Robbers And Rubbers

By Posted on 59 Comments 4 min read

Long before anyone had access to the internet, the nearest thing to ordering online was commonly called mail order.

Faux Pas

Quite simply, you ordered something by writing a letter and enclosing a postal order or cheque to pay for the goods. The Sunday newspapers were full of ‘mail order’ offers advertising anything from slacks for the modern man to hops for the discerning home brewer. Usually, it worked well although there was always the odd faux pas that many people would buy. Off the top of my head, I’m thinking tabletop cement mixer, you know, something that would be totally useless.

I’d Rather Forget

One incident which remains lodged in my memory, filed under ‘I would rather forget this moment’ category keeps rearing its head every few years. I must have been about 18 as were most of my friends at the time. Phil lived 4 doors down from me and I’d known him since we moved to the area about 6 years before. He was very shy and while always a regular member of our gang, he would never be the spokesperson, if you get my drift.

Surprise!

Out of the blue one day, Phil came to see me at my parents’ house, asking if I ‘could do him a big favour.’ No problem was my initial thought, after all, he was a ‘wall flower’ so whatever the favour was, it wasn’t going to be something illegal involving weird substances. Boy, was I surprised? It turns out Phil had got himself a girlfriend and was hoping things would get a little more involved than talking about her favourite Victoria sponge recipe.

Something for the weekend?

Stressful

He wanted to buy some ‘Durex’, but there was no way he would purchase any over the counter from the chemists or even the barbers back then. He was far too embarrassed to do that. So, he had discovered mail order in one of the Sunday newspapers and sent his postal order off in return for 1,000 ‘Durex’ delivered in a plain brown cardboard box. His problem was he had nowhere to keep the box as he didn’t want his parents to know. It was all legal and he was 18, but the thought that his folks might find out he had ordered these things and using them was causing him too much stress.

Can I Help?

This is where I enter the story. Phil wanted me to take delivery of the ‘secret’ cardboard box, keep it at my folks’ house and give him a handful whenever he needed them. Of course, there was no problem on my side of things, I was always ordering bits and pieces for my guitars and I had a huge built-in wardrobe in my bedroom where I could keep the box hidden away from any prying eyes. All sorted then, the box arrived mid-week, I opened it up to check the contents and hid it in my wardrobe. I took a handful of the things out and passed them onto Phil. Job done.

Damn Robbers

Lo and behold, a couple of days later my parents’ house was burgled!! By the time I got home from work, my parents were already there with a couple of police officers. What a mess. The first thing that hit me as well as anyone else that came in the house was the almost 1,000 Durex packets all over the place. Believe me when I tell you, 1,000 of these things cover the landing, the stairs and the hallway!! The policewoman looked at me and asked if they were mine! What could I say? Both my parents were there! It’s probably the most embarrassing day of my whole life. As I tried to explain that they belonged to a friend, I realised just how ridiculous my story sounded. No matter how I tried to change the subject, nothing worked and the policewoman seemed preoccupied with the number of these little packages there were strewn about the place.

Hello, hello, hello….

The police were there for about an hour, asking questions and filling in forms and drinking tea. On their way out, the policeman turned to me and said, ‘I wouldn’t use them if I were you, son’ pointing at the gazillion Durex packets. ‘Burglars are known to put pinholes in the things!’ I thanked him for his concern and bid him well as I closed the door. I never said a word to Phil about what the policeman told me and as far as I know, he never had any problems. Come to think of it, I don’t think he used many of the things after the initial handful I gave him. I bet the box was still there long after I left home!

I usually place a link here to an informative website about the subject matter I have written. I just couldn’t think of anything suitable, so here’s a link to another post on my blog. Locked In.

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59 Comments
  • Invisibly Me
    June 27, 2021

    Wow, you just canโ€™t make this stuff up! ๐Ÿ˜‚

    I never knew mail order would offer the bulk buying of 1,000 Durex back then, thatโ€™s impressive. Bad for you of course, but then you could never have known theyโ€™d be strewn like confetti all around the house. But come on, what are the chances of a robbery (and a burglar who didnโ€™t want all those rubbers for himself)?

