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Thread: What Everyone’s Getting Wrong About the Toilet Paper Shortage

  1. #1

    What Everyone’s Getting Wrong About the Toilet Paper Shortage

    I ran accross this totally by accdent but thought it was interesting.


    What Everyone’s Getting Wrong About the Toilet Paper Shortage
    It isn’t really about hoarding. And there isn’t an easy fix.

    Around the world, in countries afflicted with the coronavirus, stores are sold out of toilet paper. There have been shortages in Hong Kong, Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. And we all know who to blame: hoarders and panic-buyers.

    Well, not so fast.

    Story after story explains the toilet paper outages as a sort of fluke of consumer irrationality. Unlike hand sanitizer, N95 masks, or hospital ventilators, they note, toilet paper serves no special function in a pandemic. Toilet paper manufacturers are cranking out the same supply as always. And it’s not like people are using the bathroom more often, right?

    U.S. Health Secretary Alex Azar summed up the paradox in a March 13 New York Times story: “Toilet paper is not an effective way to prevent getting the coronavirus, but they’re selling out.” The president of a paper manufacturer offered the consensus explanation: “You are not using more of it. You are just filling up your closet with it.”

    Faced with this mystifying phenomenon, media outlets have turned to psychologists to explain why people are cramming their shelves with a household good that has nothing to do with the pandemic. Read the coverage and you’ll encounter all sorts of fascinating concepts, from “zero risk bias” to “anticipatory anxiety.” It’s “driven by fear” and a “herd mentality,” the BBC scolded. The libertarian Mises Institute took the opportunity to blame anti-gouging laws. The Atlantic published a short documentary harking back to the great toilet paper scare of 1973, which was driven by misinformation.

    Most outlets agreed that the spike in demand would be short-lived, subsiding as soon as the hoarders were satiated.

    No doubt there’s been some panic-buying, particularly once photos of empty store shelves began circulating on social media. There have also been a handful of documented cases of true hoarding. But you don’t need to assume that most consumers are greedy or irrational to understand how coronavirus would spur a surge in demand. And you can stop wondering where in the world people are storing all that Quilted Northern.
    There’s another, entirely logical explanation for why stores have run out of toilet paper — one that has gone oddly overlooked in the vast majority of media coverage. It has nothing to do with psychology and everything to do with supply chains. It helps to explain why stores are still having trouble keeping it in stock, weeks after they started limiting how many a customer could purchase.

    In short, the toilet paper industry is split into two, largely separate markets: commercial and consumer. The pandemic has shifted the lion’s share of demand to the latter. People actually do need to buy significantly more toilet paper during the pandemic — not because they’re making more trips to the bathroom, but because they’re making more of them at home. With some 75% of the U.S. population under stay-at-home orders, Americans are no longer using the restrooms at their workplace, in schools, at restaurants, at hotels, or in airports.

    Georgia-Pacific, a leading toilet paper manufacturer based in Atlanta, estimates that the average household will use 40% more toilet paper than usual if all of its members are staying home around the clock. That’s a huge leap in demand for a product whose supply chain is predicated on the assumption that demand is essentially constant. It’s one that won’t fully subside even when people stop hoarding or panic-buying.

    If you’re looking for where all the toilet paper went, forget about people’s attics or hall closets. Think instead of all the toilet paper that normally goes to the commercial market — those office buildings, college campuses, Starbucks, and airports that are now either mostly empty or closed. That’s the toilet paper that’s suddenly going unused.

    So why can’t we just send that toilet paper to Safeway or CVS? That’s where supply chains and distribution channels come in.

    Not only is it not the same product, but it often doesn’t come from the same mills.


    Talk to anyone in the industry, and they’ll tell you the toilet paper made for the commercial market is a fundamentally different product from the toilet paper you buy in the store. It comes in huge rolls, too big to fit on most home dispensers. The paper itself is thinner and more utilitarian. It comes individually wrapped and is shipped on huge pallets, rather than in brightly branded packs of six or 12.

    “Not only is it not the same product, but it often doesn’t come from the same mills,” added Jim Luke, a professor of economics at Lansing Community College, who once worked as head of planning for a wholesale paper distributor. “So for instance, Procter & Gamble [which owns Charmin] is huge in the retail consumer market. But it doesn’t play in the institutional market at all.”

    Georgia-Pacific, which sells to both markets, told me its commercial products also use more recycled fiber, while the retail sheets for its consumer brands Angel Soft and Quilted Northern are typically 100% virgin fiber. Eric Abercrombie, a spokesman for the company, said it has seen demand rise on the retail side, while it expects a decline in the “away-from-home activity” that drives its business-to-business sales.

