They say you can buy anything online, and that's no exaggeration.
People are now selling positive pregnancy tests for up to $40 a stick.
And there seems to be demand, according to examples from the New York Daily News. A jilted girlfriend wanted to buy a test to get back at her cheating ex-boyfriend. A Los Angeles teacher wanted one to make a video for her students about teen pregnancy.
Tampa Bay sellers are getting into the action, proving that the economy is still flaccid enough that people will do anything to make a buck.
A seller in St. Petersburg posted an ad on Craigslist last week saying the test was "clean, no urine spilled in the process'' and it "looks real to fool whomever you want.'' Another woman from Maitland said she will take the test the same day you want to pick it up.
Because freshness is better?
The whole idea of selling an item involving someone else's dried pee is more than bizarre. I can't imagine being eight months pregnant and meeting someone in a parking lot to exchange the goods. Or, worse, inviting buyers to my house, knowing they might be up to no good. But who am I to hinder free enterprise?
As a parent, I pity the poor dad whose teenage daughter leaves a positive pregnancy test in the bathroom as a joke. No iPad for you this Christmas, Missy!
I reached out to a few sellers who asked people to contact them via text. Imagine! Only one person responded and, no surprise here, the person didn't want to talk.
Bottom line: If you're pregnant and that hard up for money, you must not have read the memo: Kids cost a lot of money.
It seems retailers are putting a lot of effort into wooing Generation Ys. These are consumers born roughly between 1980 and 2000 — also known as the Millennials — who have gotten a bad rap for wanting two-hour workdays and free beer in the work fridge, which is a whole other story.
The truth is this segment has a lot of buying power and isn't shy about making its wants known. A new study by the Cassandra Report of 1,200 Gen Ys shed some interesting light.
Young consumers continue to rely on brand names for consistency and quality, but they no longer use brands to define who they are. They don't want brands that suffocate their own style or that carry too much visual baggage, a reality that doesn't bode well for the likes of Abercrombie & Fitch and other tribe-like brands. Instead, they prefer to imprint their personal style on products through customization and a mix-and-match mentality.
The report points to companies that have "debranded'' their brands in response to Millennial trends. Starbucks Coffee killed the name from its logo two years ago, going with just an image of the mermaid. Microsoft dropped the "Windows,'' and Coach eliminated the ubiquitous "C's'' on some of its products.
Unlike many older shoppers who used to shun generics as inferior, many Gen Y consumers actually prefer generics over brand names. They like items from the stores they frequent, like generics from Trader Joe's and Whole Foods' 365 Everyday Value brand.
Plain doesn't mean boring. Millennials like customizing their stuff, whether it be through animal print nail art, bejeweled iPhone cases or shoes with interchangeable straps.
Overall, the message is simple: Retailers have to figure out how to make their lines distinguishable without relying solely on a logo.
Susan Thurston can be reached at sthurston@tampabay, (813) 225-3110 or @susan_thurston on Twitter.