The great coronavirus toilet paper shortage of 2020

Originally published at:


(And a lot of other places by now.)


I’ve seen a lot of panic-buying and bare shelves in my life, but until this weekend, I’d never seen a Wegmans completely out of toilet paper.


Bidets aren’t looking so bad NOW, huh America?


Here, in a bedroom community near Calgary, I witnesses an lady buying (seemingly) all the lysol wipes that had been on the shelf at the grocery store. Just that. Just the wipes. Our local costco sold out of TP also.


There are obviously unhelpful excesses; but given that a relatively common prescription for areas of greater viral concern is “everyone stay at home for 2 weeks, potentially more” and toilet paper essentially doesn’t spoil and is used steadily enough that all but the most ludicrous backlogs will be depleted naturally in a fairly modest period of just not buying more; it’s hard to see this as the stupidest item to panic-buy.

It doesn’t do anything to protect you from the virus; but it does mitigate an otherwise rather miserable potential side-effect of being suddenly expected to self-isolate for a period of time; which could definitely be much worse if your household supplies were based on the assumption of some shopping happening during that time.


people talking about toilet paper…meanwhile try finding some childrens/infant’s tylenol or ibuprofen.


Maybe I’m a sheep-minded moron, but I don’t get what’s so stupid about being ready to “socially distance” for a week or two. I live in Westchester County, one of the more impacted areas in the US, and each morning we’re treated to a new announcement of a major institution closing down (Hofstra University, today). As a fortysomething in good health, I’m not worried about myself so much as I want to avoid being a vector for killing someone’s grandmother.

Limiting the spread of the virus by avoiding large groups of people seems to be the plan that organizations around the world are implementing. I’d put down $50 that I’ll be directly affected by a cancellation or closure within the week, and it doesn’t seem outlandish that one of those closures might be my local grocery store. So, sorry everyone, I did indeed buy one big bag of Costco toilet paper, and my freezer is stocked. If that does more harm than I would have done by making future grocery trips in a quarantined area, then I promise I’ll feel really bad at that point.


yeah, i was saying this this past weekend: those of us who have switched to bidets are just watching all this with amusement.


But just wait until the virus gets into your buttwater fountain.


Went to Costco yesterday, plenty of TP, and all the other crap you likely don’t need to survive.


You make an entirely reasonable argument, spoiled by the pictures of people with shopping trolleys loaded with 50 or 100 rolls. I saw one pic here in UK of 7 or 8 12-roll packs in a trolley. Probably a year or two’s supply for a family of 4.
And then there’s this:

One woman yells: “I just want one packet.”

Another woman, who is in possession of the trolley packed with toilet paper, replies “No, not one packet,”

Article includes video.

@Enkidu Socially isolating for a week or two does not need 50 or 100 rolls of toilet paper. No problem with people buying a pack or maybe two, but the idiocy observed here is mind-blowing.

I see what you did there.


Fair enough–100 rolls is quite a lot. I hadn’t seen the sort of overbuying you linked here.


Well, shelves do not clear like that even if many more people buy one pack each - supply chains are pretty good. Seeing full shelves cleared within a couple of hours of opening time and people literally filling trollies - well, those are the sheep-minded morons being referred to.


Supply chains are pretty good but when I asked some people that had a cart full of toilet paper what they were doing, they said it all comes from China. They claimed the last shipments arrived last week and actual shortages will start in a week or two and take three-four weeks to start up again and when that happens, people will continue panic buying because the shelves have been empty for a month.


it’s just water, so if it could be spread through the municipal water, then we’re all screwed anyway.


Well (a) don’t they realise they’ll be wiping their arses with coronavirus-impregnated TP? :wink:
And (b) both the name-brand packet of luxury/soft and the packet of ecological/made from recycled paper sitting in my cupboard were made in UK. Yet UK shelves are nevertheless empty of TP.


Good thing this didn’t happen close to Halloween during a salmonella outbreak. Can’t egg anything, can’t TP anyone’s house.

The teenagers would be miserable!


(Pick any one of the following responses.)

When aren’t they?

How would we tell?

Situation normal, then.


That’s true, but at least I’ll get to smirk at you before I die.