Why is everyone so obsessed with toilet paper?

  
Via:  buzz-of-the-orient  •  one week ago  •  70 comments

By:   CHRISTIAN COTRONEO

Why is everyone so obsessed with toilet paper?

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T


Why is everyone so obsessed with toilet paper?

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Like this Costco shopper in San Francisco, consumers feel the need to buy more toilet paper. (Photo: Kevin McGovern/Shutterstock.com)

If we could sum up the viral times in which we're living in just a few words, they might be: "Just two per customer."

Everyone gets anxious when the world takes an uncertain turn. And often, we treat that anxiety with a little panic buying .




A study published last year in the Journal of Consumer Research found that people buy things in troubled times as a means of exerting control over their lives. And it's not necessarily new clothes or gadgets. The researchers noted that utility items — specifically, cleaning products — tend to move most briskly from store shelves.

The hoarding of toilet paper, as perhaps the most fundamental cleaning product, may represent our most fundamental fears. An invisible enemy stalks us. It's shutting down countries like dominoes, forcing people to stay home, disconnected from public life as increasingly bad news about coronavirus rolls in.

Maybe people are squeezing the Charmin because, in uncertain times, we need to hold on to something. Maybe a stockpile of toilet paper brings assurances.

There's plenty of love in a time of coronavirus too. Retailers in Australia are giving seniors and people with disabilities their own time to shop. Chinese billionaire Jack Ma is sending America a gift of 1 million masks and 500,000 testing kits.

But mostly, there's fear. And it's nowhere more evident than in the toilet paper aisle.

The truth about toilet paper


The thing is, it's not actually going anywhere. For all the sharp words and even sharper elbows thrown around by toilet paper marauders, they seem to be missing one essential fact: There is no toilet paper shortage.

As The New York Times points out , retailers that see their shelves emptied often restock them in a day, often in just a few hours. Toilet paper makers are rolling with demand, but they're careful not to ratchet up production too dramatically.

That's because people with respiratory illnesses don't actually need more toilet paper.

So why should manufacturers dramatically ramp up production? Cupboards get filled. The market gets glutted. And then, prices go down.

"You are not using more of it. You are just filling up your closet with it," Jeff Anderson, president of paper product manufacturer Precision Paper Converters, tells the Times. "What happens in the summer when demand dries up and people have all this extra product in their homes?"

Probably the same thing that will happen to hand sanitizers and cleansing wipes — people will buy less. If any of these industries decides to cash in on all that panic buying now, it only hurts them down the road. Slow and steady seems to be the refrain from manufacturers in both the U.S. and Canada.

"We've got all the raw material, we've got all the assets running, we have all the production, our sites are at full capacity to recover from this spike," Dino Bianco, chief executive officer of Kruger Products LP, tells the Globe & Mail .

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Manufacturers are rolling with the demand, but they're not drastically increasing production. (Photo: Studio Dagdagaz/Shutterstock)

The thing is, the toilet paper-addled masses have been infected with something many times more contagious than any coronavirus: fear.

"People, being social creatures, we look to each other for cues for what is safe and what is dangerous," Steven Taylor, a clinical psychologist at the University of British Columbia, tells Fox News . "And when you see someone in the store panic-buying, that can cause a fear-contagion effect."

"People become anxious ahead of the actual infection," he adds. "They haven't thought about the bigger picture, like what are the consequences of stockpiling toilet paper."

Or, of course, their dignity circling the drain.

And what about the run on paper towels? There's no data suggesting infected people tend to spill their drinks more often. Ahh . . . wait a minute. We know what you're planning to do with that stuff. Just know this: Paper towels do not go down easy on plumbing.

Unlike their toilet-friendly counterparts, paper towels and napkins aren't designed to break down when they come into contact with water. Just the opposite, actually. They keep it together, so they can soak up as much of a spill as possible. But that very sturdiness is what keeps them from circling the drain, eventually clogging pipes — and creating a very different kind of tempest in a toilet bowl.

If you really need the comfort of a well-stocked bathroom cupboard, but don't want to join the barbarians at the gates of Costco, there's another option: Make your own toilet paper.

