Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Spotted on the weekend

Dollar store pregnancy tests.

Seriously. At the Dollarama. Motto: "All at $1".

For when you absolutely, positively could not care less whether you're pregnant or not.



Blogger Nostalgic for the Pleistocene said...

2:19 p.m.  
Blogger ronnie said...



5:44 p.m.  
Blogger Nostalgic for the Pleistocene said...

Uh-oh, wait! It should have said
"gud enuf 4 westrn captalists!"

6:49 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess I don't understand the problem. According to this site, the device in question is licensed by the Canadian government for sale for the intended purpose of detecting whether or not one is pregnant. I was not able to find out how sensitive this particular device is, but here is a link to a list of competitive products with various sensitivities in case someone does a better job of locating the specs on the Pro-Care device.

Maybe Ronnie could bop over and read the specs on the back of a package to find out how sensitive they really are.....

In any case, I would think that if the Pro-Care device is as sensitive as any of the other devices on the market, then the manufacturer and Dollarama should be thanked for making a capable product available to women at a reduced cost.

I mean...isn't it a good thing for women to be able to purchase an accurate pregnancy test for less money?

6:00 p.m.  
Blogger Nostalgic for the Pleistocene said...

8~) My brother - who's a university biology instructor - once said he wanted to do a one-year experiment, to live entirely on dollar-store merchandise.

Checking prices, the tests sure have come down in a decade+, making a dollar not so very bizarre. My lack of faith is more in the stores than in any name-brand-whatsit they carry. There have been issues of counterfeit merchandise (see Colgate toothpaste), and at best, they do tend to become a dumping ground for expired or near-expiration, items. Particularly in the case of a chemical-based medical test i'd say, pay the big bucks elsewhere.

(a non-UScentric version of previous lol: )

11:27 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't mean to be purposefully obtuse.....but I'm still not convinced.

Sure, there's the problem of counterfeit/contaminated products on the market. The news has been full of such stories particularly centered around China.

However I read a story yesterday about how Chinese manufacturers are tearing through the various stages of development...from cheap knock off to decent knock off to better than the original for less....doing in years what it took South Korea and Japan decades to do.

Of course dollar stores do sell a lot of krep, and based on my comments elsewhere, I'm not against criticizing something based on a well established reputation.

At the same time, I sometimes shop at a dollar store. Not everything they sell is krep. And even if something is close to an expiration date, if you are going to use it right away, then saving a buck or two makes a fair amount of sense.

Since not everyone has $10 or $15 to spare for a pregnancy test at all times, and since knowing if one is pregnant early on lets one get the desired* medical attention earlier [and thus safer/more effective], isn't a $1 pregnancy test a benefit?

*some folks want to be pregnant. Others do not. The desire medical attention is modestly different in each case.

9:20 a.m.  
Blogger ronnie said...

I'm handicapped by a severe lack of access to internet these days so can only weigh in briefly, but Dann, Ruth's point is exactly why this is so funny to us gals. You seem to be taking it at face value that this kit can be trusted to be:
a) a legitimate product of the advertised manufacturer, and not a straight-out counterfit product;
b) not past its expiry date;
c) not a bad batch that was supposed to have been destroyed in China on orders of the parent company but instead loaded on the back of a truck by an employee who sold it to a wholesaler on the side.

Of course not all Dollar Store products are crap. Why do you think I was shopping there in the first place? However, in a retail venue where goods are received through all of the above methods, are you going to trust something that 1) usually retails way beyond Dollar Store prices - as in, 10 to 15 times dollar store prices; and 2) is used to predict something as fundamentally ***important*** as ***pregnancy*** to a Dollar Store kit???? It ain't like buying hangers or candy dishes, you get my drift?

Anyway, I'm offline again for a few days. Talk amongst yourselves ;)


5:51 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Ronnie,

Sorry to hear about your hard luck...internet connection wise.

I got the point early on. But something about your post tripped one of my triggers. Perhaps it was Ruth's "gud enuf 4 westrn captalists!". It could be something else.

My Googling on the company that makes that testing device makes me wonder how legit they are. So, again, I understand the perspective.

At the same time, I found at least one young woman that used a dollar store $1 test kit and was satisfied with the results. Also, I didn't find any complaints based on facts beyond the price and the place of purchase.

Assuming that these tests are:

A) legit and not copies
B) work as advertised

then it seems to me that free market forces are doing exactly what they are supposed to do; bring products to market at the lowest price and the required quality.

6:38 p.m.  
Blogger Nostalgic for the Pleistocene said...

