This week I have been receiving messages and emails asking where to purchase toilet paper and just this morning I received a call from a concerned citizen asking as to why the Creston News Advertiser is not reporting on the shortage or the need for mass stock-piling of one of our most basic personal commodities – toilet paper.
I’ve asked and no one really seems to know why since the symptoms of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, are fever, cough and shortness of breath.
I’m no social scientist or behavior expert, but in my opinion, this behavior seems to surface in the face of panic. The behavior is evident every time the National Weather Service announces an approaching blizzard – people flock to the stores to stock their refrigerators and cupboards with milk, meat and bread, and their bathrooms with toilet paper.
There isn’t really a shortage of toilet paper in the United States –áit’s a problem created by our own behavior that is wreaking havoc on the supply chain. So for those of you sitting on your treasure trove of Charmin, please stop. There’s enough to go around if we just buy what we need and freight companies are visibly working around the clock to get supplies to our stores. The governor even lifted weight restrictions of transport trailers to ensure more supplies are being delivered.
Psychologist Mary Alvord, Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the George Washington University School of Medicine said the reason people are hoarding toilet paper is because there is comfort in knowing that it’s there.
“We all eat and we all sleep and we all poop. It’s a basic need to take care of ourselves,” she said.
And in times of uncertainty when we fear the inability of our government, hospitals and employers to operate as normal, we tend to take extreme measures to ensure our wellness and livlihood.
So, there is no shortage. It’s just sitting in your neighbor’s house.