It's a surprisingly simple process. It starts with a few sheets of newspaper — which, these days, may not be easy to come by. But yesterday's news, in addition to being a wonderful substitute for toilet paper, may also remind us of a powerful truth in even the darkest of times: All things must pass.


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Buzz of the Orient
1  seeder  Buzz of the Orient    one week ago

I had posted elsewhere that it's too bad it isn't the fall - there'd be LOTS of product available to wipe your ass.

 
 
 
bccrane
1.1  bccrane  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @1    one week ago

I have a corn field next to me that hasn't been plowed down yet.  It will be plowed down by next week, so does anyone want me to ship some cobs out before it's plowed down?

 
 
 
Steve Ott
2  Steve Ott    one week ago

Only the Shadow knows.

 
 
 
Freefaller
3  Freefaller    one week ago

I don't get the panic buying thought process either but I guess some people just get swept up in the moment.  No probs here I've got 8 rolls so figure I'm good for at least a couple months

 
 
 
MUVA
3.1  MUVA  replied to  Freefaller @3    one week ago

I did some panic buys myself I bought three thousand round of 30-06 for my new  semi auto BAR. 

 
 
 
Freefaller
3.1.1  Freefaller  replied to  MUVA @3.1    one week ago

Yeah I remember reading another article that panic ammo buying was happening, hope ya got a bargain for buying bulk

 
 
 
MUVA
3.1.2  MUVA  replied to  Freefaller @3.1.1    one week ago

1200 dollars.

 
 
 
squiggy
3.1.3  squiggy  replied to  MUVA @3.1    one week ago

Yea, I remember the lessons of '13 and have stayed heavy since.

 
 
 
Freefaller
3.1.4  Freefaller  replied to  MUVA @3.1.2    one week ago
1200 dollars

Eeep, holy crap that's a mortgage payment up here (if I still had a mortgage).  Honestly I have no idea what ammo normally costs, is that a bargain?

 
 
 
lady in black
4  lady in black    one week ago

Don't know, I bought a 20 pack weeks ago, will last me a while.

 
 
 
Kathleen
5  Kathleen    one week ago

I ran out, using Kleenex now. 

 
 
 
loki12
5.1  loki12  replied to  Kathleen @5    one week ago

I've resorted to growing my own,

256

 
 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
5.1.1  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  loki12 @5.1    one week ago

LMAO!!! Opps I mean, good idea! 

 
 
 
Kathleen
5.1.2  Kathleen  replied to  loki12 @5.1    one week ago

: ) 

 
 
 
WallyW
6  WallyW    one week ago

At the moment I have one Kroger 30=60, a 12=24 + 8...so I'm good for a couple of months.

Baby wipes are a good substitute. Hopefully sanity will return soon.

 
 
 
pat wilson
6.1  pat wilson  replied to  WallyW @6    one week ago

Do your part, Wally ship some to Kathleen. TP doesn't weigh much.

 
 
 
CB
7  CB     one week ago
Everyone gets anxious when the world takes an uncertain turn.

Such people like the man in image above is an "early innovator shopper." Not particularly stressed by cost, always working to keep ahead of the curve and with the trend, and maybe, just maybe, worries about being left out of the loop.

Most of us are "mainstream shoppers." Basically, we look over the cost. Take our time and get just what is reasonably usable over a respectable time.

And often, we treat that anxiety with a little panic buying.

Meet thy sister: "Little panic stealing." Somebody knows where we all live and where we 'park' the good stuff.

 
 
 
zuksam
8  zuksam    one week ago

Thank God my Mother taught me to stock up. I didn't need to run out and buy toilet paper because I already had a six month supply but I was surprised to see the shelves completely empty at the store. I went shopping this morning and they were out of Milk which confused me since Milk goes bad why would people buy more than usual, sometimes panic buying gets the better of people and I think they're going to be wasting a lot of Milk or eating a lot of Cereal.

 
 
 
bccrane
8.1  bccrane  replied to  zuksam @8    one week ago

You can draw off a cup and put the rest of the gallon into the deep freeze indefinitely.

 
 
 
Freefaller
8.1.1  Freefaller  replied to  bccrane @8.1    one week ago

Does it taste the same when thawed?

