For many people, a first reaction to unfavorable news or a stormy forecast is to raid the retail establishments and buy all of the toilet paper they can find.

It does not matter that the hurricane is 1,000 miles out to sea or if the snow forecast is for only an inch of the wet stuff. Be prepared and bulk buy is the standard response.

So, a couple weeks into the Covid-19 pandemic, well after the hoarders binged-shopped the paper aisles, we did an inventory at our home and determined we had our own panic situation — our Angel Soft was running short. Those of us who don’t panic and don’t hoard toilet paper are faced with leftovers when we need to restock our bathrooms.

I don’t have to tell you lady readers: not all all toilet paper is equal. All that was left at our favorite grocery was some off-brand double rolls purported to have 1,000 sheets. In bold letters it stated on the package that based on average use, one roll would last one week. This stuff was thin, felt like sandpaper and should have been sold with a tube of Neosporin to deal with the resulting rash.

How exactly did they determine “average use,” as the package so proudly promotes? I don’t see anything average about how toilet paper is used in an average family.

Here is how I see it. A 1,000-sheet toilet paper roll would last a man a year. It might last us ladies five days, maybe a week. If you have kids, you will be changing rolls every day.

I am surprised that someone has not come up with an app for their iPhone that would determine the needs for their family. You know, something like inputting the number of sheets used by each person in the family per day, multiplied by the number of sheets on the roll, divided by the rolls in a package, minus the rolls in your pantry, adding 20% for emergencies, plus one or two rolls for the full moons in a month.

I can see an app like that being a real money maker, and it would cut down on the amount of hoarding that is taking place. Or maybe it would make it worse? I don’t know. I probably need to think about that one.

Now one afternoon during our self-quarantine I dispatched my husband to change a roll in our guest bath. There was nothing but the cardboard tube left on the roller, and every time I try to change out a roll, the plastic spring-loaded roller gets away from me and shoots across the room.

So, I sent him to take care of the task. As I previously told you, our Angel Soft inventory was low. He fumbled with the roller, the spring shot out the bathroom door and a brand-new roll of tissue did a summersault right in the toilet.

Knowing that we didn’t have many rolls left and he just drowned one of them, he felt bad. He felt like there should be a service, or maybe he should deliver a eulogy for the Angel Soft roll, and I heard him standing in the bathroom doorway reminiscing on the pre-hoarding days. There wasn’t a dry eye in our house.

I have been trying to think ahead. What if the shortage becomes an outage? How will we deal with it? I have been collecting odd socks from the dryer for a while. Perhaps I have found a use for them. Our grandparents repurposed last season’s Sears catalog. I’m not sure Sears is still in business, and even if they are, I don’t believe they still have a catalog.

President Trump said the other night in one of his briefings that The New York Times printed fake news. One of their thick Sunday editions of fake news could likely serve as an alternative to Angel Soft and would last a week or so at our house if it comes to it.

Toilet paper hoarders have put many non-hoarders in a bad predicament. As it was pointed out by one of the news commentators, the hoarders did nothing illegal. They didn’t steal. They paid for what they got. They just got more than they needed, which robbed from people like me that are not hoarders.

I just have one thing further to say on the subject.

Toilet paper hoarders must be full of it.

Dr. Darlene Atkinson-Moran grew up in Olanta. She always knew

she wanted to be a teacher. She is retired from the education profession and now resides in Florence with her husband, Michael.

Contact her at citizencolumnist@florencenews.com.

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