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Tide detergent shoplifted for drugs? Black market needs cleanup

tide031312_optBY PAM LOBLEY

Police all across the country are dealing with a new type of crime wave. Thieves are shoplifting Tide detergent in record amounts. They will fill a cart with the bottles, make a dash for the door and leave via a waiting getaway car. A Walmart in Minnesota has seen $25,000 of the detergent go missing.

Some people will do anything to make laundry more exciting. Who wants that much Tide? Maybe the Duggar family? They have 19 kids.

Maybe it was that Mike Rowe, the “Dirty Jobs” guy? Perhaps some rugby team who had a really muddy season?

What about the Daytona 500 workers who cleaned the track after the infamous fireball?

The real answer is even stranger than all that. Apparently, Tide is hot on the black market. Since Tide itself costs $10-20 a bottle in the store, bandits steal it and resell it for $5-10. That’s a Tide-y profit.

Laundry detergent is one of life’s necessities, and Tide, being a popular name brand, is easy to resell. Wisk, Gain or other brands just don’t fetch the same street price. Talk about your money laundering.

In addition to selling it on the black market, thieves will also trade Tide for drugs.

I find this very surprising. I didn’t think a dealer would trade a bag of cocaine for a bottle of Tide. I thought drug dealers were hardened criminals, only interested in cash. I never imagined that dealers wanted their whites white and their colors bright.

I wonder if this whole Tide thing is just another manifestation of the bad economy. It used to be that thieves stole TVs or laptops and sold those on the street, or traded them for drugs. But now those items are too high-end. People that shop the black market are cutting back. They can’t afford a hot plasma TV, or a GPS system, but they need some detergent, so they’ll spring for that. Next thing you know it will be diapers, or Campbell’s soup. You’ll know the economy is strong when thieves start stealing jewelry again.

CVS in Prince Georges County, MD, has put anti-theft devices on Tide bottles. Yes, they have those alarm things strapped to each bottle, and you have to have it removed by a clerk. I don’t want to go through that when I’m just trying to make a quick run to the store because I suddenly realize the kids’ scout uniforms aren’t clean.

I wonder what Proctor and Gamble thinks of all this theft … will they use it in an ad campaign? “Tide …Helping Criminals Clean Up Nationwide.”

Police and store owners are trying to stem the Tide of this spree. A life of crime is a vicious cycle, and in this case, it’s a rinse cycle. I suppose it will all come out in the wash. For now, though, the criminals are keeping their nose (and clothes) clean.

Pam Lobley writes the “Now That’s Funny” column. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter @plobley.


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Comments (3)
3 Tuesday, 13 March 2012 17:54
If I was inclined to steal detergent, I would not waste my time on Tide. ;-)
2 Tuesday, 13 March 2012 13:06
i cant believe that people are steeling tide and selling it on the black market or tradeing it for drugs.Do drug makers realy us tide to make drugs?
1 Tuesday, 13 March 2012 12:36
Drug dealers don't trade tide for drugs. It is sold to the corner stores in high drug/crime areas. Baby formula, cigarettes, diabetes test strips, and 100 count tylenol are popular black market items also

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