 
 
 
Old Hermit
8.1.2  Old Hermit  replied to  Freefaller @8.1.1    one week ago
Does it taste the same when thawed?

Tastes the same to me.

Since I only restock my place every two months I've been buying 15 gallons of milk at a time for years now.

If you've got the freezer space milk, (and bread), do fine going from frozen to thawed.

As Bccrane notes, don't forget to pour off enough so that your plastic jug doesn't split as the freezing milk expands.

My refrigerator thaws a gallon of milk out in about 24 hours. 

For me, move a frozen gallon from freezer to fridge Monday morning, pour a cup for dinner Tuesday evening. 

Others might need more thawing time.

Thawed bread gets a little crusty a bit quicker than a loaf bought fresh but it still taste fine.

...................

Hope they get the supply chain problems resolved soon, I'm due for a supply run in early April.

A week ago my online shopping cart with Walmart had 104 items already picked out for my next run but as I call up the site today there are only 49 items still in the cart, all my other items are showing "Out of Stock".

Dam it, I sure hope I don't have to drop down from Bi-Monthly to Bi-Weekly runs to town!

 
 
 
CB
8.1.3  CB   replied to  Old Hermit @8.1.2    one week ago

Hey you! As I live and breathe, you REALLY are what you call yourself?!! (STELLAR SMILE.)

 
 
 
Old Hermit
8.1.4  Old Hermit  replied to  CB @8.1.3    one week ago
you REALLY are what you call yourself?!! (STELLAR SMILE.)

Yes'em, full hermit since 2007.

You know what they say;  "It's Not a Job, It's a Calling"  (smile)

original

 
 
 
Freefaller
8.1.5  Freefaller  replied to  Old Hermit @8.1.2    one week ago

Thanks for the info, who knows it may come in handy one day.  Though for now I'm a townie and just do minimal weekly shopping

 
 
 
Sunshine
8.1.6  Sunshine  replied to  Old Hermit @8.1.2    one week ago

If you can't buy fresh milk, they might have powdered.  

 
 
 
Old Hermit
8.1.7  Old Hermit  replied to  Sunshine @8.1.6    one week ago
If you can't buy fresh milk, they might have powdered.  

I've already got some Sunshine.  It's not bad but a bit of hassle to make and best served VERY cold to improve the taste.

I can do fine without the milk it's the other items that have gone out of stock I'll have to work around.  Dried beans, rice, chicken, beef, ham, paper goods, peanut butter, mayo, some can and frozen goods have ALL dropped out of my shopping cart.

I guess, looking at what I still have in the cart, I can get a week or two of meals using the bread & hamburger buns, (hamburger patties - out), sprinkle them with dry roasted salted peanuts, (peanut butter - out), maybe add some jalapeno slices, put a spicy dill pickle and some corn chips on the side, (20 bags of assorted chips still showing in the shopping cart), and wash it all down with fresh tap water. (smile)

Hope it doesn't come down to having to cobble my meals together out of whatever random, weird, odds and end things they just happen to have available on the day I drive down to town.   

 
 
 
Sunshine
8.1.8  Sunshine  replied to  Old Hermit @8.1.7    one week ago
 It's not bad

My mother used to buy it sometimes and force me and brother to drink it.

 
 
 
Just Jim NC TttH
8.1.9  Just Jim NC TttH  replied to  Sunshine @8.1.8    one week ago

So you were abused as a child. That's sad.........../s

jrSmiley_18_smiley_image.gif

 
 
 
Sunshine
8.1.10  Sunshine  replied to  Just Jim NC TttH @8.1.9    one week ago

Yep, had to make my bed too!

 
 
 
zuksam
8.1.11  zuksam  replied to  Old Hermit @8.1.7    one week ago
It's not bad but a bit of hassle to make and best served VERY cold to improve the taste.

How is it in coffee, I can do without my cereal but not my coffee and I can't stand coffee creamer. I could just buy evaporated milk for coffee since I know I like that because I use it when camping.

 
 
 
CB
8.1.12  CB   replied to  Old Hermit @8.1.4    one week ago

BIGGEST SMILE EVER.

 
 
 
Old Hermit
8.1.13  Old Hermit  replied to  zuksam @8.1.11    one week ago
How is it in coffee,

Not sure Zuksam, I drink my coffee black and thick as motor oil.

