All those articles about how people were not hoarding TP? Probably not so much.

My inbox and FB wall have been flooded with articles that people were not suddenly hoarding toilet paper, it was a math supply/demand problem. It’s been a feel good response to where we’re at in the pandemic and there’s supply line science to back up if you’re spending 9 or so more hours at home you’re going to use a lot more TP.

What doesn’t track is how not only were home TP off the shelf completely days before the first lockdowns in the country, it became difficult to get corporate level TP which was different build.

All the meat, soft drinks, cheese, eggs, and milk disappeared off shelves days before the first shutdowns in Nashville. Costco had people with TP stacked high… which wasn’t all that odd for Costco, but seeing more than one or two at a time was unexpected.

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Bread, on March 15th, gone. Schools had been open until March 11 and decided to shut down two days early for spring break (Mar 15 here,) just to lower risk of Covid infections. There were no city ordered shutdowns at this point. There was no toilet paper to be found.

Monday, March 23rd Nashville’s Mayor Cooper orders the first Safer at Home order in the state.

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TP Aisle Kroger, March 15th

March 22 that same Kroger every scrap of canned food was evidently purchased as people realized there was going to be a lockdown. At this point it had been two weeks since anyone had seen hand sanitizer available because of a coordinated group by a bunch of people to purchase all of it in the state and resell on Amazon. Here’s one of them.

What’s so strange on the TP front is that companies didn’t turn around and start selling office TP. Seems like this would have been a logical move to do with inventory and help employees out. But places like my office couldn’t get any.

April 2nd, 2020 Tennessee Gov Bill Lee finally issued a stay at home order for the state. While several municipalities had been issuing these orders for the most part the state was working, and hoarding toilet paper while still working.

Prior to mandated work shutdowns, prior to state shutdowns, the toilet paper disappeared. There may be an angle I’m missing there, but the stories were the same across the state, and across many states, when people thought there might be a lockdown coming they went and they bought everything they could.

Above pictures are from Costco March 4, 2020. While it may not look like it’s particularly empty most of the milk and all of the TP was gone. This was two weeks before people in Nashville were given a safer at home order and a month before the state.

Scammers coordinated to wipe out all sanitation products and basic needs they could and resell them at higher rates. So while people may be using more TP, the reasons for the shortage were not purely mathematical.

Or I’ve got observer’s bias, but yeah, your hoarding friends did a number on the TP.

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Paul E King

Paul King started with GoodAndEVO in 2011, which merged with Pocketables, and as of 2018 he's evidently the owner. He lives in Nashville, works at a film production company, is married with two kids. Facebook | Twitter | Donate | More posts by Paul | Subscribe to Paul's posts

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