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Tiny tampon shortage spawns song and dance from J&J


J&J is really sorry -- in fact, grand piano and rose petal sorry -- that its popular line of tiny tampons has been hard to find.

Just in case you missed it, Johnson & Johnson would like to say they're sorry. Triple sorry, in fact, that their popular o.b. tampons have become so scarce the last couple of years, women have begun hoarding them like Elaine Benes conserving her precious Today sponges.

Go to the company's website and type in your name and you'll get a personalized musical apology, complete with hot young singer, white grand piano, fluttering rose petals, sky writing, and, yes, even a coupon.

What prompted this elaborate (and literal) song and dance?

Apparently, a "temporary supply interruption" has made the feminine hygiene product increasingly difficult to find. So much so, that boxes of the highly sought-after no-applicator tampons have sold for as much as $99 on eBay. And o.b. devotees have even begun stockpiling what few boxes they've been able to track down.

"Still no OBtampons in stores," Barbara Rice, executive editor of Penthouse Magazine tweeted recently. "So I just ordered many boxes from drugstore.com. This might get me through 'til menopause!"

According to a story in the New York Times (even the Gray Lady likes the brand, it would seem), many women prefer o.b. because of their comfort and convenience.

"They're ... smaller and more convenient to carry in a purse or pocket than some competing ones," the Times wrote in a story last year. "In addition, unlike most other tampons, they don't contain a plastic or cardboard applicator tube so they're considered to be more environmentally friendly than other kinds of feminine hygiene products."

While o.b. lovers are quick to tout the many benefits ("I love OB," one woman wrote on the review site, www.rateitall.com, in 2009. "They are easy to insert and silky smooth ... It's the best product ever."), the tampon does have its detractors.

In fact, the brand may just be the most polarizing tampon every sold.

"I hate o.b.," LeahB wrote on the same review site last year. "They're painful, messy and I have never once been able to properly insert the stupid thing."