Perhaps the powdered milk would be milder than powdered creamer but I just can't say from my own experience.

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
8.1.14  sandy-2021492  replied to  Freefaller @8.1.1    one week ago
Does it taste the same when thawed?

Not in my opinion.  It's not terrible, but not the same as if it hasn't been frozen.

 
 
 
squiggy
8.2  squiggy  replied to  zuksam @8    one week ago
they're going to be wasting a lot of Milk or eating a lot of Cereal.

They are the French Toasters. Happens every snowstorm to the milk, eggs and bread.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
9  JohnRussell    one week ago
Why Is Everyone So Obsessed With Toilet Paper?

It cures coronavirus, doesnt it? 

 
 
 
zuksam
9.1  zuksam  replied to  JohnRussell @9    one week ago

Maybe they're using it as replaceable filters for homemade face masks.

 
 
 
CB
10  CB     one week ago

Funny you bring up the "good old days of " I met the most amazing old man today who enlightened me to something I have seen in books, but don't really cotton to: the bidet. I so strongly wanted to say,

"What you talking about, Old man?!" Man older than me.

to him. We're standing next to open boxes of beans sitting on the floor—the shelves are empty. I turn, he asks me, if I know where the toilet paper is kept. I tell him on the far wall and Whamo! I run head long into a discussion about his nether-regions being refreshed by his in-home bidet. And this nugget: He just goes - "bidet" and pulls his pants up and goes about his day.

I got the videos. Blah! Yep. That happened. Now to the left-over question: If he just bidets (pronounce chic), why is he asking for toilet paper in a store?  I will never know.

Now, how many of us have heard or seen 'misadventures' across the countr—the world and would like to share them since this life and death drama begin?

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
10.1  seeder  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  CB @10    one week ago

Well, because a bidet resembles a small fountain he might still use toilet paper to dry himself.

 
 
 
Sparty On
11  Sparty On    one week ago

A wise friend here told me it’s because no one wants to die with a dirty ass.

Swamp-ass bad!

 
 
 
zuksam
11.1  zuksam  replied to  Sparty On @11    one week ago

I've always heard it ends up dirty anyway.

 
 
 
CB
12  CB     one week ago

Time to: Shelter in Place.

 
 
 
Kathleen
13  Kathleen    one week ago

One of the news stations mentioned looting... dear god, I hope that does not happen.

 
 
 
shona1
13.1  shona1  replied to  Kathleen @13    one week ago

Evening Kathleen...Yep it is the same here..No dunny (toilet) paper to be seen..Idiots..stupidity at its worst...There have even been fights over it..a bloody dunny roll...stupid ferals and morons...Yes they have set aside an hour for elderly and disabled to go shopping here to get what they need..So disappointing to see this type of thing going on....Greed and sheep mentality..not a good look...

 
 
 
Kathleen
13.1.1  Kathleen  replied to  shona1 @13.1    one week ago

Hi Shona, 

I hope you are doing okay through all this. It has crippled everything. I can’t believe how our  lives have changed so fast. Just trying to do the best we can in my family.    Take good care of yourself kiddo.....

 
 
 
bugsy
14  bugsy    one week ago

My wife is from the Philippines and every single household there and here have what they call a tabo. It is just a small pitcher or any container you can fill with water, preferably warm, to wash your ass with.

No paper needed.

th?id=OIP.Q_Z77pgO3rWsSWOW3-24GgAAAA&pid

 
 
 
It Is ME
15  It Is ME    one week ago

"Why is everyone so obsessed with toilet paper?"

That one I haven't figured out. jrSmiley_87_smiley_image.gif

Saw a Great "Meme" the other day on this ! jrSmiley_43_smiley_image.gif

512

 
 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
15.1  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  It Is ME @15    one week ago

LMAO

 
 
 
It Is ME
15.1.1  It Is ME  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @15.1    one week ago

It's really gotten that "INSANE" out there !jrSmiley_88_smiley_image.gifjrSmiley_34_smiley_image.gifjrSmiley_10_smiley_image.gif

 
 
 
Kavika
16  Kavika     one week ago

LOL, all you youngsters and city dwellers. 

