So You've Run Out of Toilet Paper. What Else Will Flush?
The global spread of the novel coronavirus has upended daily life for millions of people around the world. In many communities, the COVID-19 pandemic has spurred consumer panic buying; the bread and milk aisles at supermarkets, for example, are barren because people are understandably concerned about the health impacts of the virus.
But the hottest commodity in this strange new world (outside of hand sanitizer) may be toilet paper. We've seen a slew of viral videos showing shoppers hoarding packs of TP and getting into fist fights over the coveted remaining rolls. On Amazon, price gouging has run rampant, with some packs of toilet paper selling for as much as $60.
It's important to note this kind of panic accumulation does not make sense—and President Trump has urged Americans to stop doing it. Not only does the average person use just 100 rolls of toilet paper per entire year, but almost all our toilet paper is still made domestically without any risk to the supply chain from travel bans.