Mythbusting: Does Home Depot Have A Meth-Lab Aisle?

We like that show Mythbusters on the Discovery Channel, and in their honor we’d like to invite all of our readers to bust or confirm a myth that just arrived in our tip box:

I have no proof of this, but it comes from a reliable source (well, someone I consider reliable).

Home Depots in the South (specifically, Tulsa, OK) have a special “MethAmphetamine Lab” Section. Since all the Meth-Lab supplies are legal, they got sick of junkies coming in and pestering their staff for the where-abouts of dozens of supplies. Now they just point them to the designated isle.

This sounds easy enough to confirm with a photo. It also sounds really, really, really unlikely. Please do not be stupid enough to go to Home Depot and ask them for the Meth Supplies Section. Send photos to tips [at] consumerist [dot] com. D.A.R.E. to just say no, or whatever. Drugs are bad.—MEGHANN MARCO

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. I wasn’t aware that Oklahoma was classified as the “South”…I guess you learn something new every day…

  2. Mike Tyson's movie career says:
  3. averdade says:

    Oh come on… this is totally bogus. First off the myth submitter thinks that Oklahoma is the South.

  4. WindowSeat says:

    @12-inch Idongivafuck Sandwich: I made he mistake of telling a Tulsa-born Sooner friend that thinks Norman,OK is the cultural center of the universe that Oklahoma was in the Mid-West. It wasn’t pretty.

  5. Ben Popken says:

    @12-inch Idongivafuck Sandwich: Maybe he’s in North OK.

    Anyway… I kinda doubt this rumor. I remember watching on TV that law enforcement has made stores remove certain supplies and replace them with others in cases where you could swap out items that are good for meth lab use with those that are not. Also, if you buy a meth lab supplies from a store, it could trigger a law enforcement response.

  6. @Ben Popken: I thought the same thing about the rumor…especially since now anytime I want to buy some Claritin-D I have to go to the pharmacy and they have to log (name, address, etc) my purchase. And I can only purchase one package per day (doesn’t matter if it is the 5 pack, 10 pack, or 20 pack)…with the attention Meth is getting these days, I doubt Home Depot would pull a stunt like that…

  7. uhyesiam says:

    As they would say on the show: “Plausible”

    But unfortunately, not likely.

  8. Fujikopez says:

    I don’t know about this particular case, but I used to work at a housewares retailer and we once had one of those floating managers that have worked in stores all over the country. He said that when he was working in California the drug dealers would come in looking for drug-making and -packaging supplies (of course they wouldn’t say that though but one could tell) and they would always try to up-sell to them. For instance, they would try to sell them Foodsavers to package their marijuana in, to make it look more “professional”. I guess these guys would buy hundreds of dollars worth of merchandise because of these suggestions. It turned into a kind of competition between employees; they all thought it was funny.

  9. katana says:

    I think that despite all the supplies being “legal” or having legit uses, this would place HD of OK in the category of “aiding and abetting”.

    And yes, certain legit product sales are monitored since they are quite often used illegally. Buying certain products in quantity like sugar and grains can set off the alarms as that could be an indicator of moonshining. Not illegal to sell these things, but for a store to line them up in a row and announce a “moonshiner’s special” would easily land them in hot water (or wart) for aiding and abetting.

  10. Kornkob says:

    On the other hand, I wonder if this myth got started because most of the materials that one would use to make meth that Home Depot carries are found in 3 isles that, in my HD, are found right next to each other.

    Not that I have ever made meth but I’ve seen several shows about the subject and the kinds of things they would need that HD has are in the 3 departments that sit right next to each other where I shop.

    However HD would not be a ‘one stop shop’ to be sure, since they don’t carry all the ingredients.

  11. MattyMatt says:

    If Oklahoma isn’t in the South, then where is it?

  12. Falconfire says:

    Midwest.

  13. LatherRinseRepeat says:

    Ha! This story is a prime candidate for Snopes.com or other urban myth sites. But I call BS on this. Mainly because of..

    I have no proof of this, but it comes from a reliable source (well, someone I consider reliable).

    But I’ll wait until someone provides a valid photo of the meth lab aisle.

  14. Namrepus says:

    Video or pictures, now. Not later, not “when I get home.” Now.

  15. katana says:

    @Falconfire:

    midwest!? The midwest must make up about 2/3 of the nation.

    Midwest
    Southern

    I’ll argue that Oklahoma simple does not exist.

  16. Hitchcock says:

    Shouldn’t you tell us what they “common items” are that would make up a meth lab isle? I mean, I can go to my local HD, but I have no idea what would constitute a meth lab isle.

