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Published March 31, 2020


How I managed to score a pack of toilet paper one afternoon

By John Toth / The Bulletin

I was passing by the supermarket and thought I’d go in just to look at the empty toilet paper aisle.

But there they were, in plain sight, on a weekday mid-afternoon - several 12-pack rolls still on the shelf. It was like a miracle. The hoarders who already have half their garage packed with toilet paper and hand sanitizer should have come through by now and stripped the store clean.

I was not in danger of running out yet, but my supply was getting low, so I hurried down the aisle for a closer look. I read the sign quickly. I thought that it said a limit of 4 packs per customer. I grabbed only two.

I never buy the limit during these sorts of situations. I want to leave some for others. I am not a hoarder.

I never understood the toilet paper hoarding concept. How is that going to protect you from the virus? I mentioned this in another column also. Since then, eggs have disappeared from the shelves. That’s the new hoarding fad. By the time you read this, it may be something else, like mayonaise maybe. (This is only a hypothetical. There is plenty of mayonnaise, I was joking.)

What are hoarders doing with all those eggs - trying to make their own antivirus? Eggs don’t have the same shelf life as toilet paper. If you eat all those eggs before they go bad, you’ll need all that toilet paper in the garage.
Stocking up is different from hoarding. A lot of us are smart enough to stock up on essentials in case a hurricane threatens our part of the Texas Gulf Coast. We buy things over time so that we won’t have to stand in long lines after a storm enters the Gulf and the wiggly noodle things all point in our direction.

That’s O.K. But buying up essential supplies during a virus scare is basically like taking it away from the rest of us. Whatever the reason, whether it’s for resale later or just to have, it is a despicable act.

Sorry if I am getting a little harsh. I usually write on the lighter side of life, but hoarding makes me angry. It should make everyone who could not buy hand sanitizer, paper towels, toilet paper, eggs or cleaning products mad also. It’s not the way to behave.

When I took my two packages of toilet paper up to the checkout counter, all eyes were on me. It was like they knew that I was doing something wrong. But what?

“It’s one per customer,” said the cashier politely.

“Oh, I thought I read that it was a four pack limit,” I said.

He went to check and returned: “It says one per customer.”

I must have read the sign wrong. I was trying to be considerate and wound up in the eyes of all the front clerks as someone who was trying to cheat the limit rule.

“I am so sorry. I must have misread it,” I said, as I put one of the packs back. “I always try to leave some for others.”

The clerk misunderstood me.

“You are trying to buy the other pack for someone else? You can do that,” he said.

I could have lied. No one would have known the difference.

“No, no. I didn’t say that. I’ll just take one.”

The toilet paper was quickly transferred to my van, where it got covered up by a jacket and transported home and placed in an undisclosed secure location.

(John looks forward to hearing from you on this subject. Send me a note at john.bulletin@gmail.com. You can even send an old-fashioned letter to: The Bulletin, P.O. Box 2426, Angleton, TX. 77516.)