Sit Down to Stand Up

The idea for this story came from a friend during a New Years Eve Party. When she said something about this, I immediately asked her if I could use the idea.

Sit Down to Stand Up

By Royce Sears

The grocery store clerk handed me the receipt for my purchase and, as usual, I folded it up and stuck it in my purse without a thought. There weren’t many items at the end of the checkout
counter, but the young bagger certainly took his time. He stared at me while placing my items in the flimsy plastic bags. Yes, I was wearing a short skirt and a slightly revealing blouse, but that didn’t give him the right to brazenly stare at me like I was a piece of meat or inspect me like a piece of meat in the display case at the back of the store.  It bothered me, but it’s sad to say that I was accustomed to it. Being a reasonably attractive twenty-eight-year-old woman, I tend to draw the seemingly ravenous stares of young men and older men alike. To the younger men, I’m the ‘hot milf,’ and the older men see me as the ‘younger woman.’ It’s a gross objectification of me as a person, and it’s demeaning, but as I said, I’ve gotten used to it.
I stomped to my car, my heels clicking loudly with each furious step as I thought about the bagger’s salacious grin and the remarkably rude comment he made while stuffing my tampons into the grocery bag.
 “It’s too bad,” he said.
“Too bad?” I asked.
“Yeah, it’s too bad you’re on your period,” he replied with that lecherous grin, “We could have had some real fun, hot mama.”
I wanted to do something, to say something to the manager, but no one heard him say it but me. Would they believe me? I’ve seen it happen too many times. A woman says something about it and they make a big deal out of how she’s dressed, about how ‘she asked for it.’ Do I really want to open up that can of worms? Then I had a thought, maybe if I have another reason to go back in, then I can get him to say something in front of someone. Busted!
I pulled the receipt from my purse and scanned through each item. That’s when I noticed it. The tax rate was different for my tampons. “Why is the tax rate different for my tampons?” I asked aloud. This was my reason to go back in, not only because it gives me a reason but I genuinely wanted to know why the tax is different on my tampons. That doesn’t make any sense, right? It’s a necessary item, just like anything else I’d just bought.
I marched back to confront the store manager about this atrocity and I learned this tax difference is due to the fact that tampons are considered a luxury item.
“A luxury item?” I asked in outrage, having forgotten about the lewd bagger completely by now.
“Yes, Ms. Foster, tampons are considered a luxury item by the state of California, and nearly every other state for that matter. They are taxed appropriately, I assure you.”
“Are condoms taxed as a luxury item too?” I asked.
“No, ma’am, condoms and yeast infection medication are considered drugs.”
“We’ll just see about that,” I replied, and stormed out of the grocery store once more.
Later that evening, I began discussing my findings with my friends on Facebook and Twitter. I researched the overall cost of this luxury tax and discovered that we, as women, are paying up to twenty million dollars per year in state taxes for these luxury items.  We started a social media
campaign, we’re organizing women all over the state, and hopefully, it will catch on elsewhere. Tomorrow, and every day thereafter, those of us who are suffering through our ‘time of the month’ are going to the state offices. We are going to send a message to the State of California. We are sending a message that is as gross as the unfair exploitation of women perpetrated by nearly every state in the United States. This exploitation is just another kick in the face to women who are already on the wrong end of the gender wage gap. We will show them just how necessary these items are.
Tomorrow, and every day thereafter, we will go to the offices of the state, like the State Capitol Building, the Department of Motor Vehicles, the Courthouses, and the public service offices. We will sit down in those offices without those ‘luxury items’ and leave our silent yet visible protest for everyone to see. We will leave a note on that chair stating our intentions to continue doing this until tampons are no longer considered luxury items. We will continue until tampons and feminine hygiene products are recognized as the items of basic necessity they really are. We will stand up for ourselves, we will stand up for our rights, and will stand up for each other.

Royce Sears