Back in the day we only had an outhouse. Toilet paper was a sears catalog or in the spring a new green maple leaf. (sorry Buzz)

I have a maple tree in the back yard so I'm good to go...LOL

Of course Red isn't all that excited about my solution. She grew up in Brooklyn and thought that Central Park was the Amazon rain forest. 

 
 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
16.1  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  Kavika @16    one week ago
Toilet paper was a sears catalog

You know there is nothing more sexy than newsprint on your butt. 

 
 
 
Kavika
16.1.1  Kavika   replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @16.1    one week ago
You know there is nothing more sexy than newsprint on your butt. 

It's better than the alternative. LOL

 
 
 
1stwarrior
16.1.2  1stwarrior  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @16.1    one week ago

But, the pics you can get - wow.

 
 
 
CB
16.2  CB   replied to  Kavika @16    one week ago

Green Acres, the television series comes to mind. Goodness me, I can remember those days when I used to get driven out to the country and those farm outhouses.

 
 
 
Paula Bartholomew
16.3  Paula Bartholomew  replied to  Kavika @16    one week ago

My cousin went camping once but did not know an oak leaf from poison oak.  You can guess what happened.

 
 
 
Freefaller
16.3.1  Freefaller  replied to  Paula Bartholomew @16.3    one week ago
You can guess what happened.

He never went camping again?

 
 
 
The People's Fish
16.3.2  The People's Fish  replied to  Freefaller @16.3.1    one week ago

In many parts of the world the toilet won't flush the paper and you have to put the paper in the trash can next to the commode for an extra special bathroom experience.

 
 
 
Sparty On
16.3.3  Sparty On  replied to  The People's Fish @16.3.2    one week ago

Fully developed world sanitary plumbing is very under appreciated until such time one experiences the old TP in the waste basket experience

 
 
 
Paula Bartholomew
16.3.4  Paula Bartholomew  replied to  Freefaller @16.3.1    one week ago

That too lol.

 
 
 
The People's Fish
17  The People's Fish    one week ago

I'm considering having my brownstar bleached. Has anyone had that done and if so what are the draw backs?

 
 
 
squiggy
17.1.1  squiggy  replied to  Just Jim NC TttH @17.1    one week ago

"We’ve noticed this is increasingly becoming a group activity,"

I'd rather be licking doorknobs in Bang Chin.

 
 
 
Sparty On
17.2  Sparty On  replied to  The People's Fish @17    one week ago

Leave the chocolate starfish alone ..... as a fish, you should know that.

 
 
 
Sunshine
18  Sunshine    one week ago

384

 
 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
18.1  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  Sunshine @18    one week ago

LOL!

 
 
 
Sparty On
19  Sparty On    one week ago

And now for a completely different obsession regarding TP.     Well no so much an obsession as a bitch.

What does any commercial operation think it’s saving with that half ply flypaper crap you see all the time in commercial settings?    Everyone just bunches it up to normal two or three ply thickness anyway.

Hell you have to if you don’t like getting shit all over your hand.

Its stoopid!

 
 
 
Freefaller
19.1  Freefaller  replied to  Sparty On @19    one week ago
What does any commercial operation think it’s saving with that half ply flypaper crap you see all the time in commercial settings

LOL, my guess is budget optics

 
 
 
The People's Fish
20  The People's Fish    one week ago

We have some liberal butt wipers in the house. I've put them on a once square ration. Spread, pinch the loaf, wipe, double the paper and wipe again!

When my dog gets a hanger he does the squat scoot across grass. Then i have to do a tail lift inspection before allowing him back inside.

 
 
 
CB
20.1  CB   replied to  The People's Fish @20    one week ago

You will be let's just say "spoken about" when this little soiree is ended—say, by tomorrow. Everybody that continues to come to your future affairs will go first, or bring butt wipe to help the needy out! (Chuckles.)

 
 
 
Jeremy Retired in NC
21  Jeremy Retired in NC    one week ago

There are alternatives for toilet paper as Exodus and Slayer guitarist Gary Holt points out on Instagram .

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
21.1  seeder  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Jeremy Retired in NC @21    6 days ago

Imodium?

 
 
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