The only thing constant in life is that buying condoms is always an awkward experience. In the beginning of one's sexual adolescence it starts out as a downright embarrassing process and only becomes less so with age. Maybe it's because we often don't even call them by their real names, instead only referring to them as ones, or thingies, or supplies.
A majority of people's first time buying condoms start off more-or-less in the same manner and utilize a tactic I like to call The Trojan Horse. It's when you buy a pack of gum or some other random thing at the store for absolutely no reason other than to try and conceal your actual purchase of prophylactics. It's all part of an elaborate scheme so that the cashier doesn't look at you funny, since there's always the risk that you'll get the one douchebag out of 1,000 who does.
The best Trojan Horse story came from a girl I know via text message.
"Basically what happened was I bought champagne, lube, a toilet plunger and condoms all at once while really needing to pee. [But] the guy checking me out at the counter didn't quite understand that."
"Why not?" I replied.
"...duh! He thought I was going to get drunk and DO the plunger! And because of me needing to pee it all seemed very urgent."
Nothing is quite like running out of condoms at the exact wrong moment. And when I began asking people if they had stories to share, one girl felt uncomfortable telling her tragically comedic tale to me directly. Instead, she had a mutual friend tell it to me in her place:
Girl meets guy in college. But she felt uncomfortable about fucking him in her shared dorm room, so they ended up renting a cheap motel room where they ran into the ultimate mood killer at the peak of touch. Neither party had a condom and she wasn't ready to trade in her textbooks for a lamaze class, so she made him leave to purchase some. Obviously in a hurry, he ran across the street in his underwear and ending up buying a packet of love gloves with loose change he had managed to keep in his clutches the entire time.
The methodologies of condom buying have changed over the years due to wondrous technological advances and, in some cities, irritating obstacles, thanks to meth heads whose incessant cough syrup purchases inspired placing certain essentials behind bullet-proof glass and making it that more difficult to pick up a pack of condoms. (And Robitussin.)
Remember when they first came out with DIY electronic check out stands? They were pretty similar to the ones we have now, except they used to announce everything you bought out loud. Thankfully, some engineer decided to make the devices more discreet because no family on their weekly round at the supermarket really needs to hear THANK YOU FOR PURCHASING YOUR TROJAN MAGNUMS in an automaton voice.
But those damn meth heads. Thanks of them, we now have to physically ask clerks to open that glass case of goodies for you. At first it was just to block the junkies from stealing medicine bottles, but then pharmacies started getting hip to the fact that they're pretty good deterrents for all kinds of thievery. Including, but not limited to, electric toothbrushes and condoms.