    In theory, some of the mills that make commercial toilet paper could try to redirect some of that supply to the consumer market. People desperate for toilet paper probably wouldn’t turn up their noses at it. But the industry can’t just flip a switch. Shifting to retail channels would require new relationships and contracts between suppliers, distributors, and stores; different formats for packaging and shipping; new trucking routes — all for a bulky product with lean profit margins.

    Because toilet paper is high volume but low value, the industry runs on extreme efficiency, with mills built to work at full capacity around the clock even in normal times. That works only because demand is typically so steady. If toilet paper manufacturers spend a bunch of money now to refocus on the retail channel, they’ll face the same problem in reverse once people head back to work again.

    “The normal distribution system is like a well-orchestrated ballet,” said Willy Shih, a professor at Harvard Business School. “If you make a delivery to a Walmart distribution center, they give you a half-hour window, and your truck has to show up then.” The changes wrought by the coronavirus, he said, “have thrown the whole thing out of balance, and everything has to readjust.”

    While toilet paper is an extreme case, similar dynamics are likely to temporarily disrupt supplies of other goods, too — even if no one’s hoarding or panic-buying. The CEO of a fruit and vegetable supplier told NPR’s Weekend Edition that schools and restaurants are canceling their banana orders, while grocery stores are selling out and want more. The problem is that the bananas he sells to schools and restaurants are “petite” and sold loose in boxes of 150, whereas grocery store bananas are larger and sold in bunches. Beer companies face a similar challenge converting commercial keg sales to retail cans and bottles.

    I’m absolutely convinced that very little was triggered by hoarding.


    It’s all happening, of course, against the backdrop of a pandemic that makes it hard enough for these producers to keep up business as usual, let alone remold their operations to keep up with radical shifts in demand.

    If there’s any good news, it’s that we can stop blaming these shortages on the alleged idiocy of our fellow consumers. “I’m absolutely convinced that very little was triggered by hoarding,” Luke said. Even a modest, reasonable amount of stocking up by millions of people in preparation for stay-at-home orders would have been enough to deplete many store shelves. From there, the ripple effects of availability concerns, coupled with a genuine increase in demand due to people staying in, are sufficient to explain the ongoing supply problems.

    In the long run, the industry is still optimistic that it can adapt. “We’ve got fiber supply, we’ve got trees,” said Georgia-Pacific’s Abercrombie. “It’s just a matter of making the product and getting it out.”

    In the meantime, some enterprising restaurateurs have begun selling their excess supplies of toilet paper, alcohol, and other basics. Last week I picked up takeout at a local restaurant with a side of toilet paper and bananas. The toilet paper was thin and individually wrapped. The bananas were puny. They’ll do just fine.
    https://marker.medium.com/what-every...e-c812e1358fe0
    Chris

    "Government ... does not exist of necessity, but rather by virtue of a tragic, almost comical combination of klutzy, opportunistic terrorism against sitting ducks whom it pretends to shelter, plus our childish phobia of responsibility, praying to be exempted from the hard reality of life on life's terms." Wolf DeVoon

    "...Make America Great Again. I'm interested in making American FREE again. Then the greatness will come automatically."Ron Paul



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  3. #2
    This is exactly the cogitation I had last week. Home $#@!s vs. work $#@!s are up. Therefore, people buy to accommodate. And the industry isn't geared for such a rapid change. It isn't necessarily hoarding, though there are certainly some that have. What has happened is that the number of number 2's in the household has increased.
    Last edited by phill4paul; 04-06-2020 at 07:54 PM.

  4. #3
    Usually I buy 1 4 pack of toilet paper a month. I was forced to buy a 12 pack because there is no 4 packs where I am at I also bought a 24 pack of wash cloths to use just in case I need them but the TP should last me several months so I am good.

  5. #4
    The idea is if people buy it in the amounts they need they can fix their supply chain. If people hoard it all they have no incentive to fix their supply chain because they can effectively raise their prices due to shortages

  6. #5
    This is exactly right. Coworkers and I were talking about this a couple of weeks ago. This is why it isn’t hard to find fresh produce and more sophisticated cuts of meat. People who don’t usually cook are suddenly having to cook, so they pick the easy thing.

    And of course paper products. Because nobody is set up to do that much laundry.

    It makes me happy to be home. It is entirely true paper products are not the same. The commercial sandpaper should be sold in a hardware store.
    Last edited by euphemia; 04-06-2020 at 08:21 PM.
    #NashvilleStrong

  7. #6
    Not only is it not the same product, but it often doesn’t come from the same mills.
    Yeah, that's where they make the John Wayne toilet paper that is in just about every public $#@!house across the country.