    Do you think your folks ever believed you, that you were just holding the goods for Phil? Were the robbers ever caught? Your poor parents, too, having that happen. That’s awful. And you of course, mentally scarred by anything rubbery or in a small packet for the rest of your life ๐Ÿ˜†๐Ÿ˜†๐Ÿ˜†

    • Trev
      June 27, 2021

      I think you could buy almost anything back then by Mail if you knew where to look. I laugh about it now, but it was dreadfully embarrassing at the time. No, I donโ€™t think they believed me what the truth really was. Thank you, Caz. ๐Ÿ˜Š

  • Anonymous
    June 27, 2021

    Wonderful story Trev! I remember those ads in the papers and a friend ordering Durex by mail order to avoid embarrassment – all such firms promised ‘in plain brown packaging’!

    • Anonymous
      June 27, 2021

      Well I thought that I knew everything about “sex”,~!!. I had to go look up “Durex”, If I ever heard of them I must have forgotten by now. Almost every teen age boy that I knew carried a Trojan in their wallet when I was of that age, just in case they finally “got lucky” Mine stayed there until it sort of melted into a vulcanized mass and never got used. By the time I would really need it, I didn’t dare…. But it served the purpose or the appearance of “being a man”~! However 1000 of them~? Talk about high hopes~! ! That kid was not as bashful as you describe and wealthy too~!

      • Trev
        June 27, 2021

        ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Š

    • Trev
      June 27, 2021

      Iโ€™m glad someone else remembers them too. Thank you ๐Ÿ˜Š

    • Trev
      June 28, 2021

      Thank you ๐Ÿ˜Š

  • Lolsy's Library
    June 27, 2021

    Our newspapers, these days, are full of advertising. One week the front page was half a page of advertising washing machines and dryers O.o It’s a Murdoch newspaper, I think Murdoch will be the death of Murdoch “news”.

    • Trev
      June 27, 2021

      I think youโ€™re right. Thank you, Lolsyโ€™s. ๐Ÿ˜Š

  • luisa zambrotta
    June 27, 2021

    It sounds almost unbelievable, but it must have been embarrassing at the time

    • Trev
      June 27, 2021

      Thank you, Luisa. These things happened. It was embarrassing, but thankfully, itโ€™s such a long time ago now it doesnโ€™t matter anymore. ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Š

  • newepicauthor
    June 27, 2021

    I had a friend that was old enough to get beer when I was 17 and he told me if I bought him rubbers, he would get me beer. I can remember being very embarrassed asking the clerk in the pharmacy for them, but I wanted the beer, so I did it.

    • Trev
      June 27, 2021

      Thanks, Jim. The things we did at that age. ๐Ÿ˜Š

    • Cheryl, Gulf Coast Poet
      June 27, 2021

      Hilarious story, well-told, Trev! <3 I read it out loud to Robert and we laughed out loud for 10 minutes ๐Ÿ™‚ Have a great day!

      • Trev
        June 27, 2021

        Thank you, Cheryl, glad you had a laugh. ๐Ÿ˜Š

  • Anonymous
    June 27, 2021

    I guess he had some very high expectations to buy a thousand at one go.

    • Trev
      June 27, 2021

      I guess he did, lol. ๐Ÿ˜€

  • Roadtirement
    June 27, 2021

    I can just imagine the guffaws that permeated the police station as the responding officers shared their encounter with the “Durex Kid”. Ah, the joys of youth…

    • Trev
      June 27, 2021

      Indeed. ๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿ˜€ Thank you

  • Yetismith
    June 27, 2021

    It was bound to happen, one way or another! How funny!

    • Trev
      June 27, 2021

      Thank you, Yeti ๐Ÿ˜Š

  • Melanie B Cee
    June 27, 2021

    I didn’t know whether to laugh hysterically or be mortified. I went with laughing. That’s just too funny. I would have been hesitant to buy such items through a mail-order house anyway, because most mail-order stuff is fairly cheap. Doesn’t stand up to normal wear and tear and so forth (you fill in the blanks in all that). I still would have denied all knowledge of them and insisted that the burglar or burglars must have had a grudge against your parents and did that condom thing to embarrass everyone. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Trev
      June 27, 2021

      Well, Iโ€™m certainly glad you laughed. I didnโ€™t think fast enough at the time to give an alternative answer. Thank you, Melanie ๐Ÿ˜Š

  • Lisa Orchard
    June 27, 2021

    Oh my gosh! That is hilarious! I can just see one of my boys trying to explain things away LOL!

    • Trev
      June 27, 2021

      Thank you, Lisa. I hope your boys never find themselves in that position. ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ˜Š

  • Pied Type
    June 27, 2021

    “Belongs to a friend.” “Asking for a friend.” Etc. Everyone seems to know that friend.

