Reality Check: Why Toilet Paper? Coronavirus (Covid-19 Part 2)

Why are people stockpiling toilet paper as a response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19)? The answer to this might be found by following an internet ‘paper trail‘ (like anything else found on the internet, I can’t attest to how true this is, but it seems reasonable):

It likely started in China where the motivation to stock up on white ply was probably consumers who thought that toilet paper could be used for tissues, napkins and to construct makeshift facemasks. It is probable that people did not realize that home made masks could not protect them – it only give them the feeling they had taken control. Even high quality masks are of limited value to healthy people, though they are of some value in limiting the spread of the virus if worn by people who have the flu.

As manufacturers in some countries ramped up mask production, greed and dishonesty also increased. In February 2020, a company in Vietnam was shut down when it was discovered they were using toilet paper to replace the antibacterial layer usually found in masks.

By the time the virus had moved on to other countries, hoarding toilet paper was no longer closely linked to using it for facemasks. The behaviour was almost completely irrational – a clear example of herd mentality fueled by social media and news coverage. FOMOthe fear of missing out, had become the prime motivation. When people saw other people bulk buying toilet paper, they thought there had to be a reason. Though they didn’t know the reason, they still felt they had to buy toilet paper too. They become fearful that if everybody else bought toilet paper before they did, they wouldn’t be able to buy any.

Apparently these hoarders were not comforted by the fact that a seemingly unending supply of toilet paper keeps showing up on store shelves… and the only reason there might be temporary shortages was because they had hoarded it.

The only upside to all this is the jokes and memes that are floating around the internet. Here are my favourites.  Which ones do you like best!?

 

16 thoughts on “Reality Check: Why Toilet Paper? Coronavirus (Covid-19 Part 2)

  1. Hmm… I’d say it’s a toss-up between the DIY bidet and the home listed on Zillow for 12.5 million.
    Though really, that DIY bidet looks pretty brilliant… 😀

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  2. They’re all good; thanks for making me smile this morning! I spoke the other day with a woman who works in a major grocery retailer. She said she nearly got mobbed bringing a new supply of toilet paper out of the back and when she asked people WHY they were rushing to buy it (they’d put a limit of 2 packs on the stuff), the answer she got from the majority was, “Because everyone else is doing it.” The human mind is a strange place, for sure! If I was going to hoard anything, it would be chocolate and wine! 🙂

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    • My husband keeps talking about risk management and common sense. Both are in short supply right now, it would seem.
      I’ve pointed out to hubby that our chocolate supply is a bit low…

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  3. These made me smile Margy – I had only seen the first one with the socks before and I had to grin at the crocheted doll that fit over the toilet paper that sits on the toilet tank. We never had one of those, but they sure were popular in my/our generation. Are you still in Arizona?

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    • I never had one of the crochet dolls either! When I look back, though, I realize that I probably had any number of things that other people just shook their heads at…
      Yes, we are still in Arizona. The Canadian Government has urged us to return to Canada, but it seems to us that the trip home and the situation in Alberta where it is still quite wintery, would be more risky than just staying where we are.
      Of course, our situation in AZ (with a house to live in, our own vehicle, and insurance that isn’t about to expire) is quite different than so many other Canadians.
      The most important thing is to stay current on what is going on and be ready to ‘bug out’ on short order if needed.

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      • Yes, be diligent and ready, but I’d stay there too, not only for the warmth and sunshine but the risk of traveling anywhere right now. The less germs you encounter, the better … our number of people testing positive here in Michigan is growing in leaps and bounds, 200 – 250 a day all of a sudden. I am glad for working at home and having stocked up the pantry in the Fall, anticipating a Winter with lots of snow. So I will hunker down and hope it is over soon, though I have no expectations of that happening unfortunately.

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        • Your President has said he hopes to see the country back in full swing by Easter. He also said he didn’t want the “cure to be worse than the problem itself.” Very wise move on his part. Most people function best with goals and deadlines. Even if the ‘goalposts’ have to move a bit one way or another, it is still the kind of message of hope that helps people deal with adversity.

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          • I did hear that statement and I wonder about that since today we have surpassed China in Coronavirus cases … 82,000! We are growing in leaps and bounds here in Michigan, an average of at least 500 a day now.

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            • I don’t know how much we can really learn (at this time) by comparing statistics from country to country. It is early days for knowing how consistent the methods of testing and reporting are from one country to another!

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