Friday, April 10, 2020

The Toilet Paper Conundrum

Recently, a television news segment brought the recent continuous toilet paper shortage (here on the Delmarva it still goes on) into complete focus. And it makes sense! Thanks to the reporter who investigated this issue!

Think back to the beginning (January/February), when people were first being told to stay home. People didn't know how long the issue would last, what the rules might be, and they reacted to uncertainty. Yes, it initially may have been a case of hoarding - of the soft, fluffy stuff we all need every day in our homes. And as the situation in the world became more dire, schools and colleges, malls, stores all were being closed, forcing folks of all ages back into their homes full-time. 

Hence, consumption hours for the soft fluffy 2-ply toilet paper at home rose dramatically - from being used for 6 or 7 hours of the day to 24/7. That's additional demand, which keeps the shelves at your local market cleaned out. Not necessarily hoarding - when 6 people are home 24/7/31 days per month instead of only 1 person all day all month, something has to give.

Remember that other market for toilet paper: commercial establishments like dorms, malls, stores, schools, factories, etc. You know, that one-ply, stiff, scratchy stuff we're forced to use at work or school. Guess what? There's very little demand for that right now. It's sometimes made by different companies than the consumer product, has a different chain of distribution, is bulky, worth comparatively very little, and takes up lots of expensive warehouse space to store, for currently nonexistent demand. As those stocks are slowly whittled down, it's likely that they will not be replenished and warehoused until the light at the end of the coronavirus tunnel gets much brighter than it is currently. 

So to me, it sounds as though the home toilet paper manufacturers never will catch up on home-use demand, though it's not necessarily due to hoarding. Adding production capacity is costly, long-term and futile, given the coronavirus cycle. And meanwhile, once commercial establishments: dorms, malls, stores, schools, factories, etc. someday (hopefully soon) start to go back to normal usage patterns, during the period of market readjustment there could conceivably be overstocks at grocery stores and shortages at the commercial bathrooms. Hence 'out of order' signs at commercial establishments.

To be a little bit punny; perhaps it all Depends! (I know, bad joke, sorry.) Or - carry your own when you can.


Thursday, April 2, 2020



Becoming visible requires getting dressed and going out and about, or posting something new on the internet. With “the virus” wrecking lives, careers and families, my greatest goal for the day was to stay home with my wife and avoid anything which might lead to catching the virus. So I have to settle for the internet.

Today my wife had to make a grocery run for a large order…I have been doing the small “milk and bread orders” as needed. The grocery store has senior hours where they try to keep the younger folks at bay to avoid cross pollution.

My hair is in need of some color…but the hair salons are closed. And my gel-coated nails need a fill and a trim…but the nail salons are closed. Fortunately…my nails are light pink. I have been keeping them relatively invisible with a light filing at the place where they grow out, and some very light pink polish. But they are getting long. I wore them longer than this several years back, but since the salons won’t likely re-open till May, they may get a lot longer. Since they look OK , I don’t plan to do anything to them unless I have to. (Despite their negative impact on my typing…)

I wonder if they’ll end up this long again:

Note that the French Tip color was white, and the nail tech made its length appear less than the free growth area, to reduce the “apparent length” of my nails. She thought long nails looked elegant, and wanted my hands to always look their best. They did…and I often got compliments on them “as a lady,” even in androgynous (translation; everyday) mode.

But, as ladies with long nails find out, having pretty nails come with limitations. No, one of them was not breakage. More specifically, movement limitations. As in; typing, pushing buttons, opening car doors, picking up things from the floor, being careful inserting contact lenses, etc. I had to work to avoid doing damage to them (or myself) in everyday life. And strangely enough, my wife never complained about them back then. (That came later…)

I doubt they'll get as long as in the above picture – that took several months to achieve. And they currently are not the French style, But with the virus keeping salons closed for at least the next month, they will get quite a bit longer…and probably not look as nice!

No problem!