons? For one, most people have more to worry about than what you are buying, and two… I think it is pretty well known what their purpose is and will assume you are buying them for someone else.

    That commentary out of the way, GOOD JOB! That was an awesome thing you did to help out people when you didn’t have to.

  23. Pingback: Day 5: Reflection « The Couponing Experiment
  24. I did the girly thing and teared up a little reading this. You helped a lot of women with that donation.

  25. I don’t usually cry at movies or shows that have sad scenes in them … when most people do. But I do have tears now. Wow, you really are wonderful! You have touched my heart so much. Your thoughtfulness and caring has changed my heart. I will from this day forward be a different person, looking to see how I can make a difference in the world. Because you cared. Thank you.

  26. Jeffery, although you did this challenge back in May, I am just now seeing it. I read the entire month in 1 evening. It has been one of the best blogs i have ever read. Way to Go! I clip coupons constantly but rarely cash in on the savings, because I never know what coupons i have and haven’t been able to figure out how do it without spending hours going through them. Thank you for all the great advise!
    About the tampons/carefree liners; my husband would never have a problem buying them. I do not need them as I have had a hysterectomy, but my teenage daughter does and my husband buys whatever she needs, including midol or any other female items she may need. A real man does what his family needs and doe sit with a loving heart. I know you did not need these items, but in the end you purchased them with a loving heart. Bravo! I seldom clip coupons for these items because my daughter only likes a certainkind, but it never dawned on me to donate them to a food bank or shelter. Thank you so much, you are an inspiration, even if the challenge didn’t start out as a means to inspire others.

  27. I, personally, don’t think there is anything wrong with a guy buying womens “products”. My ex husband bought pads regularly, for himself. You see, he was a drummer in a band and used the pads on one of his drums. They were for dampening the sound I think. I’m not really informed about such things. lol

    Currently, my boyfriend buys these things with no problem. Well, he does have a problem getting the right brand. lol But, he lived with his mother for years before we met and he would wash her clothes too, including intimates.

    Just goes to show you that looks can be deceiving and you never know what a guy will do until you ask.

  28. You stepped up and did a wonderful thing, THANK YOU! Good things happen to good people and you are obiously one of them 🙂

    side note:I always find it funny how men find it embarrassing to buy any feminine products, we all know you don’t get periods so you are obviously buying them for a woman.

  29. I came back here, after all this time, to reread this post because I am faced with a similar situation.

    I’m a woman in my early 30s, and Tena, adult incontinence pads, are free after ECB this week at CVS, and there’s a $2.50 off coupon printable from their website, so they’re even a moneymaker.

    I know I’m going to do it, I just needed a friendly reminder from someone else who enjoys the charity rush that it’s not about how I feel.

    Loved the tampon story. Love this story. I just have to put my game face on and remember that it’s just like all the free toothpaste and deodorant I get for the shelter, odd stares from the store staff aside.

    If you can do it, I can do it.

    Thank you for being an inspiration.

  30. This is touching – but there’s a funny bit too:

    “Your cashier today was Mark”

    I think you made his day!

  31. Just reading this now…good for you. And yes, of course pantiliners help. I’ll try not to go into too much detail but I’m one of the blessed few who cannot trust having just a tampon. A pantiliner is a little more piece of mind.

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