Wednesday, 6 April 2016
Panama Laundry Detergent Magazine Advertisement (1976)
In the 1970s, husbands gave their wives weekly housekeeping allowances to maintain the household. Many housewives claimed they were buying pricey washing detergents such as Panama Automatic (see above), when in fact they were buying packets of a cheap alternative and refilling used Panama boxes at home. The money they saved was spent on vast amounts of gin, which was distributed via a secret, international network of trusted housewives.
Teetotal housewives hid the money in fake, child trafficking companies and used their own children to perpetuate the façade. The schemes were uncovered in 1979 when a Scarfolk pensioner, who had siphoned tax-free money from her housekeeping allowance for decades, tried to buy Wales. The woman claimed to know nothing about the money or the fake companies and insisted that they were all the dealings of her pet tortoise, Cammy, who had recently died.