Dann - OK i can see why you might think i'm more anti-capitalism than i am, since i mostly discuss the health care system, then make the Chinese factory joke.

Honestly, i do think there's a big quality control problem with imports from some countries, but i also think there are plenty of criminal fellow-citizens right here who are happy to steal unused packaging and fill it with counterfeits, or steal pallets of stuff marked for disposal, and profit off them. But my limited trust in dollar-stores is more a risk assessment thing.

Having taken some insane risks in my life i've retreated into a high (but whether it's too high is debatable) risk-aversion. I take or avoid a risk based on a balance of the odds and the importance of the consequences. I'll take a big risk with small consequences, but avoid even a small risk with big consequences. FE, i put $2 in quarters into a Vegas slot machine, then quit. Near-100% risk, minor consequences. But when i see people trust a dollar-store medical test (or a Today Sponge!) i'm baffled. People will put such major life-changing things into the hands of something with only 70-90% reliabitlty when they have better options.

When you say:

Assuming that these tests are:
A) legit and not copies
B) work as advertised

I realize we could simply disagree about how much faith we place in the system that supposedly weeds out low quality before it gets to the shelf. Maybe you're realistic and i'm on the paranoid side. Or maybe i'm in reality and you're
w-a-a-y too trusting!


12:55 p.m.  
Blogger Mike said...

To build on ruth's comments, the other issue here is a sort of necessary paternalistic (maternalistic?) view of those who get the cheapest possible medical advice. Once the Dollar Store stick tells you something, what is your next move? A second opinion, or to assume it is correct?

These things are quirky enough as it is, and my understanding is that some of the cost lies in the sensitivity of the device. But, even so, if you think you're pregnant and the answer matters, what should you do?

Well, you could take a test for it, and then take a second test and see if they match. So, if this is one of those tests, I guess that's okay. If they both turn up positive, you assume you are likely pregnant and see your doctor. If they are mixed, you go to your doctor for the tie-breaker. If they both turn up negative, you go to your doctor when you still don't get your period to find out why.

But if it's the only one you're going to use, and you don't see a physician regularly, you might as well pick petals off a daisy. And the harm then is that, if it were a better quality product, there would at least be a better chance that you'd get correct information and would take appropriate action.

The classist issue here is my assumption that, if you're getting your medical advice at the Dollar Store, you're not necessarily getting better advice somewhere else. But I've been around enough ERs to know the (non-monetary) price people pay when they aren't in the normal loop of preventive care but wait for things to rise to the level of a crisis before they seek professional care.

If I could be assured that the dollar test were safe and highly reliable, and that the people using it were simply sharp consumers who would purchase more expensive tests if there were a reason to do so, then it wouldn't be an issue.

6:10 a.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I understand. Really, I do.

There are stories in the media about serious quality control issues in Chinese manufacturing. Professionally, I have had experience with quality issues related to Chinese products.

I also shop at dollar stores from time to time. Dollar stores sell a lot of krep that is krep for one reason or another; lots of their krep originates in China.

I understand the leap of faith that results in "therefore pregnancy tests sold by dollar stores are krep".

But then the amateur economist, engineer by profession, and full time humanitarian in me comes creeping out to ask uncomfortable

Aren't lower prices generally a good thing for consumers?

Where is the test data that shows that these items are less sensitive/effective than the more expensive competitive products? [I've looked and can't find any.]

Given the collective gross assumptions and other forensic leaps of faith about the average dollar store customer, isn't it better for a young woman to have access to a properly functioning test at $1 when she might skip it (and forgo timely and proper medical attention) altogether if she doesn't have the $15 for a more expensive version? Aren't earlier abortions safer than the later varieties? Don't mothers that get early medical attention have healthier babies?

Why am I the only non-judgemental feminist in this discussion?

Should I have used a C&C warning before that last one? [grin]


12:41 p.m.  
Blogger Peggy said...

That is just so excellent. If you're not pregnant and just want to scare the tar out of your husband, make your way to the Dollar store!

5:03 p.m.  
Blogger Caution:Contents Hot said...

I just used the Pro-Care test and I'm quite happy with the results as they are quite accurate. It doesn't cost much to make these tests so obviousely other companies would want to sell it for a lot more than it actualy cost them to make it. They all test for the same thing and before you buy it you can check the expiry date, mine expires in 2011. I think it's good that it's available to people for a lower price because not everyone can spend $12-$20 on the tests. That's not to say that you shouldn't go to a doctor if you get a positive result. If your skeptical buy more than one test to confirm your results. It is only one dollar each.

12:28 p.m.  

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