Who Do I Need to Blow to Buy Lysol in Denver?

While COVID-19 doesn't seem to be going away anytime soon, the period of product shortages is widely perceived to be over. After all, the city is again flush with toilet paper, which was such a rare commodity in Denver that people were fighting over it at supermarkets.

But there's one item related to viral safety that's still in short supply: Lysol spray. Aerosol containers of the staple are so tough to find at stores in the metro area and beyond that we won't be surprised if people start offering sexual favors to anyone willing to pony up.

As evidence, consider our personal search for Lysol, which we've conducted in vain for well over six weeks and counting.

Our hunt for Lysol began because my wife is the principal of a school in the Archdiocese of Denver system, which is opening for full-time in-person instruction tomorrow, August 26. In anticipation of this date, she has been stockpiling cleaning supplies needed to make the facility as safe as possible over the long haul, and while she's succeeded at tracking down most of the stuff she requires, Lysol has been elusive for months.

National news agencies took note of these shortages earlier this month, with ABC News reporting that popular disinfectants may be tough to locate until 2021 — and that certainly seems to be the case in Colorado.

The last time we actually spotted Lysol in the wild was during a Fourth of July visit to Grand Junction, which we dubbed the Colorado city the virus forgot because of its blessedly low infection rate. Even though my wife was purchasing for an institution rather than personal use, she limited her take to just three cans lest she be perceived as a hoarder.

It's a thoughtful decision we rue in retrospect.

Since then, we have looked for Lysol in every grocery and department store we've visited — and there have been dozens upon dozens upon dozens of them. Indeed, my wife has been routinely making stops at a Safeway or Sam's Club on her way to work in the hope of finding the shelves full after early-morning stocking, but to no avail.

We've looked everywhere from Sterling to the Mile High Flea Market. While at most spots we've found loads of goods intended to help folks through the pandemic, Lysol is never among them.

This weekend, we checked out a King Soopers, a Walmart, two Targets, a Big Lots and even a Five Below, and eyeballed enough bath tissue for at least 10,000 cabooses. But Lysol? Hell, no. My wife has recruited a dozen staffers and donors to look for Lysol whenever they go shopping, and they've come dry, too. As for online purchasing, the spray has been on back order at every site on which she's clicked.

Because she started early, the school has some Lysol ready for day one tomorrow, and when that's exhausted, she's got alternatives at the ready to make the classrooms as hygienic as possible. But if this goes on much longer, I'll likely be recruited to head to the nearest street corner with a sign reading, "Will Work for Lysol."

And "work" is a very flexible term.
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts