America's new liquid currency

rfd-tide-sfSpan This is a discussion about a slightly different kind of consumer.  Experts in the New York Times today are discussing why shoplifters have developed a penchant for stealing Tide laundry detergent.

The original reporting on this situation comes from The Atlantic, which illustrates how Tide has become currency for drug deals.  As one dealer put it to an undercover cop, "I'm out of marijuana right now, but when I get re-upped I'll hook you up if you can get me 15 bottles of Tide."

The discussion at the NYT is expansive, ranging from an appraisal of the brand equity of Tide, to a discussion of the barter system that unfolds in underprivileged communities.