Presumably, most of you readers are aware that many supermarkets have a rack located somewhere near the rear of the store that is stocked with off-price merchandise: discontinued items, items with damaged packaging, out-of-season products, etc.
Over the years, I have been a regular checker of this rack, looking for such bargains. I have purchased breakfast cereal, soup, cookies, candy, and miscellaneous other non-perishables. I've even purchased two bags of Kingsford charcoal.
In addition, I've seen household products, health and beauty, school supplies; and everything else you can imagine, running the gamut from "A" to "Z," for sale. Recently however, on this rack I saw a product I'm not sure I even thought was available to the general public, and if it was, would have thought buying it from the discontinued merchandise rack at the supermarket would not have been the way to go. But what do I know? As has been proven many times: not much.
The item? A DNA Paternity Test Kit. I guess, I thought, if this test was necessary, it would involve a physician or at least be administered by a health care professional and/or involve witnesses/legal representation (at least a notary). Going to the supermarket or even the drug store? And then testing yourself without necessarily knowing the precautions and proper procedures appropriate for the task at hand?
There seems as if there's a bit more at stake here than an at-home pregnancy test, a test with which many of us are familiar. But DNA testing at home?
What is this, the Maury Povich Show?
Having not traveled down this particular road myself, perhaps I'm unaware of the realities. All I know is what I've seen on television or read about in the papers.
I guess I just assumed (generally a bad thing), that the steps one takes to verify/confirm/resolve paternity-type issues were a bit more involved than a visit to the supermarket.
Apparently, this subject is just another where I know very little about, like tools and how to use them, automobile repair, home maintenance, lawn and garden, cooking, and on and on and on. But enough about me.
What about those wanting answers to extraordinarily important questions: Who's the father? And is that my child? Looks can be deceiving; so a professional, or so I thought incorrectly, is brought in to oversee the process.
Nope. No professional need apply. Just go to your local "chemist," as they say in England. No need to visit "the surgery," as they also say over there.
Just find a box with the right letters on it and go back to your home/work and swab, stick, pin-prick or whatever and the results will be known soon enough if you or someone else is whomever they claim to be or not to be. That is the question which begs an answer, Shakespeare notwithstanding.
It seems only fair that one's birthright should be gotten wrong. And not that home testing can't be trusted. Just the opposite. Nevertheless, some things, like circumcisions, though they can be performed at home (see "Shaky the mohel" from a long ago Seinfeld episode).
I would have thought, a DNA Paternity test, given the need/want of a resolution/clarification which could possibly impact multiple individuals/families over generations, be similarly performed in the most careful of conditions. This kind of test has no margin for error – or humor.
"Bought the kit in the discount rack at my local supermarket." Is that the answer you want to give when all eyes are on you? And saying how much you saved over regular price is unlikely to endear you to any and all of the interested parties on hand.
After all, money really isn't the issue.