Forget about the Government Debt Ceiling Bill or MTV turning 30; I have an update on a dangerous epidemic sweeping the nation that’s going shamefully under-reported by the media: The Imodium Ad shortage of 2011.
I first shared my concerns here in June and my wife joked that maybe my mass Imodium consumption had caused a shortage of some sorts and it appears that might be the case. After striking out in my local stores, I branched out. Three different CVS managers and a Wal-Mart employee plus an employee from a Pennsylvania supermarket have told me that there was a recall on Imodium AD, but I can’t find anything about a recall online, in the farmer’s almanac or with Ask Asa. I doubted them because I figured that of all people, I would know if there was a recall, it’s not like they wouldn’t publicize it or spread the word. Have you ever heard of a secret recall? No – they spread the word like Officer Bird and tell people everywhere if something is wrong! That’s how things get recalled – they let people know. And don’t tell me to get the store brand – it’s not the same! After scouring three states to no avail, I got strategic and went on the website for Imodium AD and called the Consumer Care Center at the number listed.
Before you even ask – No, I am not a crazy person nor am I a junkie looking for a fix…I’m just a concerned citizen looking for answers. OK, maybe I am a junkie looking for a fix – but this is getting suspicious and don’t judge me! I can tell you with absolute certainty that I now know what they meant in May with all that Rapture and the world ending talk. If I’m lying in my bed, covered in sweat while trembling in fear and this is only a nightmare – PLEASE WAKE ME UP!!!
Let me just start by saying that the Imodium customer service agent was the absolute coolest and nicest lady ever! She assured me it wasn’t a recall and that it was a shortage of supply to fill the demand. Take that in and let me repeat it – it’s a shortage of supply. She was reassuring me that everything would be OK and we were on the way to becoming besties, when the call suddenly took a wrong turn and veered downhill.
Agent: “Sir, can I get your contact info and we can put you on our mailing list for coupons and then contact you when Imodium AD is available back in your area again?”
I proceeded to give her my phone number, address, and then told her my email address.
Agent: “Sir, can you repeat your email address for me?”
Agent: “Sir, Stop it right now, I don’t believe that. Is that really your email address?”
Me: “Of course it is, why would I ask you to contact me and give you the wrong email address? What kind of person does that? Email me while we’re on the phone and I’ll email you back.”
Agent: “Sir, are you kidding with me?”
Me: “I’m being serious, why would I waste my time to call you if I wasn’t looking for help here? I’m not a lunatic – I just want to know when and where I can get my Imodium.”
I then filled her in on how I can’t go anywhere without my Imodium, take it 24/7 if I need to leave the house, how this site is a love letter to Imodium AD, and basically how it saved my life and made me a productive citizen. Needless to say, her end of the line got a lot quieter.
Agent: “Sir, how much Imodium do you take? How many have you taken today?”
Me: “5 pills”
Agent: “Sir – its 11 AM! Why have you already taken 5 pills?”
Me: “Maam, I work almost an hour from home…”
Agent: “Sir, Please don’t take any more today…”
Me: “Maam, I won’t be able to eat lunch if I don’t take anymore.”
Agent: “Sir, How many days have you been taking that many?”
Me: “Days, it’s been since 1994. I never would have been able to go to Woodstock in 1994, or college for that matter…”
Agent: “Sir, that is not OK. We do not recommend that many pills to be taken for that period of time and we don’t test on that dosage. We test on the dosage listed on the back of the box. You can be causing internal damage to your organs and…”
Me: “Maam, I’m sure I don’t even have internal organs anymore between all the Imodium, the alcohol and everything else – I’m convinced that if you were to X-Ray my body, it would go straight from Esophagus to Anus with nothing in between…”
Agent: “Sir, have you taken anything else today?”
Me: “Just some Tylenol, why…”
Agent: “How many of those have you taken and which kind?”
Me: “I took three Tylenol Extra Strength because I had a headache when I woke up.”
Agent: “Sir, Legally I now have to give you the number for Poison Control because you have exceeded the recommended dosage on those products. We also make Tylenol – do you have a pen? 1-800-222-1222. Please repeat it back to me so I know that you wrote it down.”
Me: (laughing) “1-800-222-1222 (which really is the number for the American Association of Poison Control Centers) I got it but I don’t need that number. I don’t care if you tell me that there’s gasoline or pesticide in Imodium and that it’ll kill me by New Year’s Eve – it works and I’m gonna take it either way! I didn’t call to get you nervous and I’m not looking to sue you guys or anything – I just need the Imodium to be available again!”
Agent: “Sir, this is not OK and I am really concerned. Obviously I cannot tell you not to take Imodium AD, but I must caution you that we do not test it in the quantity that you take it in.”
Me: “Listen Maam, I love Imodium AD more than anyone out there and I can guarantee that you will never find anyone more loyal to it than me. It has changed my life and I want to be the spokesperson for you. How can I get my face on the box – can you help me with that?” (we both laughed at this) “My wife wouldn’t let me send in my testimonial. Seriously, I just need it back on the shelves.”
I reassured her that I was fine and just wanted to find the Imodium and she was able to help me find 5 different locations (ShopRite, A & P, Food Emporium and 2 K-Marts) with Imodium AD in stock. Forget the Amber Alert – she had a listing of stores within 30 miles of my house along with their phone numbers so I could confirm before I went. She could tell if they had 6 packs, 12 packs, or 24 packs – unfortunately no one had the 72 packs in stock, but who was I to complain? I don’t know why the White House didn’t have these guys looking for Bin Laden, because with their pin point accuracy and precision – they could have bagged that fool years ago!
She really was a very nice lady and told me that she would go and check out this site when she got home from work that night. I’m sure she probably thought that I was a lunatic, but later that night I did see a small spike in hits… I’m sure they record those calls and will probably play my call at their holiday party so everyone can have a good laugh at my expense.
The best part was that my boss walked into my office while I was on the phone and asked who I was on the phone with and didn’t believe me when I said Imodium. He shook his head and then he looked at me like I was crazy. As he sat down to listen to me, he realized that I really was on the phone with them. He also didn’t expect (and neither did I – to be honest) that I would be on the phone for over forty minutes with them either.
As if that wasn’t enough, I got a letter and authorization form in the mail a couple of days after the call requesting my medical records. How crazy is that? I just want my Imodium on the shelves and they want to talk with my doctors. They haven’t requested my photo for the box yet, but I’m sure that letter should come any day now. When it does and my picture on the box makes me the international face of Diarrhea – I’ll remember each and every one of you!