Published on July 7, 2020

Not even virus can thwart quest for just the right toilet paper

By Jan Edwards
The Bulletin

Before this COVID-19 pandemic, who would have ever thought that lowly toilet paper would be worthy of a story. But here I am writing one.

First, let me say that I am brand-specific on very few things – toilet paper being on the top of the list.
And no, I am not a fan of the obvious choice – Charmin.

At my house, we stockpile Randall’s store brand (the kind with the baby ducklings on the packaging) – and we’ve been doing this for some 30-odd years.

The trail of this particular toilet paper started when we lived in Houston. We used to be like everybody else – getting Charmin or whatever looked good that was on sale. But we were pinching pennies back then and wanted to get the best buy for everything we bought – so we subscribed to Consumer Reports magazine.

The magazine staff investigates various products, and in one issue, the researchers compared the pros and cons of toilet papers.

They determined that Albertson’s toilet paper was the best value, had the cleanest wipe, was strong and was easy on septic systems.

It just so happened that Albertson’s had just opened a new store in our neighborhood, so we tried their brand of toilet paper – and were impressed.

From that time on, we bought their toilet paper.

After some time, though, Albertson’s was bought out by Randall’s.

I was disappointed. Now how and where were we going to buy our toilet paper? As it turned out, Randall’s not only took over Albertson’s buildings, but some of their store-brand products, and the toilet paper was among those that were retained.
Well, time went on, and we kept buying Randall’s-brand toilet paper. But then came the time we bought our retirement home in Brazoria County and moved down here.

There was not a close grocery store – much less a Randall’s. We asked around and found out that there was a Randall’s in Clute. That wasn’t too bad a drive to get the TP, and we started trading there. It was then we started to stock up on toilet paper so we wouldn’t have to make the drive too often.

That went on for a few years until Randall’s closed underperforming stores, and the store in Clute was among them.
What a crisis! Now, what were we supposed to do?

The first thing we did was go buy as much toilet paper as we could get before the store closed. Alas, it wasn’t much. We didn’t know of another Randall’s anywhere in Brazoria County or the Houston area.

My sister-in-law thought I was nuts – toilet paper was toilet paper. (Bet not many of you would say that after using the “John Wayne Toilet Paper” we’ve used during the pandemic. For those of you who haven’t figured it out, John Wayne toilet paper is tough as a boot, rough as a cobb and won’t take “stuff” off anybody.)

We were getting down to the last of the Randall’s toilet paper we had hoarded from the now-closed Randall’s when I mentioned our dilemma to our daughter and son-in-law.

They googled Randall’s locations and found out that there was one in Pearland on FM 518.

We made the trek, and sure enough, there was the Randall’s with the holy grail of toilet paper.

Justifying that long trip for a package or two of toilet paper was not cost-effective.

So, we bought as much as we could haul back to our house. Then, when we were running low, we’d couple getting toilet paper with other chores in the north part of the county and buy another carload of it.

I even asked for that brand of toilet paper for my birthday, Mother’s Day and Christmas.

We had recently been on a toilet paper forage and were flush with the stuff when the pandemic hit.

We figured that we would have enough to last staying at home, but the pandemic has gone on and on. Suddenly, we were down to our last full mega pack and decided to intersperse the good stuff with that John Wayne toilet paper Roy came home with one day.

For a combination of Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, we made the trip to Pearland for a visit with the kids. On the way there, we stopped at Randall’s. Roy and I each got a cart and hoped there was some of their toilet paper left on the shelves and wished they would let us have at least two packages each.

We said a prayer and entered the store, going directly to the paper products section.

Wonder of wonders – they had the mega packages with the little ducklings on them – and a lot of them. No Charmin of any kind, and limited John Wayne toilet paper.

Brazenly, Roy got four of the mega packages, and I did the same. We covertly went to two different checkers – and they sold us all the toilet paper we had in our carts. A voice came over the loudspeaker apologizing for having no Charmin as we were leaving the store. If they only knew…

(Write Jan in care of The Bulletin. Email: john.bulletin@gmail.com. Snail mail: The Bulletin, PO Box 2426, Angleton TX, 77516.)