Y'all remember frustrated grocer Mr. Whipple stressing out over people squeezing the Charmin toilet paper back in the day? Imagine if Mr. Whipple was alive today what he'd think of the Great Toilet Paper Crisis of 2020.

For many weeks, there has just been no Charmin or other brands of toilet paper to squeeze. That's because anxious consumers have put the squeeze on supplies out of fear that stay-at-home orders and limited access to grocery markets might catch them up the creek without a roll. All of that appears to be easing somewhat as producers of the rolled gold seem to be catching up with demand and consumer fears seem to be abating, at least somewhat.

Don't kid yourself, finding a package of toilet paper can still be a challenge. A recent visit to Target was proof that folks are still clamoring for the stuff and by midday, the shelves are often empty again.

Consumer products data tracker NCSolutions tells Reuters about 48 percent of grocery stores had no toilet paper for some or all of the day on April 19. That number was down from 73 percent just a week prior. It's an indication that suppliers are catching up with demand and perhaps that consumers have stashed as much toilet paper into their cupboards as they can fit and are now comfortable with the size of their stockpile.

Consumer demand for toilet paper is still up 27 percent over pre-crisis levels.

The Great Toilet Paper Crisis of 2020 exposes the ugly side of human nature. Images of greedy people wrestling on the floor over a package of toilet paper went viral. The sight of adults filling shopping carts to overflowing with toilet paper, paper towels, wipes, sanitizer, and disinfectant was horrifying. The hoarding had a dramatic impact on older Americans who were often left without the products they badly needed.

We are largely hiding in our homes these days, willing to surrender our rights and free will to tyrannical government and non-elected officials. But I suppose as long as we have enough toilet paper, we can wait it out until we are permitted to go back out again.


Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at barry@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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