I’d never thought about it before I’d read a few articles which explained the phenomenon, but there’s actually one legitimate reason why we’re running low on toilet paper.
Most of us spend our days in offices. Sometimes, we spend it at the mall or store. Obviously, we have to go to the bathroom there — and, the toilet paper in those places is of a significantly different type and quality.
Now, most of us are going to the bathroom at home all of the time; even if we’re out of the house, we’re not going to use a public bathroom; you’d sooner lick a doorknob. That means more toilet paper consumption all at once. Since we’re not buying those huge rolls of industrial toilet paper in the bathroom at our jobs, it’s not like we can just repurpose that to solve the problem.
So that’s one reason. The other, more salient reason, is that the world’s hoarders and resellers are buying up all of the world’s TP because if we’re going to live in a post-apocalyptic Thunderdome scenario until someone finds a vaccine, they want to make sure they control the cottony softness of Quilted Northern. Oh, and they bought up all the hand sanitizer too, because why not?
It’s the same in the United States as it is in Australia, only they’re fighting the hoarders in that awesome accent of theirs.
John-Paul Drake of Drakes Supermarkets, a Down Under chain, has become a bit of a social media celebrity due to his coronavirus crisis updates on social media. They’re just short videos about what’s happening on the front lines of retail.
In one outrageous anecdote, he dealt with a reseller whose hoarding scheme had gone awry and was now trying to return some toilet paper and hand sanitizer. How much, you ask?
According to Drake, the guy had 150 packs of 32-roll toilet paper and 150 one-liter sanitizer bottles.
He had a simple, wordless response to the customer, as seen below:
WARNING: The following videos contains some mildly vulgar content that some viewers will find offensive.
You know those customer surveys that cashiers try to get you to fill out after your visit? I don’t think this guy was asked to fill out one.
“In that conversation [the shopper said] ‘my eBay site has been shut down, so we couldn’t profiteer off that,'” Drake told the ABC, calling it “absolutely disgraceful.”
“The rest of my team [is] over this sort of behavior and having to police people taking more than they need — that’s a tough thing to deal with,” Drake said.
“I never thought I’d been in a situation that I’m seeing here. We’re not used to it, no one is used to it, when people take advantage of the system,” he added.
“It’s not necessarily being sold here or used here, or hoarded here — it’s being marked up [online] for a considerable amount.”
Drake, who says supermarkets need to “band together” to stop hoarding, said he’d been talking to manufacturers about making smaller packs, but they told him larger packs were more efficient during times of high demand.
“For them to get more toilet rolls into the hands of the consumer, doing the bulk packs is the most efficient run that they can do,” he said.
Even if you’re not a hoarder who’s selling toilet paper on eBay, you still don’t need to be hoarding for yourself.
One day, when your children ask what you did during the pandemic, you don’t necessarily want to talk about how you were lashing 32-packs of TP to the top of your Subaru crossover like you were about to embark on a trek deep into the tundra of Nunavut and this was your final opportunity to get appropriate provisions to answer the call of nature.
You’re not trekking into the wild, you’re going home. You may have to spend more time there than you like, but you’re going to be OK.
You don’t need that much more toilet paper. You may need more hand sanitizer than you normally would, but you don’t need gallons upon gallons of it.
You don’t need to panic-buy apples.
If you have to ask yourself whether or not you need mass quantities of anything, here’s a spoiler alert: You don’t. And, if you try to return it later, John-Paul Drake has given you a preview of the kind of reception you’ll get.
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