Toilet Paper Disappearing Act


Austin West, Staff Writer

Well, the apocalypse is now upon us. Not really, but to some it may seem that way as we enter week four of the COVID-19, better known as Coronavirus, quarantine. This is a precaution that has been put in place to prevent the easy spread of the disease and people have had mixed feelings about it.

Go online for about five minutes and you’re almost sure to find posts about how introverts are having a great time so far while extroverts have been tearing their hair out for weeks now. There are also the types of people who have not been exactly obeying the quarantine and have still been going places with family and friends, causing the quarantine to last even longer.

Now, in a “apocalypse” or pandemic such as this one, where people are expected to stay at home and not leave, you can assume that people have started to stock up on the essential items. The usual things you would expect like food, water, disinfectants, and…. toilet paper?

Yes, you read that right, toilet paper. While most people may think, “Yeah, okay, toilet paper makes sense to stock up on,” they probably would not have thought that it would be the very FIRST thing to go. Before the food, before the water, before even most of the disinfectants, toilet paper was the one thing people could not get enough of.

This is not just something that is happening here in Iowa, it is happening around the country. In California, Isaia Morones, a BVU freshman, stated, “People here hoard and buy all the toilet paper so my family has had to buy toilet paper online and have it shipped to our doorstep.”

It started getting so bad that stores would run out of stock the day the shipping truck would arrive. If you chose to go online once again, you could easily find pictures and videos of whole pallets of toilet paper disappear in seconds among a crowd of customers.

Due to the people who have bought full carts worth of toilet paper, stores have now had to try to combat these types of customers. In Japan, one store owner has resorted to a more supernatural option. To prevent toilet paper theft, they have been drawing eyes on the toilet paper tags as if to say, “they’re watching you” and even written a curse on the tags as well! The curse is something along the lines of “if you steal then a monster will follow you home and eat you.” Freaky right?

Other stores such as one Fareway location, have put into place restrictions on how many rolls or packages of toilet paper a single person can buy. “We limited it to one package per customer,” says employee Faith Dobney, “and when we get huge packages, we will split them up into four roll packages.” They’re not the only stores limiting packages per customer as Hy-Vee employee, Logan Proctor, shared that his Hy-Vee location has also set restrictions of one package per customer. Faith also says that the Fareway location has been trying to save some toilet paper for later in the day as well, “Occasionally, we will save half the truck load till the 5 o’clock hour for people who work.”

Now, what I am wondering is why was toilet paper the first thing that people chose to stock up on? In an event like this, I feel you would want to go out for groceries the least amount of times as possible so I would start stocking up on food first. Next would come the water and disinfectants, followed only then by things such as toilet paper.

This does not by any means mean that I do not care if we run out and do not have any toilet paper because I would much rather have it than not. My family has already foreshadowed what is to come if we ever run out… and it will not be fun.

In some cases, there has been what I would like to consider sweet revenge or even karma, as some shoppers that were buying up all the toilet paper have now realized they do not need it all and are trying to return it to the stores to get their money back. However, the retail stores are having NONE of it and will not let people return all the toilet paper that they bought. They are stuck with all this toilet paper for a while.

So, to those of you thinking about hoarding everything you can, just don’t. Please. Granted, the stores will not let you for the most part, but do not think about it anyway. Respect others as they are going through the same thing you are and respect the quarantine because we are all adjusting to this new normal. I, for one, miss sports very much and would like to be out with friends.

Stay safe and we can all beat this thing together. Just don’t take all the toilet paper.