28 July 2009

Choose Your Own Adventure: Buying a Pregnancy Test In a Small Town

You're probably pregnant! Even though you know the signs well, you want to buy a test. There's just something about that definitive line that makes it easier to say goodbye to cocktail hour with Dad. But you live in a really small town. Where are you going to get your test?

(To ride your bike immediately to the really tiny store in your town which may not even carry pregnancy tests and carries a high risk of running into someone from church and the certainty of running into someone who knows someone from church, read paragraph 1)

(To drive immediately to the somewhat larger store in the next little town over which is more likely to carry pregnancy tests and carries a considerable risk of running into someone from church or someone from the church across the field and the possibility of running into someone who knows both you and many of the aforementioned risky individuals, read paragraph 2)

(To wait until your next regularly scheduled shopping trip to the exurbs and a store which is certain to have pregnancy tests and carries a moderate risk of running into someone who knows you, read paragraph 3)

1. You get on your bike and ride four blocks. Your brakes don't work so you have to swerve onto the sidewalk to avoid being hit by the one car which happens to driving down your town's "busy" street right when you want to turn onto it. Ride two more blocks to the store. There are four cars parked out front, which is a lot. You lean your bike, which has no kickstand, against the big trash can outside the store. You walk to the short shelf of personal care items and see the pregnancy tests. They only have the off brand kind requiring inconvenient testing procedures. It costs $6.99. There are lots of people (like, six) leaning on the checkout counter and talking to the clerk. You don't know any of them, but between the cost and the crowd and the fact that the baby is still nursing enough that you don't know if you've really waited long enough to test yet, you go home without buying a test.

(To drive to the somewhat larger store in the next little town, read paragraph 2)

(To wait until your next regularly scheduled shopping trip to the exurbs, skip to paragraph 3)

2. You tell the kids and Dad you'll be back in a minute and drive to the next town over. The parking lot is almost completely full, which is unusual and figures. You look for cars you know, and although you don't see any from your church, you don't know what anyone in this town drives so you don't feel all that safe. When you go inside, there is enough of a line at the checkout counter that you're not keen on standing in it with that incriminating box in your hand. But you really want to know, so you find the personal care aisle and start looking. They don't appear to have any.

You look up and down the other aisles to make sure you're looking in the right place--nothing. You go back to the personal care aisle since it seems pretty impossible that a store wouldn't stock pregnancy tests. There they are! Way up on the top shelf. Good thing you're on the tall side. You consider writing a note to the store explaining that a lady who needs a pregnancy test doesn't want to ask for help getting it down. They have expensive EPTs and also the cheap kind--really cheap! Less than two dollars! Thank you, modern science. You grab the cheap one. Should you pick out something else to give the appearance of nonchalance, or is that too much like the guy who came through your line when you were a checker in high school and put a snow shovel and a box of Trojans on the counter?

Let's just get out of here. Head to the line, which is now way longer. As you walk toward it, the lady at the end is totally staring at you. She saw you take the test off the shelf and is studying you for maternal fitness. Sheesh. A guy gets in line behind you and starts unloading his stuff, but there's no way you're putting your test on the belt for all the world to judge. You watch the door nervously, but no one dangerous comes through. You put your box on the counter at the last minute, and the clerk embarrasses the heck out of the guy behind you by asking if your stuff is all together. You have to pay with a credit card because you didn't think you had enough cash at home--lesson learned.

(If your test is negative but all other signs point to yes, remember it was the cheap test and this happened last time too, what with the nursing baby messing things up. Wait a few days and go back to the beginning of the post.)

3. You wait for your weekend trip to Walmart. When you get there, you pick up all your other stuff first so you can hide the pregnancy test under it in your cart. You thank God again for your rock star husband who keeps the kids so you can go shopping alone--it's bad enough having to buy these things without dragging four other kids along to invite idiotic comments. You think about doing the test right here, but decide you've waited this long and can stand to drive home and avoid killing time in the rank Walmart bathroom while you wait for the lines.

(If your test is negative but you're still suspicious, go back to the intro and start over.)

When you test positive, this post ends. Congratulations!

(BTW, I have recently come into a better-equipped bike, so don't you worry bout that.)


Lucy said...

Hilarious post Rebekah, as always!

Option #4 - be a total coward and bulk buy tests from http://www.early-pregnancy-tests.com and stash them strategically away so no little people (or visiting friends/family) can find them. :)

Liz said...

