Run on toilet paper doesn't make sense

  • The Hartwell Sun
    The Hartwell Sun

When it became evident the coronavirus pandemic was going to impact all parts of the country, I knew exactly what to do to keep my wife and me safe — we needed as much toilet paper as we could store. That would surely keep us from ever having to worry about COVID-19.

But when I looked in our cabinet and realized we had just four rolls left, including one hanging in the bathroom, the panic nearly overwhelmed me. I rushed to the grocery store intent on removing everything else we had stored in the hallway closet to make room for many, many rolls of Angel Soft. 

Then it was terror. The toilet paper was gone. What would we do? 

I’ll tell you what we did. We did nothing of the sort as described above. We simply bided our time and found two packs of a dozen rolls each and bought them. Crisis averted. 

For the life of me, I can’t understand the run on toilet paper that happened when the pandemic was declared. 

American hospitals, especially those in large metro areas hit hardest by an ever-increasing number of COVID-19 cases, need more ventilators, more masks, more gloves and more supplies for just about everything they do in their fight against the pandemic. 

It’s a good thing they don’t need more toilet paper, because they still will likely have difficulty finding it. 

The response to the novel coronavirus has been unlike any we have ever seen before, that includes the inexplicable run on toilet paper.

I’ve tried to wrap my head around this since the toilet paper started rolling off shelves into cabinets across America where much of it will be stored for months. 

Why toilet paper? Everyone likes that clean feeling companies like Charmin advertise, but why, when everything we have been told about this virus being a respiratory disease which is caught through your respiratory tract, did everyone run out and buy supplies to keep their backsides clean? 

It really doesn’t make sense to me. We have been assured that, for the time being at least, grocery stores will remain open because they are essential to people accessing the food they need to feed their families. If grocery stores remain open, then there is no need to hoard toilet paper. 

I mean, how much do you need to survive? I know you don’t need a closet full. 

What if everyone whose first instinct was to hoard toilet paper had put their energy into helping someone else in need, or into figuring out what they could do to aid the health care workers who are on the front lines of this thing? They wouldn’t have stopped the spread of coronavirus in its tracks, but they would have done some good for a world in desperate need of it. 

Fear and panic leads to irrational decisions, but it doesn’t have to spread like the virus itself. 

I hope everyone, now that we all realize this is going to last a while, will settle down a bit and know that they can make another trip to the store if need be. We all need food, cleaning supplies and toilet paper. Let’s make sure there is enough to go around. 

We’re all experiencing massive disruptions in our work and personal lives, let’s make sure those don’t spill over into the bathroom.