Tuesday, January 6, 2009

OTC irony

Sudafed PE is an over-the-counter cough medication. It's readily available at all pharmacies and grocery stores. It costs about seven dollars. If you're a fruit-flavored soul, grape and cherry flavors have been provided.

Three months ago, Sudafed PE would glide down the check-out conveyor alongside its good friends, Oreos, butter, and okra. It felt equal, like it belonged. The cashier would scan it with the same indifferent celerity she used on every other product. In short, Sudafed PE felt like part of the grocery family.

But the silent sense of acceptance and equal treatment it basked in no longer exists. Today, Sudafed PE, an over-the-counter, grape or cherry flavored cough suppressant, can not glide over the scanner with roller-coaster glee. Today, the cashier holds it up, looks at the customer wanting the medicine, and asks for identification. Because today, the supermarket needs to make sure that the customer is of age. The customer needs to be older than 18. The customer, in the scanning eyes of the supermarket, needs to, at the very least, be chronologically old enough as to convice the grocer that he is beyond the adolescent stage where Sudafed PE is truly medicinal, not recreational. In short, Sudafed PE is a quick 'high' and the supermarket wants to cover its cough-suppressant ass. It does not want to contribute to an escalation in OTC drug-abuse.

Sudafed PE is a cough suppressant that is available in two flavors, grape and cherry. It costs about seven dollars.

Your supermarket may card you when you go to purchase it. The supermarket is being proactive. The supermarket is 'fighting the war on drugs'.

But the boy bagging the groceries, well, he's a student at a local high school. He offers to take my bags out to my car.

Does he want my Sudafed? Is he looking for an easy high?


Because as we're walking through the parking lot, he's laughing at the new 'carding policy'. And I'm laughing as well. Because in our conversational silence, we both know that Sudafed PE is not the recreational drug the market seems to think it must be. We both know that weed is the culprit. We both know that weed is pervasive. And we both know, though we'll never share this thought out loud to one another, that he's earning eight dollars an hour right now and he's stoned out of his gourd.

1 comment:

blueyestars said...

exprechoLove the ending...