No, I got a better story. When I was single, a girlfriend of mine thought she was pregnant, but was too ashamed to go to the store to buy it herself, so she calls me wanting to know what she should do. I told her to come over (I was living with my folks at the time), and I'd have a test waiting for her, and I'd sit with her.

Of course, at the store, I ran into some people from the church I grew up at. And I thought, "Meh, who cares what they think. Better they think it is for me than my friend going to a baby killing mill."

She turned up not being pregnant.

Ewe said...

I take Lucy's strategy. Whenever I'm NOT pregnant, I always have 2-3 off brand pregnancy tests on hand. I've wasted a lot when I just wasn't sure. But it was better than the alternative. Here you either buy local and run into someone you know (7 mile drive for that) OR drive 1 1/2 hours to Walmart, there is no option as close as option 2 or 3 for you. When I buy ahead, I can bury the test in my cart at Walmart because we often run into people we know there too.

JenniferH said...

Love to laugh out loud while realizing that I'm not the only nut (over-)analyzing these scenarios in my head, then purchasing a stock when visiting another state.

And we don't even live in a teensy town.

Kelly said...

Internet internet internet. Unmarked packaging is a beautiful thing.

Anonymous said...

Why are you embarrassed to buy a pregnancy test? (You are married, so it's okay.)

Ewe said...

Dear Anonymous: I'm guessing that you don't live in a small town by your question. We like to wait a while to announce to local people. The order we tell people we are pregnant is our parents, grandparents, and my sister; then the church members (dh is a pastor); then our children (we would tell them earlier but the oldest is 5); finally to other friends and other local people. If I buy local in the small town and someone sees me, the order that we tell people would be all messed up with gossip that I "might" be pregnant.

Melrose said...

yes anonymous, come now, when one is nursing it is inevitable that every single month of a cycle is an opportunity for pregnancy...however being that our bodies are so out of whack it is easy to have pregnancy symptoms EVERY month...so the last thing we need is to have people from the church see us with a test EVERY month and wonder what on earth is going on.

Plus, we reserve the right to have a little private celebration time before all the little old ladies at church are rubbing our bellies and making us eat weird foods that are "good for baby".

Susan K said...

I was going to make an original comment, but Lucy already made it, pretty much verbatim. :)

Rebekah said...

Anon, my concern is indeed that news will get out around here before I'm ready for it to, whether there's news or not! ;) People here are very open about intimate details of their lives, which is in many ways honest and humble, but I'm still getting used to it.

As for buying in advance, don't those bad boys expire?

Susan K said...

www.early-pregnancy-tests.com is good about sending tests that don't expire for a full two years. That's enough for a couple of babies AND for watching the line get darker for a few days. :)

Gauntlets said...

I love these games.

Anonymous said...

I do live in (or outside of) a small town and was also raised in a small town. Maybe I just figure that since everybody always knows everything in a small town, it won't be long before they will know this wonderful secret, too. While I enjoy pondering such things in my heart, I can still do that even when other people know.
But I can appreciate that others are more reserved with their feelings (perhaps I should be, too).

Theophil Jones said...

Can I tell a man version of this story? When the ever-gorgeous Mrs. Jones and I were engaged I wanted to purchase something tasteful and lacy for her for our wedding night. I only knew of one such store in town. It took me three trips to the mall to work up the courage to go into said establishment and in the end I put my HS ring on my ring finger hoping the clerk might imagine me a married man.

Five kids later and I'm still a little embarrassed to patronize that establishment both because it's just awkward to peruse unmentionables with other men's wives/girlfriends and because I'm pretty sure the pleasant young lady who helped me with my selection knew I had no clue what I was doing in there. Also, the fact that the ladies who operate the till are pointedly ignoring the palpable tension in the air only makes it worse.

Lüzia said...

I was a young officer in the Army, stationed in Germany the first time I thought we might be expecting. The only option for verification was a trip to the clinic to be tested. I learned that THAT was a juicy bit of gossip that had wings, and soon EVERYBODY knew it. Army units overseas are small little universes. Embarrassed? Yup. Lüzia

Rebekah said...

Theophil, that's how I feel at Cabela's when birthday season rolls around. Somewhat less volatile content, though.

Luzia, terrible!!

Reb. Mary said...

LMBO (in rueful empathy)

Dakotapam said...

I stopped taking tests, but I was never ever fertile while nursing, so it worked for me. Also makes for an interesting first prenatal appointment:

Nurse: When did you take a home pregnancy test?

Me: I didn't.

Nurse: So how did you know that you are pregnant?

Me: this is not my first rodeo.

Rev. Robert Franck said...

Here's another good source for inexpensive pregnancy and ovulation tests: