EDITORIAL – Panic buying of toilet paper is turning into a real bummer

(Image: Mel Rothenburger.)

An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

IF YOU’VE PAID A VISIT to the toilet paper aisle lately, you might have noticed the shelves are sorely depleted.

This is a strange consequence of fears surrounding the coronavirus outbreak. The run on toilet paper has spread around the world — right to a supermarket near you — as the virus itself has leapfrogged from one country to the next.

We’ve been advised to stock up on the necessities in case we all need to be quarantined so people are stockpiling TP for the long haul.

In the good old days, all we needed was an outhouse and yesterday’s newspaper or a catalogue, but nobody reads newspapers anymore, and few of us have outhouses.

The demand for TP has resulted in some unfortunate situations as supplies get behind demand, if you’ll excuse the expression. Police were called to a supermarket in Australia when several shoppers got into a fight over the last package.

There are similar stories around the world. Some stores have been forced to put a one-pack limit on sales lest their entire stock be wiped out.

There’s an upside to this crappy situation — toilet paper stocks must be soaring and maybe people will start buying newspapers again.

But other items, such as hand sanitizer and frozen dinners, are in big demand as well. There’s at least some logic to that but why bottled water? Are municipal water systems suddenly going to dry up because of this virus? It isn’t a tornado, after all.

I saw an article recently challenging the long-standing assumption that stressful situations cause us to act illogically and impetuously. It claimed the human brain is quite capable of functioning sensibly under difficult circumstances.

The current panic puts the lie to that. It’s a real bummer.

I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.

Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and newspaper editor. He writes five commentaries a week for CFJC Today, publishes the opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at

About Mel Rothenburger (8164 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

1 Comment on EDITORIAL – Panic buying of toilet paper is turning into a real bummer

  1. Wrapping a half roll of toilet paper around mid-face will likely provide a somewhat effective virus-blocking, improvised mask, maybe useful since maks have been snapped up world-wide. Alas you will then be so vision compromised that you will suffer from walking into parking meters.

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