Have you heard about the crime wave sweeping the nation—or should I say sudzing away bottles that used to perch quietly on our grocery store shelves?
One day in March, 2011, Safeway Supermarket called the Bowie, Maryland cops and said they’ve been robbed repeatedly—$10,000 to$15,000 a month--and in every incident the only product taken was Tide.
Tide? You mean that bright orange jug of laundry detergent that’s been around forever?
Millions of folks swear it’s the only formula that gets their clothes clean, but so what? Who cares? Well it turns out a lot of people do, particularly drug dealers who make gobs of cash and buy the best in clothing--these guys also covet spotless shirts and demand the best in detergent. And the best is Tide.
|High on Tide|
When the Maryland cops arrived at Safeway, they found a theft in progress. Two men were piling a hundred bottles of Tide into the trunk of their Honda. The next day when a TV crew arrived to tape the story, one crook took advantage of the distraction to clear away another twenty jugs.
The news spread across the country, and so did the crime. What in the name of dirty clothes is going on?
Using surveillance tapes, the cops caught some of the criminals and asked why they were stealing the product. They not only confessed, but bragged about their feats. No, they hadn’t cleaned out the shelves to include it in their recipe of homemade meth but used the suds to barter for the drugs themselves. A 150 ounce bottle of Tide purchases five to ten bucks of weed or crack cocaine. Is that such a deal? The drug dealers thought so and began calling the detergent liquid gold.
What a story, I thought, checking the history of the brand itself. Did you know that Tide, created by Proctor and Gamble in 1946, was the first laundry detergent introduced to the public? And it instantly changed the world. Before that, the average person owned less than ten outfits, wearing them many times, and scrubbing them by hand with soap or ground-up flakes.
Seeing the need, P&G invented an easier way to clean clothes, and after many long trials, invented Tide. Wha-la! It was the iphone of its day—innovative, state-of-the art, and revolutionary. It not only changed the world of retailing, it changed my closet, and that's noteworthy to me.
But somehow those gentle suds grew up and went wayward, now leading a life of infamous crime. So caution to everyone: watch your detergent.
Measure each capful and lock away the remainder. You never know when thieves might crash your pad, ignoring those sparkling diamonds, flat-screen TVs, and that ancient Picasso under bullet proof glass. Forget the usual stuff. The druggies are going for liquid gold.