Toilet paper? Really?
Of course, I've seen the news stories showing streams of shoppers with carts full of toilet paper. The news stories all showed Costco, so I was hoping that maybe it was only Costco members who were that stupid. But, no. On my way home last night I stopped for some groceries and the toilet paper aisle in my local Save-On was pretty bare. (Not, fortunately, completely denuded, so my neighbours aren't completely deluded.) (And, if you're looking, the Safeway had a decent stock, albeit with some bare sections.)
Hoarding is a particularly insidious threat. It's hard to protect against. Unless you're going to ration, how do you tell people what (and how much) they can and cannot buy? (Yes, I know. Rationing smacks of socialism, or some other type of non-or-anti-capitalist system. But hoarding is the inherent weakness of capitalism: unrestricted, capitalism tends to concentrate capital, which then becomes useless.) Now, we are not only faced with the coronavirus, but with the COVID-19 toilet paper meme virus. People see that there is a run on, or shortage of, toilet paper, so they run out and drive around (wasting gas) trying to buy toilet paper. Creating a shortage of toilet paper.
(It's particularly galling here in BC. We have trees. We make toilet paper. By the ton.)
Why toilet paper? I mean, I defer to no one in my admiration for the stuff. It is one of the marvels of the modern age. (Toilet paper, and the Internet.) It has lots of uses besides that originally intended. But it has no magical medicinal properties.
Yes, I know. We, in the emergency management field, have been trying, for years, to get people to build emergency prep kits. Have enough supplies to tide you over for three days. Or seven days. Or, in this case, two weeks. Fine. I get it. But do you know how much toilet paper you use in two weeks? You don't need to clear out stores.
(I have noticed gaps in the canned beans section, and also in the soup aisle. Although, for some reason, Campbell's Chunky soups are completely stocked. Personally, I like chunky soups ...)
And, if you are going to build an emergency prep kit, during an emergency is not the time to do it. You have to put some thought into it. How much toilet paper do you use in a week? How much soup do you eat in a week? Do you eat soup? Yes, I advise you to build an emergency prep kit. But build one. Don't just rush out and buy toilet paper.
Besides, COVID-19 is not going to be the type of "stock up on water and canned beans" type of regional disaster. You will still be able to get Amazon to deliver toilet paper to you if you get sick and have absolutely no friends in all the world to take care of you. (They may want to drop it and run, and you may have to keep watch on your Ring-camera-that-is-insecure-because-you-haven't-changed-the-default-password-have-you to prevent doorstep thieves from stealing your toilet paper, but they will deliver.) (So, by the way, will Save-On.) Travel is going to be a problem, and stocks may be a problem, and there may be lots of other problems. But toilet paper is not going to be a problem. Unless people hoard it.
We need more articles like these:
Helps spread the message that get-rich-quick schemes often quickly turn into get-poor-schemes.
Meanwhile, my local big-box store still does not have TP available for online ordering. When I searched today, "Baking Paper" (parchment) was suggested as an alternative. Not the same thing. Not at all.
Anecdotally, I am hearing stories of more localized shortages. Usually in places more rural, outside of large cities that still suffer from acute shortages. Put it this way when your rural grocery store suddenly starts seeing multiple high end sports cars and "suburban utility vehicles aka Range Rover and Porsche Caymans) in the parking lot. Well, you can guess they ain't your local Amish farmers. Yes, I grew up amidst an Amish farming community, have family in those areas but not allowed down to the co-op to pick up my seed corn or hay seed due to the states local lockdown policy. Hope no one has a barn collapse or need help with a chicken coop, cause we can't help our farming nieghbors. We often help with birthing heifers and problem foals this time a year as well. Good luck, neighbors. I would if I could but can't.
We see the same thing here at our local groceries as well but easier identified by the up to date City of Chicago parking permits overflowing with "supplies". In case your confused. I have ties and live in two differing states.