Paranoia at KMart

I’ve had a cold for the past week.  As such, I’d used up all the reserves of cold-related products like facial tissues, cough medicine, cough drops, and sinus pain relievers.  KMart has these items on the cheap, so I went to re-stock.

My Purchase:

  1. 1x 12-count Sudafed PE phenylephrine / acetominophen tablets
  2. 1x 12-count Tylenol Sinus phenylephrine / acetominophen tablets
  3. 1x small bottle of generic dextromethorphan / guiafenisen cough medicine
  4. 3x boxes of generic facial tissue
  5. 1x bag of generic menthol cough drops
  6. 1x box of generic steel-wool and detergent cleansing pads

Don’t ask me why but Tylenol Sinus seems to do better at getting rid of headaches and Sudafed PE seems to do better at getting rid of sinus pressure and drainage.  They have the exact same formula and ratios of drugs in them.

I get to the checkout counter and the nice lady asks, “Do you have a cold?”  I say, “No, I’m just getting over one and I’m restocking all the stuff I used during my cold.”  She scans all the stuff except the scouring pads and then calls for a manager.  The manager asks me what I intend to use all this stuff for.  I say, “Uh… making me feel better when I’m sick?”  I didn’t know how else to answer that question.  The  cashier gave me a form to fill out with name / address, etc.  and the signature blank had some legalese above it saying that I wouldn’t use the stuff I’m buying in the manufacture, sale, or distribution of illegal narcotics.  Then she scanned the scouring pads.

She needed to enter my birth date in the computer for the purchase of the scouring pads.  Notwithstanding that I was buying them to be kind to my mother.  I’d used the last of her scouring pads yesterday to clean my golf clubs.

Here are my objections to this anti-drug paranoia, given my purchases:

  1. I wasn’t buying pseudoephedrine.  Unlike phenylephrine, pseudoephedrine can be used to manufacture methamphetamine.  Some time ago, they decided that for that very reason, pseudoephedrine would be a behind-the-counter product.  Which works fine for me, as I’ve found phenylephrine to be just as effective.  Not to mention that even if I were buying genuine pseudoephedrine, the fact that I was buying a combo decongestant / pain reliever instead of just the decongestant should indicate that I wasn’t planning on making any illegal derivatives thereof – it would be a total waste of money and would make isolating the amphetamine component of the drug that much more difficult.
  2. I wasn’t buying excessive quantities of anything – one 12-tablet box of two brands of sinus pain relief medicine doesn’t constitute a warning in my book.
  3. I was buying a single bottle of alcohol-free cough medicine.  If I’d wanted to get high, I’d have gone for coricidin – it’s a hell of a lot more effective than the dextromethorphan in cough syrup.  To get high from cough syrup, you’d need to drink an entire bottle plus more.  Just not worth it.  At any rate, if I’d really wanted to get high, alcohol is cheaper and not nearly as dangerous to OD on.
  4. My drug purchases were accompanied by non-drug but cold-related goods as well, such as facial tissue and non-medicated cough drops (pectin / sweetener / menthol).
  5. Now I’m not a law enforcement official, nor an expert in illegal narcotics, so I don’t know how much overlap there is between the meth community and the crack community but I do know that brillo pads are used to make crack pipes, which is entirely unrelated to drinking cough syrup to get high -or- trying to make meth from phenylephrine, which is a futile endeavor.

I would hazard a guess that harassing people about buying cold medicine hasn’t deterred a single person from making or selling meth, or from doing stupid things to get high (like trying to inhale R-134 gas dusters and blistering their lungs and dying of pulmonary œdema).  And I doubt that restricting brillo pads is going to reduce the crack problem.  Seriously, people, wtf?

  1. #1 by Phillip on March 24, 2010 - 1:16 PM

    I had this happen at WalGreens..or of the two. But, I was buying some Nyquil and Dayquil and got the whole scan your driver’s license and sign here spiel.

  2. #2 by Chadwick on March 24, 2010 - 6:48 PM

    Well, there’s a Pick’n’Save that doesn’t care when I buy a couple max-sized boxes of cold medicine at one time.

    The reason that’s notable is I’ve seen that same store card an old woman and make her sign the thing in order to buy a single package of non-medicated cough drops.

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