  8. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by nikcers View Post
    The idea is if people buy it in the amounts they need they can fix their supply chain. If people hoard it all they have no incentive to fix their supply chain because they can effectively raise their prices due to shortages
    That's not it at all. Do you even read?

  9. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by phill4paul View Post
    That's not it at all. Do you even read?
    So if there isn't a short supply they can't charge more and they have an incentive to fix it so they sell more????



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  11. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by euphemia View Post
    This is exactly right. Coworkers and I were talking about this a couple of weeks ago. This is why it isn’t hard to find fresh produce and more sophisticated cuts of meat. People who don’t usually cook are suddenly having to cook, so they pick the easy thing.

    And of course paper products. Because nobody is set up to do that much laundry.

    It makes me happy to be home. It is entirely true paper products are not the same. The commercial sandpaper should be sold in a hardware store.
    Yup. Another good observation. Exactly why hamburger sold out and steaks were reduced in price.

  12. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by nikcers View Post
    So if there isn't a short supply they can't charge more and they have an incentive to fix it so they sell more????
    The industry is not geared that way. The companies that produce residential paper have enough machines and enough employees to produce, on a normal basis, the amount of paper to serve their sector. They don't have, say, ten extra machines that sit dormant waiting for a crises and 200 trained employees on stand-by. Therefore, they are only able to produce a finite amount. I'd bet that if you worked at a toilet paper manufacturer that you are on "essential' mandatory over-time these day.

  13. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by phill4paul View Post
    The industry is not geared that way. The companies that produce residential paper have enough machines and enough employees to produce, on a normal basis, the amount of paper to serve their sector. They don't have, say, ten extra machines that sit dormant waiting for a crises and 200 trained employees on stand-by. Therefore, they are only able to produce a finite amount. I'd bet that if you worked at a toilet paper manufacturer that you are on "essential' mandatory over-time these day.
    So corporations don't have profit incentives got it.

  14. #12
    Yes America, Most of the World Does NOT Use Toilet Paper – Be TP Free!



    Americans use more toilet paper per capita than any other country in the world.



    Who could have ever foreseen that here in the 21st Century, with the nation in the midst of a world-wide pandemic, that one of the foremost thoughts on most Americans’ minds would be: “Where can I find some toilet paper!!”

    It might surprise most Americans to learn that to most of the world, toilet paper, like other disposable paper products, is a luxury, and NOT a necessity.

    I am fortunate enough to have spent much of my younger adult years living outside of the U.S., in the Middle East and in Asia.

    When living abroad in these areas, most of the time when I had to use a “public toilet” while traveling, it looked something like this:



    It had the necessities: a hole that led into a septic tank (or sewer system), a place to put your feet and squat, and a water faucet with a hose (or sometimes a large plastic cup), and a water drain. But no toilet paper.

    These kinds of toilets are still common in most parts of the world, and in wealthier countries, such as many parts of Europe, you might see one that even has toilet paper like this one in Italy:



    Water, NOT toilet paper, is historically the most common method people have used to clean themselves after using the toilet.

    Water is Healthier, Cleaner, and Less Wasteful Than Toilet Paper

    Even among the wealthier populations in the world today outside of the U.S., water is still the preferred method of cleaning oneself after using the toilet, and for very good reasons.

    The French word “bidet” (pronounced bee – day) represents what the wealthier classes around the world use for cleaning themselves after using the toilet.



    Toilet paper may still be used, but it is used to dry oneself, not to clean oneself, as the water does the cleaning. In the absence of toilet paper, one would just use a hand towel to wipe the wet bottom.

    This more common, historical way of cleaning oneself is also healthier, not to mention less wasteful and less harmful to the environment.

    A 2017 study in Japan at the Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, School of Medicine, at Keio University, compared those who used bidets with those who did not, and the incidence of “hemorrhoids or urogenital infections.”

    The study concluded that “habitual bidet toilet use” led to fewer “hemorrhoids and urogenital symptoms.”

    Bidets are found in the U.S. also, and the most common type simply installs underneath the toilet seat of American toilets.


    Model H2 .

    Those who use bidets like this often say they will never go back to using toilet paper.

    I have used the bidet system developed and manufactured by this company for over twenty years. It is without question the simplest and most effective device for achieving one of the most important aspects of my personal hygiene. I would prefer never to be without it; it has been added to every toilet in this home, and I will continue to use this bidet system in the future. – Dr. Richard L.
    Healthy Traditions has secured a supply of bidets that they are now offering to the public. Most of the under-the-toilet-seat cheaper bidets are made in China from plastic.

