‘Other people’ because I assume that my readers, like myself*, took elementary precautions ahead of time to ensure that we’d weather this particular crisis. anyway, it’s maybe not hoarding that’s causing the problem. Via Twitter, but I can’t remember which account:
…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.
This, indeed, makes logical sense to me. It’s one of the problems of our modern age: we’re really, really big on efficiency in how we distribute both raw materials and goods. That works great when everything else is working great, but not so great when things get disrupted enough at a crucial link in the chain. As the article notes, commercial toilet paper is also different than consumer toilet paper, and while I’m sure many people wouldn’t care right now they still have to get the other kind to the stores somehow.
The good news? All of this will fix itself. Eventually. Then again, that’s how it usually works anyway.
*And by ‘myself’ I mean of course ‘my wife.’