Outrage Over Toilet Paper Is Counterintuitive

Francesca Aguirre/Contributing Writer

Lately, I’ve seen numerous memes where a person is pushing a cart filled with a pile of toilet paper twice as tall as they are. 

It’s outrageous; that amount of toilet paper is enough to last my family of three for at least four months, if not more. Plus, how is the virus related to toilet paper in the first place? It’s not like it’s a stomach virus, so why hoard the toilet paper? How did we get to this place? 

As of Friday, March 13, there have been nationwide reports of a dramatic increase in demand for toilet paper. Multiple Costcos around the country have reported people forming long, winding lines before the stores opened. Several Publix stores in Florida have resorted to placing household limits on certain items, but the stocks seem to disappear regardless. Just because the stock is flying off the shelves doesn’t mean that there’s a shortage of food and supplies. 

The Food and Drug Administration has released a public statement on Thursday, March 19 that there is no need for panic buying because there are no food shortages. Dr. Christopher Rodrigues, director of the D.C. Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency, went on record to say that the main issue is the demand caused by panic buying and not because of lack of supply. He also said that we must resist the temptation to buy more than what we need.

What started off as a way to prepare for a possible quarantine snowballed into people frantically buying toilet paper in large quantities. I can’t even find toilet paper in local stores; one of the cashiers told me that people ran to the toilet paper as soon as doors opened. 

Toilet paper isn’t the only thing that has been running low due to panic-buying. Masks, hand sanitizer, gloves and disinfecting products such as bleach and Lysol have been running low. This is especially worrying for the people who need it the most. I have witnessed a person with diabetes panic because he couldn’t find rubbing alcohol, which he needed for his routine injections. This is a person whose health will suffer if he doesn’t have the necessary supplies to maintain sanitary conditions. 

My classmates have gone through similar experiences as well. Most of them are irritated by the lack of supplies at the store. While they were vocal about their discontent toward the toilet paper hoarding taking place, none said that they were panicking about it. However, it’s my classmates who have babies in their homes who are the most worried. They are having a hard time finding any baby wipes or diapers for their child. If they go through their supply, they just might have to turn to cloth alternatives. 

It is understandable that people are worried because of the pandemic. However, it is counterintuitive to turn into panic mode and buy everything in bulk because their neighbor is doing the same. It is important to keep calm and listen to the guidelines provided by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. You might just indirectly save a life. 

Featured image by Mike Mozart on Flickr.


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