Why toilet paper?

I was in Ralph’s yesterday, and the shelves of paper products in general were still empty. They can’t keep it stocked. It was also the first thing that I noticed had disappeared at Costco a couple weeks ago.

I also noticed that I picked a bad time to pay for unlimited car washes at the place across the street; it’s closed.

18 thoughts on “Hoarding”

  1. The Ars Technica article is useless. Not one mention of the Chinese supply line of toilet paper to Asian Pacific nations and Australia. There were disruptions in their supply lines. Although not really that significant or long lasting, it was enough to set off panic buying in those countries, and that panic spread faster than the virus itself.

    Some research material for others:
    1 Sept 2014 (CBS News): You can never have enough toilet paper in Japan:
    A message Japan began delivering Monday is a bit unusual, but true enough: Don’t wait until it’s too late to think about toilet paper.

    The government and paper companies kicked off a “Let’s stockpile toilet paper!” campaign to mark Disaster Prevention Day, warning of a possible crisis because nearly half of the supply comes from one of Japan’s most earthquake-prone areas.

    Officials said people immediately think of food and water as emergency supplies, but easily forget toilet paper, and get desperate when it’s too late.

    29 Feb 2020 (Japan Times): Panic-buying of ‘made in China’ tissues and toilet paper erupts in Japanese cities

    1. Hugo Chavez was right. Capitalists really do hoard toilet paper!

      Yesterday at Kroger’s I was going to buy some extra ground beef but they were all sold out. But they still had ground bison. I almost bought it so I could tell the younger generations how bad the corona virus crisis was.

      “It wasn’t just bread and toilet paper. The stores was all out of cows, too. I had to eat buffalo. We couldn’t get rifle ammunition so I had to knap my own Clovis point, go out in my pajamas and fuzzy slippers and spear the beast. And that’s why they call me the Buffalo Blogger. Now aren’t you glad you don’t have to do all that for a plate of wings?”

      1. I almost bought it so I could tell the younger generations how bad the corona virus crisis was.

        You should have bought it because it’s tasty! I like my ground beef lean.

        Got any scars? There’s where the bison got you.

    2. “The Ars Technica article is useless.”

      That’s not uncommon.

      I read just a few minutes ago that Costco’s finally getting large stocks of TP, hand sanitizer, and so on, and they’re all putting up signs that say “we are not accepting returns on” those items.

      1. I saw TP at Walmart this morning. Obviously I’m joking about George’s elitism, but it is funny to see it in the local economy. We have a Dollar General. You can find anything you need there, because “nobody shops there”. We picked up everything we were missing in our pantry. You won’t find buffalo there, but you they had cleaning supplies you couldn’t get anywhere else. Walmart is a bit of the same, as our more chic grocery is HEB (a Texas thing). HEB has lines waiting to get in for picked over shelves.

  2. I lived in Westwood when the Northridge quake happened. First thing everyone cleaned out the TP and water. Independently my 2 roommates and me all picked up a 6 Pac of beer, but no TP or water (I guess beer has water though), showed up back at the apartment at the same time and laughed for all having the same idea. I was still at UCLA at the time so I guess not too unexpected for students.

  3. But panic-buying is partly an attempt to gain a sense of control when the world feels uncertain and dangerous.

    I get the feeling that a lot of people writing these articles have never been camping, don’t comprehend our place in history, and know nothing about what normal people have in their homes.

    Why toilet paper? Because people still poop. People also use it in place of kleenex.

    At least the article noted that people were buying tuna but does the author realize that most Americans have well stocked pantries and freezers? A lot of people regularly buy flats of tuna, chicken broth, and other canned goods. They already have bags of flour, rice, and sugar. They are buying extra of these things because they are telling people not to leave the house for weeks at a time.

    Why don’t people already have a bunch of toilet paper? The article hints at it. Toilet paper is bulky. It is easy to squeeze a lot of food in the cupboards. Finding room for an extra supply of toilet paper is harder, so people often have enough to last a while but not enough if they can’t leave the house for a month.

    Ask yourself, what is the one item of modern life you can’t live without. You can’t wipe your butt with a smartphone.

    1. “I get the feeling that a lot of people writing these articles have never been camping, don’t comprehend our place in history, and know nothing about what normal people have in their homes.”

      They’re a bunch of young big-city-living tech writers. Probably most of them barely even spend time outside a city except the guy that reviews cars.

    2. You can’t wipe your butt with a smartphone.

      True, but you can wipe your butt with somebody else’s smartphone, at least until you run out of friends.

  4. I have a customer who is a process engineer. He is in Australian paper mills every week. He found the toilet paper panic amusing as IT IS MADE IN AUSTRALIA.

  5. I live far from town (nearest CostCo, 50 miles), so I normally buy in bulk, typically 3 cases of TP and 4 of bottled water a month. Our well water is close to undrinkable due to red clay. Pre-treatment, it smells like iron-rich farts, post treatment it tastes like diluted seawater (good for laundry, dishes, toilet flush, etc.). Even the cat would rather have a nice mud puddle. Between the hoarders and the anti-hoarder measures, I’m put at risk, since I have to shop twice as often to get my normal consumption.

  6. Say, is there a plan anywhere for supplying toilet paper or a usable substitute to people living beyond Earth orbit? I’ve always wondered but never seen it discussed. Mars isn’t going to have silviculture and paper mills for a very long time.

    1. Mars has water, and where there’s water there are bidets. Not sure about soapmaking on Mars, though. Or they could just follow the Roman practice and share a communal sponge…

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