Is This a Tampon in a Frappuccino or Nah?

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Is This a Tampon in a Frappuccino or Nah?
Photo: (Megan Reynolds)

An especially unsavory tweet circulated late Monday morning, depicting what, at first blush, appears to be an act of dastardly and disgusting disrespect against the police. In an incident similar to the alleged poisoning of NYPD officers by Shake Shack employees, a story which turned out to be a lie invented by police, this time an off-duty LAPD officer alleged that he found a tampon in his Frappuccino, the news of which was reported by Fox 11 reporter Bill Melgulin. The photo that accompanied the tweet showed something that certainly doesn’t belong in a Frappuccino, but, to the eyes of the Jezebel staff, didn’t quite look like a tampon, either.

FOX 11’s report states that the Frappuccino in question was made at a Starbucks licensee location inside a Target and that the off-duty LAPD officer used his police union credit card to pay for the beverage. A spokesperson for the Los Angeles Police Protective League told Fox 11 in a statement: “This disgusting assault on a police officer was carried out by someone with hatred in their heart and who lacks human decency. We hope they are publicly exposed, fired, arrested, and prosecuted for their cowardly and repugnant actions.” The police officer who allegedly received this Frappuccino surprise reportedly “angrily went back inside to confront the staff once he made the discovery, and gave the cup back at some point.” For those worried about this incident and the threat of others like it around the country, the surveillance footage is being reviewed by the police department.

While I trust that the surveillance footage will reveal no untoward activity, placing any trust in the police’s ability to not self-victimize is a fool’s errand.
Also, I am intimately familiar with tampons and their mechanics; nothing about this looked like a tampon. Surely the police officer is lying, but who can really say? I had to seek the truth.

The substance found in the Frappuccino does not resemble any sort of tampon that I’ve ever used or seen in the wild. It’s long, it’s clumpy, and if you look at it quickly, resembles a cat hairball or maybe some paper towels. A tampon doesn’t expand lengthwise and if it did, the shape would be uniform and not lumpen and irregular, as this item is. Tampons expand widthwise to accommodate a wide variety of body shapes and types. Everyone’s vagina is different, but a tampon that resembled housing insulation or a long clot of cotton batting would be entirely ineffective. But even though I knew in my heart that this was absolute bullshit, I had to see it through for myself, for journalism, and for justice. Here is my investigation.

Photo:Megan Reynolds

I procured a medium caramel Frappuccino at the Starbucks down the street and ferried it back to my home. The only tampon I had available was a Tampax Radiant Super, which would suffice for my purposes. After skimming a little of the Frappuccino off the top for personal consumption, I extruded the ‘pon from its plastic home and placed it in the beverage, leaving the string dangling for easy access.

She is in there. Photo:Megan Reynolds

The plan was to let the tampon marinate for the amount of time it might take to make a Frappuccino, serve it to the customer, and then have that customer drink enough of it to discover the item in question. It took the barista at Starbucks about four minutes to make my drink and it took another three minutes or so for me to walk back to my house. I don’t know how long it takes a normal person to drink a Frappuccino, nor do I want to make any assumptions about the LAPD officer’s frozen drink consumption habits. In a gesture towards fairness that is also reflective of my magnanimous nature, I waited for about 4o minutes before checking on my science experiment.

Photo: (Megan Reynolds)

The Frappuccino had started to melt and so the tampon was sinking further down into the cup, absorbing more liquid and becoming heavier. The expansion and texture of the item are crucial; as expected, the tampon expanded widthwise not lengthwise, and also maintained its structural integrity. The clumps at the top of the ‘pon are not dissimilar in appearance to the supposed tampon in the offending tweet, but upon closer examination, I determined that was just bits of ice from the Frappuccino itself. I waited for another hour or so, distracted by work and a brief errand, then checked on the feminine hygiene item in the kitchen.

Photo:Megan Reynolds

About two hours after my experiment began, the Frappuccino in question had melted completely. Notice how the froth at the top of the tampon, which is the only bit that bears any resemblance to the substance in question, has melted. The tampon expanded widthwise as suspected, and the ice melted, leaving a sodden cotton tampon soaked in coffee-adjacent liquid. There is nothing about the tweet in question that resembles the results of this experiment. I’m not in the habit of saying anyone is a liar unless they absolutely are, but in the case of the unnamed LAPD officer who got a “tampon” in his “Frappuccino,” the verdict is clear. Justice has been served.

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