In other words, the machine doesn’t know the difference between your pee and some Frankenpiss created in a science lab.
I’ll always remember the first time I failed a drug test. I was in my early 20s, looking for a marketing job that paid reasonably (“reasonably” meaning pretty much anything higher than minimum wage) and offered any type of upward mobility from bartending and serving food. And I’d somehow made it through first and second interviews, and had received an invitation to meet with the hiring manager, who would also be my direct manager if I was hired for the position. It paid just under $30,000 per year, and I definitely needed the money.
I remember the lady was very nice, with a bright smile but nervous eyes. She seemed genuinely excited when she leaned toward me from the other side of our table at a coffee shop in midtown Atlanta and told me she was offering me the job as a marketing coordinator. For about 10 seconds I felt a huge sense of relief.
Then she said, “There’s just one more thing I need you to do, and I apologize, but I need you to go across the street to those offices and take a drug test.”
She said that the test had to be taken that day, within a two-hour window, or else they’d have to rescind the job offer. My heart melted into my stomach.
Most people (at least the people I know), including me, smoked weed in their early 20s. It’s as all-American as having a Budweiser before you’re legally able to drink—it’s just part of our national pre- and post-college culture. Whatever we do when we get older is a different story, but it’s not uncommon to find cannabis consumers under the age of 25, wherever you are in this great, free country of ours. I remember being extremely frustrated that this test was necessary, and also being very nervous about what my options were, so I decided to put personal politics aside for the moment and just try to get past the piss test.
Luckily for me, or at least so I believed, there was a GNC nutritional supplements shop in the same plaza as the drug testing facility. The hiring manager said she had somewhere else to be, so she got up to leave and let me know that she hoped everything worked out, with a gentle but knowing, almost apologetic smile.
As soon as she’d driven away in her car, I sprinted to the GNC and asked for any cleansing agents they had that could work to rid my system of toxins. Of course, the associate knew what I meant, so he pointed me toward the shelves where there were a variety of drug testing kits and “detox” serums. I saw one that said it would work in three hours. I didn’t have that much time, but it was the best option available.
I remember it was more than $40, which I certainly didn’t have to waste, but was willing to invest if it would open up new income for me with this job that was about to slip through my weed-scented fingers.
I paid the cashier, gulped down the disgusting candy-apple-red liquid in the bottle, and said a prayer.
I waited until a few minutes before the deadline, then walked into the clinic, which had my information ready, along with my urine cup. I peed and I left, hoping for the best but expecting bad news to come.