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Cancel That Price Check: Most Embarrassing Products

Nine drugstore buys that make consumers blush -- and what companies do to make the shopping easier.

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Shoppers do all kinds of things to deflect attention from embarrassing products. One common strategy is to hide the "shameful" items, like condoms or laxatives, behind more ordinary merchandise, like magazines or Kleenex, just to get through the checkout line. Retailers in the U.S. are thought to make an estimated $320 million annually from such "distraction buys," according to one survey. 

Some shoppers routinely drive to a drugstore in a neighborhood other than their own, presumably reducing the risk of running into a familiar face. A small number of people even steal to spare themselves the publicity of a check-out line.

So what are the products that men and women hate to need? Anything connected to sex, thinning hair and scatological bodily functions, it seems. Even in big cities like New York, the presence of these items in a shopping cart can make a buyer sheepish. Here's a closer look at nine "problem" products and how the companies that make them try to reduce the blush factor.


Astroglide
Astroglide
Invented by accident, purchased under cover.
By Mitchell Hall
Condoms
Trojan condoms
Actually, the company's newer products come with a more acute blush factor, and require batteries.
By Lisa LaMotta
Preparation H
Preparation H
Solution to a problem that's an "out-and-out riot."
By Diane Bullock
Beano
Beano
Suffering from deflation? There's a "school" for that.
By Minyanville Staff
Rogaine
Rogaine
Buying a product for hair loss leaves most men feeling exposed.
By Diane Bullock
Extenze
ExtenZe
Reviving an old argument about the importance of size.
By Diane Bullock
Fibercon
Fibercon
A drug store purchase that's anything but regular.
By Diane Bullock
Vagisil
Vagisil
The name alone makes a shopper cringe.
By Trina Robinson
FreezaAway
Dr. Scholl's Freeze Away
Warts with eyebrows are still contagious.
By Trina Robinson
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No positions in stocks mentioned.

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