  17. Scuba Steve says:

    Nothing west or north of Texas is “South”.

    Geographically and Culturally.

  18. Meg Marco says:
  19. Skamandrios says:

    For those in Texas, the region beginning with Oklahoma and extending northward is known simply as “up yonder,” see also “Canada.”

  20. Michael Bauser says:

    “Please do not be stupid enough to go to Home Depot and ask them for the Meth Supplies Section.”

    But if you do, don’t bother with photographs — We want video!

  21. MeOhMy says:

    You can be certain it’s not just labelled “meth supplies” but it doesn’t seem completely impossible that the items are grouped together intentionally or by coincidence and they tell the meth-heads where to go.

    Or perhaps they just say “I’ll see…” and run and hide and the meth-heads think the guy said “Aisle C.”

    After the ludicrous charade I had to go through to get some Sudafed last week, I am tempted to go buy a stack of other items that can potentially be used to make meth. Maybe it would help lawmakers realize how little these “dog-and-pony” type measures accomplish.

    But I doubt it.

  22. canuckistan says:

    To us up here, you’re all “The South”…

    YEE HAW PARD’NERS

  23. Kornkob says:

    @Hitchcock: Common supplies?
    http://www.ablecleanup.com/Signs.htm

    Plastic tubing
    Propane tanks (sometimes spray-painted or burned, with bent or tampered valves)
    Camp stove fuel
    Empty cans of toluene, alcohol or paint thinner
    Ammonia
    Starter fluid
    Glass containers
    Coffee filters with red stains
    Funnels, rock salt, iodine
    Lithium batteries
    Hydrogen peroxide
    Ephedrine or pseudoephedrine tablets

  24. SuperJdynamite says:

    “I think that despite all the supplies being “legal” or having legit uses, this would place HD of OK in the category of “aiding and abetting”.”

    Not really.

  25. SuperJdynamite says:

    Does each Home Depot really have that much control over their stock layout that they can simply put a bunch of random stuff together?

  26. B says:

    Oklahoma isn’t in the South or the Midwest because it didn’t become a state until after those regions were designated.

  27. Ben Popken says:

    @Kornkob: Can I really get the coffee filters pre-red stained?

  28. heypal says:

    @B:

    Bullshit. If the northern and southern halves of California were to split into seperate states, they would both still be in the West. The Midwest and the South are geographical designations, not just labels.

  29. Lacclolith says:

    Ah hell, I’m in South Carolina, and Home Depot is only about five miles away… I’ll take my digicam and see what’s what.

  30. iameleveneight says:

    @canuckistan:

    And to us, you’re all hosers.

    “ABOOT!”

  31. loreshdw says:

    When I worked at a Lowe’s, I would get at least one idiot high school kid a week wandering the plumbing section to build their own bowl. And every other day someone who was abviously high would ask for screens.

  32. Elvisisdead says:

    OK is definitely in the South. We Texans wish they weren’t, but they are. The OK panhandle is surreal. Google “okie noodling” and after watching it, if you believe that OK is still midwest, let me know.

    They are also, geographically speaking, the METH CAPITOL OF THE KNOWN UNIVERSE. If there’s anywhere that this is true, it’s in OK.

  33. AcidReign says:

    …..I don’t know about that Meth Capitol thing. People blow up their trailers making meth here in Alabama all the time. It’s gotten harder to get cold tabs at the pharmacy, so the druggies rob houses. It’s kind of weird when your house gets robbed, and they skip the TV and computer, and go straight to the medicine cabinet! That will all settle down soon, though, because Mexicans at the Birmingham Airport are starting to bring in better meth than any makeshift lab can produce, and lots of it.

  34. Nemesis_Enforcer says:

    When I lived in Wichita we were all treated the same from Texans. Everything above Texas was North Texas. Everything West was West Texas and everything East was of course East Texas.

  35. admiralackbar says:

    I’d argue the “meth capital” moniker though… Northern Cali (esp. Marysville area ~45min north of Sacramento) is tweakerland… Scary stretches of “main road” there. It’s also where a McD’s drive through was selling meth with the big macs…

  36. Sudonum says:

    As some one who spends a LOT of time at Home Depots in the south Louisiana area (anymore south and I’d be Cuban), I can say without a doubt HD’s down here either don’t have the item, or keep them in the respective departments

    Plastic tubing – Plumbing aisle

    Propane tanks (sometimes spray-painted or burned, with bent or tampered valves) – Filled ones are out front under lock and key. Unfilled are usually in the outdoors or garden section near the lawnmowers/edgers

