Hey, Buddy, can you spare me a whitening strip?

I swear I am not making up the following entry. It appeared in the Lancaster, PA LNP newspaper, April 10, 2016:

“Police Log: Lancaster Township–Theft Charges: Marcel Wengerter, 42, of Hellam, was charged with stealing a total of $724 worth of Crest White Strips from Giant, 1360 Columbia Ave., on March 3 and March 7, police said.”

What can we say about this unfortunate circumstance? First, that’s the store where I shop, so I may have brushed past Marcel on her way to stock up on teeth whitener. But beyond that, you have to wonder what would move anybody, no matter what shade their teeth, to attempt to lift that much product. Is Marcel a victim of the endless Madison Avenue advertising that insists that the best people have teeth so dazzlingly white their smile blinds you? Did Marcel just quit smoking and now wants to catch up with the “bright white smile” crowd? Or, in a sinister dental plot twist, has Marcel cornered the black market for teeth whitener in this part of Pennsylvania? I know the stuff is expensive, but Marcel is now charged with stealing more than $700 worth of it over two visits to the store. That sounds serious, criminally speaking. Marcel will likely face some serious court costs, at least, before this is all over. That’ll put a bite on her budget, no doubt. In any case, let this be a lesson to us all. No matter how much advertisers tell us we can’t make it in American society with less than sparkling, white teeth, it ain’t worth paying big fines or doing time.

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