    • Trev
      June 27, 2021

      Lol!!! They do. ๐Ÿ˜ƒThank you.

  • Rosaliene Bacchus
    June 27, 2021

    What stress and embarrassment! You never know what could happen when you agree to help out a friend. With such a stash, you could’ve resold the stuff by unit. As a single mother of two teenage boys, I thought I would be proactive by buying condoms for them. Better safe than sorry, I told them.

    • Trev
      June 27, 2021

      Thank you, Rosaliene. Different times. ๐Ÿ˜Š

  • andrebeukes64
    June 27, 2021

    Had a good old laugh it this, I was in something like this before as well. Yeah, not exactly the same outcome, but … yeah, it brought some memories flying back in. And a good giggle. Thanks for sharing!

    • Trev
      June 28, 2021

      Thank you, Andre, Iโ€™m glad it brought some memories back for you. ๐Ÿ˜Š

  • Herb
    June 27, 2021

    Comic books used to sell stuff in the back but I never really ordered anything. I can remember the first time I heard of “prophylactics” was when I worked at a drugstore and the owner showed me which drawer they were kept in.

    • Trev
      June 28, 2021

      Thank you, Herb ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

  • SueW
    June 28, 2021

    That is the funniest thing I’ve read in a while.
    Trev, you never fail to make me laugh! Thank you ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Trev
      June 28, 2021

      Thank you, Sue. Iโ€™m glad it gave you a laugh. ๐Ÿ˜Š

  • iammrsshecky
    June 28, 2021

    This is the first time I heard of Durex too, but I did get the drift with the girlfriend ๐Ÿ˜Š. This was funny and what really got me laughing was the presence of a Policewoman to help with the embarrassment. 1000 though! ๐Ÿคฃ Your parents must have had a few laughs.

    • Trev
      June 28, 2021

      Yes, at the time it was soooo embarrassing. Thank you Mrs Shecky ๐Ÿ˜Š

  • Carol Taylor
    June 29, 2021

    Haha,,,I now have a mental picture of the scene and the faces…Thank you for the smiles ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Trev
      June 29, 2021

      Thank you, Carol. I hope the mental picture doesnโ€™t last too long. ๐Ÿ˜Š

  • cronache periferiche
    June 29, 2021

    Nice story Trev! Greetings from Italy.

    • Trev
      June 29, 2021

      Thank you ๐Ÿ˜Š

  • Amanda
    June 30, 2021

    What a riot. Poor you, I can imagine how embarrassed you were. Great story though. ๐Ÿ˜€

    • Trev
      June 30, 2021

      Thank you, Amanda. Yes, it was very embarrassing. I never knew I’d be blogging about it all these years later. ๐Ÿ˜€

  • Laleh Chini
    July 2, 2021

    โค๏ธโค๏ธโค๏ธ

    • Trev
      July 2, 2021

      Thank you, Laleh. ๐Ÿ˜Š

  • dunelight
    July 2, 2021

    I giggled.

    Officer’s report: Someone broke in and flung condoms all over the victim’s landing.

    • Trev
      July 2, 2021

      You could be right. Thank you, Dunelight ๐Ÿ˜Š

  • allenrizzi
    July 8, 2021

    Mail order condoms are apt to be like dollar store pregnancy tests – ๐Ÿ˜‚

  • Andrew Petcher
    July 13, 2021

    Realistically, would the robbers have time to pinhole 1,000 Durex before making their getaway?

    • Trev
      July 13, 2021

      They would only need to pin one or two, know one would know. ๐Ÿ˜Š

  • donmatthewspoetry
    July 26, 2021

    Table-top cement mixers are a boon when mixing cake ingredients for an extended family gathering…..they also pitch in to clean it afterwards……

    Good heavens! 1000? was he thinking of shagging the girl every day?……

    Re the pin-pricking I have just read a crime novel where the person in question did it on purpose. The reasons and results were complicated and could only come from a creative novelist’s mind……

    • Trev
      July 26, 2021

      ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Š

  • liveterra
    July 30, 2021

    ร‡ok gรผzeldi…

  • lorriebowden
    August 1, 2021

    Gotta love when the “It is for/was a friend of mine,” story is real…and yet no one believes it!
    Great story ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Trev
      August 1, 2021

      Thank you, Lorrie. Yes, you may as well put your hands in the air and say ok theyโ€™re mine. ๐Ÿ˜€

  • vermavkv
    August 3, 2021

    nice story..

    • Trev
      August 3, 2021

      Thank you. ๐Ÿ™‚

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