    Camp stove fuel – Don’t carry, unless you can substitute citronella

    Empty cans of toluene, alcohol or paint thinner – Paint, don’t think they carry toluene

    Ammonia – Cleaning / Janitorial section

    Starter fluid – Outdoor / Garden near the propane tanks

    Glass containers – Don’t carry

    Coffee filters with red stains – Don’t carry with or without red stains

    Funnels, rock salt, iodine – Funnels are in the Outdoor / Garden section near the gas cans

    Lithium batteries – Tools or check out lanes

    Hydrogen peroxide – Don’t carry

    Ephedrine or pseudoephedrine tablets – Don’t carry

  37. mechanismatic says:

    Oklahoma is definitely not the South. Culturally, neither is northern Virginia (that’s just a suburb of DC) or major parts of Florida. To a Southerner from Alabama or Tennessee, Oklahoma is “out west.” Heck, people from the Deep South would prefer Kentucky and Arkansas weren’t in the delineation either.

  38. acambras says:

    I love how Meghann refers to Oklahoma as “Diet Texas.”

  39. Plaid Rabbit says:

    @mechanismatic: As a resident of a larger Kentucky city for most of my life, most of us would rather not be in that delineation, as well.

    We play the hand we’re dealt – we say “y’all” too much for the North, and we fought for the Union in that pesky war so the “true” South doesn’t want us.

  40. Gerard Sorme says:

    I can’t believe this hasn’t been mentioned yet….Oklahoma is more often considered the Southwest than anything. Culturally it is definitely Southwestern. By the way, Oklahoma was the first state in the nation to put Sudafed (and the generics) behind the counter and they take your license info at purchase(saw that on Dateline just recently). The same show said meth labs in Oklahoma have plummeted and the state now ranks somewhere in the middle for meth production. The Home Depot story HAS to be a myth.

  41. reginae says:

    Well, it wouldn’t be the first time that Home Depot has made the news on the drug topic. Remember last summer when some Home Depot customers discovered drugs in the cabinets they purchased? There were something like 50 pounds of mj in one of the bathroom vanities. Interesting way to pass off the shipment though — have your cronies buy special furniture from the corner Home Depot. Nice.

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2006/06/1

  42. brilliantmistake says:

    Oklahoma=Flyover State

    ’nuff said

  43. jesirose says:

    Did anyone bother to look at a map? Here:
    http://www.ctsnet.org/graphics/us-map.gif

    OK is the one right above Texas. How can that be anything but the south? It’s right in the center, at the bottom. It’s not anything-”west”, and it’s one state away from the border.

    Y’all are nuts.

    Also, I hate meth because now I have to buy allergy medicine at the pharmacy.

  44. Deusfaux says:

    ON the contrary… there was a persisting “myth” that one can purchase a beer bong kit at local Canadian tires for the same reason (employees otherwise being annoyed by teens looking for the supplies to make one themselves).

    Dunno if that’s true or not either.

  45. Watcher95 says:

    South of the Maxon-Dixon line = South

    West of the Mississippi = California

  46. lucabrazi says:

    You aren’t getting it: There is LA because we need our porn. There is New York because we need a stock exchange. There is the Southwest because we weren’t keen on testing our nukes on Texas soil. There is the South because everyone needs that depraved, goofy cousin as a source of amusement. There is the Midwest because someone has to grow the crap that cows eat. There is the Northwest because we had to put the productive hippies somewhere separate from the Californians. And there is the Northeast because, well, somebody has to talk to the freaking Europeans and it damn sure isn’t going to be us. Then there’s Texas. Meth fits in with the depraved, goofy cousin hence Oklahoma is in the South.

  47. matukonyc says:

    Since the Oklahoma territory permitted slavery, a lot of us Yankees lump it together with “The South,” especially since you’re all so touchy about it.

  48. toxicredm says:

    That designated “isle”, do they have a Skipper and a Professor there too?

  49. synergy says:

    @lucabrazi: Well said! That’s exactly how I’d say it! Being a born and raised Texan, too.

  50. fwdmd says:

    I work at HD, and I used to substitute teach at a prison-to-release program. The guys actually were very helpful about telling me about common HD products for meth production, and explaining why lithium batteries are secured or near highly observable areas to prevent shop-lifting.

    Lithium battery was totally new to me, and I’ve worked as a counselor, etc. – with other populations where such – detailed manufacturer knowledge was common and freely shared.

    Never once did they mention a “meth aisle” or getting extra help with their shopping needs or questions – but I bet a lot of them wished for the convenience. I actually wish I’d known of this urban myth to share, back when I still was subbing.