There are a lot of initiatives where people discreetly ask members of staff when they feel unsafe or need help calling the emergency services.
Package for Sandy was created by Morrisons Community Champion, Emma Parkinson, at her store in Bolton.
The package is made up of a brown paper bag with two single sanitary towels and all customers have to do is go up to the customer service desk to ask for a package for ‘Sandy’ or a ‘period product pack’. They will be given the free package with no questions asked.
Emma Parkinson, Community Champion at Morrisons Bolton Atlas, said: “Period poverty is a real problem and going to a school in a predominantly low-income area gave me an insight into what it’s like to have no access to sanitary wear. It’s shocking that young girls and women go without sanitary products through no fault of their own so I’m really pleased that we at Morrisons can help to support those in need across the whole of the UK. “
While on paper, it seems pretty easy to do, I decided to test it out and see whether it actually works or not.
I headed to three Morrison’s stores, one in Rothwell, another in Hunslet and one in Harehillsin that order, which are all very different areas to see what would happen if I were to ask for a package for Sandy.
I was very nervous, embarrassed almost, to ask. It’s never easy to speak about periods especially with people you don’t know.
My fears eroded quickly after I discreetly asked the lady at the customer service desk for the package. She quickly got me a brown envelope written in red ‘Package for Sandy’. That was it. It was quick and it made me realize there was nothing to be ashamed of.
I returned the package so it could go to someone else who needs it, and I did tell the kind lady what I was doing at the store and she replied: “You see, it does work.”
The next store was around 10 minutes away and as soon as I asked for the package, the two ladies at the counter rushed to get me one. I was surprised when they handed me two. I was no longer nervous to be asking because the staff (at all stores) were so friendly, understanding and caring.
We spoke briefly about whether people use the scheme and they did say people knew about it, and they do see customers use the service when they need it.
In my last visit, it was pretty much the same experience but they had no packages left. However, the lady at the till knew exactly what I was talking about. After telling her what I was doing at the store, she revealed that men used to come to the till to ask for packages for their daughters.
She did say she didn’t work on the counter regularly but had heard them ask.
When you’re a young girl on your period it can be hard to ask for help especially when it comes to such a topic. But there’s comfort in knowing that young girls and women who don’t have access to sanitary products can go out to their local Morrison’s and simply ask for the package with no questions asked, no shame or judgment.
At no point did I feel embarrassed or degraded after asking, the staff helped me straight away with no questions asked and it made me confident about other discreet initiatives that are out there.