    These are American-made medical-grade stainless steel bidets, and there are two varieties available: Model H1, and Model H2. They are easy to install underneath the toilet seat of American toilets.


    Become free from the slavery to toilet paper!
    There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.
    (1 John 4:18)

  15. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Created4 View Post
    Yes America, Most of the World Does NOT Use Toilet Paper – Be TP Free!



    Americans use more toilet paper per capita than any other country in the world.



    Who could have ever foreseen that here in the 21st Century, with the nation in the midst of a world-wide pandemic, that one of the foremost thoughts on most Americans’ minds would be: “Where can I find some toilet paper!!”

    It might surprise most Americans to learn that to most of the world, toilet paper, like other disposable paper products, is a luxury, and NOT a necessity.

    I am fortunate enough to have spent much of my younger adult years living outside of the U.S., in the Middle East and in Asia.

    When living abroad in these areas, most of the time when I had to use a “public toilet” while traveling, it looked something like this:



    It had the necessities: a hole that led into a septic tank (or sewer system), a place to put your feet and squat, and a water faucet with a hose (or sometimes a large plastic cup), and a water drain. But no toilet paper.

    These kinds of toilets are still common in most parts of the world, and in wealthier countries, such as many parts of Europe, you might see one that even has toilet paper like this one in Italy:



    Water, NOT toilet paper, is historically the most common method people have used to clean themselves after using the toilet.

    Water is Healthier, Cleaner, and Less Wasteful Than Toilet Paper

    Even among the wealthier populations in the world today outside of the U.S., water is still the preferred method of cleaning oneself after using the toilet, and for very good reasons.

    The French word “bidet” (pronounced bee – day) represents what the wealthier classes around the world use for cleaning themselves after using the toilet.



    Toilet paper may still be used, but it is used to dry oneself, not to clean oneself, as the water does the cleaning. In the absence of toilet paper, one would just use a hand towel to wipe the wet bottom.

    This more common, historical way of cleaning oneself is also healthier, not to mention less wasteful and less harmful to the environment.

    A 2017 study in Japan at the Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, School of Medicine, at Keio University, compared those who used bidets with those who did not, and the incidence of “hemorrhoids or urogenital infections.”

    The study concluded that “habitual bidet toilet use” led to fewer “hemorrhoids and urogenital symptoms.”

    Bidets are found in the U.S. also, and the most common type simply installs underneath the toilet seat of American toilets.


    Model H2 .

    Those who use bidets like this often say they will never go back to using toilet paper.



    Healthy Traditions has secured a supply of bidets that they are now offering to the public. Most of the under-the-toilet-seat cheaper bidets are made in China from plastic.

    These are American-made medical-grade stainless steel bidets, and there are two varieties available: Model H1, and Model H2. They are easy to install underneath the toilet seat of American toilets.


    Become free from the slavery to toilet paper!
    using toilet paper sequesters carbon and is good for the environment.

  16. #14
    #NashvilleStrong

  17. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by nikcers View Post
    So corporations don't have profit incentives got it.
    Christ, you are so dense.

  18. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by nikcers View Post
    The idea is if people buy it in the amounts they need they can fix their supply chain. If people hoard it all they have no incentive to fix their supply chain because they can effectively raise their prices due to shortages

    Wow. Either you didn't bother to even read the article or you failed completely to comprehend it. You also display a severe lack of understanding wrt basic economics. Nothing you've said here bears any resemblance to economic reality.
    Last edited by CCTelander; 04-06-2020 at 10:22 PM.
    Chris

    "Government ... does not exist of necessity, but rather by virtue of a tragic, almost comical combination of klutzy, opportunistic terrorism against sitting ducks whom it pretends to shelter, plus our childish phobia of responsibility, praying to be exempted from the hard reality of life on life's terms." Wolf DeVoon

    "...Make America Great Again. I'm interested in making American FREE again. Then the greatness will come automatically."Ron Paul



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  20. #17
    OK, the way I'm interpreting this is that all of those people coming out of WalMart with their shopping carts piled high with toilet paper would, under normal circumstances, be spending their entire eight hour shifts at work occupying a ceramic throne in their gender-chosen bathrooms.
    There exists in the world, a desperate need for conspiracies … otherwise, what are the libertarians going to have to talk about

  21. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by nikcers View Post
    So if there isn't a short supply they can't charge more and they have an incentive to fix it so they sell more????
    Interesting that you claim not to be liberal. But every time an article is posted that destroys the lying liberal media's false narrative, you rush in to defend it.

