Fascinating article on New York Magazine on how Tide, a clothes detergent considered the Rolls Royce of its class, is often stolen because its street value allows it to be traded for crack.
As the cases piled up after his teams first Tide-theft bust, Thompson sought an answer to the riddle at the center of the crimes: What did thieves want with so much laundry soap? To find out, he and his unit pored over security recordings to identify prolific perpetrators, whom officers then tracked down and detained for questioning. We never promised to go easy on them, but they were willing to talk about it, Thompson says. I guess they were bragging. It turned out the detergent wasnt being used as an ingredient in some new recipe for getting high, but instead to buy drugs themselves. Tide bottles have become ad hoc street currency, with a 150-ounce bottle going for either $5 cash or $10 worth of weed or crack cocaine. On certain corners, the detergent has earned a new nickname: Liquid gold. The Tide people would never sanction that tag line, of course. But this unlikely black market would not have formed if they werent so good at pushing their product.
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