Having read a post by FinnishBabyBoy, properly this time, I've become aware of a very big difference between the UK (and maybe Finland, going by what Finnish says) and the USA.
Here in the UK it has always been hard to find decent, robust diapers in the retail sector. The dominant pharmacy chain in the UK is Boots, and as any British AB/DL will tell you their incontinence products - even the ones sold as being for 'heavy' incontinence - are comically unfit for purpose. Anything more than a slow trickle of pee overwhelms them. Anyone wanting products that could handle even one heavy wetting had to seek out shops that were aimed at disability/mobility issues, at least some of which carried incontinence pads of a more robust nature. These were rare enough in the first place, only to be found in larger towns, but in recent years, thanks to the convenience of internet ordering and delivery, a lot of these shops have been closing down. So now, for instance, in the city I live in - Glasgow - it is basically impossible to get anything on the High Street apart from the aforementioned Boots products ... which are only really useful for fancy dress purposes.
In contrast, on those occasions when I've visited America, I've found that every mall, or city street, has a Walgreens or a CVS or an equivalent - in which heavy duty incontinence kit is carried as standard. It's just occurred to me why this should be the case.
It isn't because Americans are more incontinent than us. It's because of the National Health Service here in Britain. Anyone suffering from genuinely severe incontinence here in the UK will have gone to their doctor, and received a prescription for proper incontinence pants and pads - historically, they will either have paid nothing for these, or will have had to make only token payments. The result has been that there was no point in the retail sector doing much to compete. And the result for UK based AB/DLs was that getting access to properly made plastic pants and properly made adult nappies has always been hard - sometimes close to impossible. Whilst in America, without government-subsidised health provision, the opposite was the case.
I suspect that some British AB/DLs in the past may have had to go so far as to fake incontinence, present themselves at their medical practice, and basically obtain useable diapers on prescription by fraud. I wonder if any of our older British members have any experience or reminiscences to offer about obtaining incontinence supplies in the fifties, sixties, seventies?
The irony is that from every other point of view I am enormously proud of the British National Health Service. Only in this one case do I find myself wishing that we had never had one. The internet has made it not just easy, but possible for British ABDLs to lay their hands on decent diapers - but we're at the mercy of delivery times. How much easier it would be if we could - as people still can in America - go down to the local mall or high street and buy something at a time and in a place when we're sure no-one is going to see. Much easier than fearfully contemplating the possibility that parents or partners will come to the door, bemusedly receive a large, slightly squashy package, and open it to discover a new world of incontinence protection ...