    Even more interesting is, your idea of defending the liberal media is repeating their tripe. Disproving what the article said is never on the agenda.

    So, I'm curious too. Did you read it?

  22. #19
    Have y'all seen how fast women blow through a roll of TP while stuck at home most of the time? Any fear of running out practically dictates it gets purchased whenever possible.
    "Let it not be said that we did nothing." - Ron Paul

    The entire internet is the domain of paid shills and bots. If you don't know this by now....

    Israel, under control of the Crown and, ultimately, the Vatican, own the USA. If you don't know this by now....

    Talk to people about liberty. You won't find it on websites, you won't find it in politicians.

    But now you can't talk to people because of "social distancing"....brought to you by shills and politicians.

  23. #20
    Smart toilet recognises users by their 'anal print' and can detect early signs of cancer



    Going to the loo may never be the same again thanks to scientists who claim to have invented a device that can be fitted on toilets to detect signs of various diseases in stool and urine.
    The gadget, which fits inside the bowl, uses cameras, test strips and motion sensing technology to analyse the deposits and sends the data to a secure cloud server.

    The researchers said their so-called "smart toilet" technology could be useful to individuals who are genetically predisposed to certain conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome, prostate cancer or kidney failure.
    There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.
    (1 John 4:18)

  24. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by acptulsa View Post
    Interesting that you claim not to be liberal. But every time an article is posted that destroys the lying liberal media's false narrative, you rush in to defend it.

    Even more interesting is, your idea of defending the liberal media is repeating their tripe. Disproving what the article said is never on the agenda.

    So, I'm curious too. Did you read it?
    If I am the TP CEO I have a profit incentive. My corporation makes more money if I either charge more by raising the price or by making the package smaller or increasing production to fill demand. I could have even been the one to cause the panic buying and be sitting on warehouses full of it.

  25. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by nikcers View Post
    using toilet paper sequesters carbon and is good for the environment.
    LOL. Okay. ^THAT was funny.

  26. #23
    Smart toilet recognises users by their 'anal print' and can detect early signs of cancer



    Going to the loo may never be the same again thanks to scientists who claim to have invented a device that can be fitted on toilets to detect signs of various diseases in stool and urine.
    The gadget, which fits inside the bowl, uses cameras, test strips and motion sensing technology to analyse the deposits and sends the data to a secure cloud server.

    The researchers said their so-called "smart toilet" technology could be useful to individuals who are genetically predisposed to certain conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome, prostate cancer or kidney failure.
    It's all a conspiracy. They can make plenty of toilet paper. They are adopting new technology to embed disposable microchips into the toilet paper to photograph your toilet use.
    There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.
    (1 John 4:18)

  27. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by Created4 View Post
    Smart toilet recognises users by their 'anal print' and can detect early signs of cancer





    It's all a conspiracy. They can make plenty of toilet paper. They are adopting new technology to embed disposable microchips into the toilet paper to photograph your toilet use.
    They can't produce more of the product it was all recycled after it gets filtered out in the sewage. They have stopped because they believe the virus is present in fecal matter and the workers in the recycling facilities were all sent home due to the lockdown because toilet paper was deemed non essential.



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  29. #25
    Interesting oversation. But a couple of counter points.

    1) The shortage started BEFORE any "stay at home" or "safer at home" orders were given. People we acting off of persistent rumors that the stores would be shut down.

    2) Buying extra items of things you think you may need and can't get in an upcoming crisis is a 100% RATIONAL behavior regardless of whether the item actually helps in the crisis. Consider how much a chocolate bar was worth in Europe in WW 2.

    3) If you follow the Trump administration's current recommendations then you aren't shopping right now more than necessary which means you already stocked up on what you need hence proving point 2 to be correct.

  30. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by nikcers View Post
    They can't produce more of the product it was all recycled after it gets filtered out in the sewage. They have stopped because they believe the virus is present in fecal matter and the workers in the recycling facilities were all sent home due to the lockdown and toilet paper was deemed non essential.
    Can I ask what you're smoking? Or were you just born that way??
    There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.
    (1 John 4:18)

  31. #27

  32. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by nikcers View Post
    If I am the TP CEO I have a profit incentive. My corporation makes more money if I either charge more by raising the price or by making the package smaller or increasing production to fill demand. I could have even been the one to cause the panic buying and be sitting on warehouses full of it.
    All you had to type was, "No, I didn't read it."

  33. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by nikcers View Post
    Toilet Paper companies fought to make marijuana and hemp illegal so nothing.
    Dude, quit complaining that you didn't have toilet paper in your preps and wash your ass.


  34. #30

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