First thing this morning after I dropped the girls to school, I headed to my local shopping centre to tackle the groceries. We needed toilet paper and I had hoped Aldi restocked after all the panic buying earlier this week.
Instead I was met with empty pallets and concerned looks from a few elderly people who were not sure what to do with this immediate crisis.
Another mum had checked Woolworths, Coles and had finally come to Aldi, only to walk out empty handed in frustration.
The panic buying of toilet paper has brought out the worst in human nature. I understand it’s important to prepare for corona virus with the impending flu season ahead. And it makes sense to be prepared for incubation if you do come down sick. But buying up big and not considering the effects of mass stockpiling is entitlement gone overboard.
I overheard one lady say to others around her that she had tried to get toilet paper yesterday and there was an elderly man in tears because of the empty shelves. He had been trying to get toilet paper for himself and his wife, of whom he was her full time carer. Another shopper, who was lucky enough to score a pack of toilet rolls, opened the pack to give him some of hers.
I’m sure this story is not an isolating case. Our elderly can’t be walking from one shop to another to buy some loo paper. It really is insanity.
After I finished my shop at Aldi, I headed to Woolworths to get my favourite veggie chips. I walked down to the toilet paper aisle and was again met with empty shelves and the same concerned looks from other shoppers, not sure what to do.
When I went through the express checkout, one lady in front of me had bought up big on paper towel. Desperate times make people seek desperate measures.
When it was time for me to buy my 5 items, I asked the checkout lady when they were expecting their next shipment of toilet rolls. She had advised they had only filled the shelves yesterday afternoon and they were gone that night. The same would happen later today and they would be gone by tonight, without a doubt.
“It’s just selfish,” she remarked at the panic buying. Hence the email from Woolworths on buying limits for sanitizer and toilet paper.
Of course, the panic buying has now prompted a hunting instinct to bulk buy toilet rolls when they become available. No one wants to be without toilet paper, because what are the alternatives?
Toilet Paper Alternatives
When the shelves are bare and you’ve run out of toilet rolls, what are the toilet paper alternatives? While it’s an important message from Urban Utilities to say only flush ‘pee, poo and paper’ down the loo, it can corner consumers into a panic on what else to use.
While you could create toilet cloths from old sheets and towels (I grimaced while I wrote that!), these are the steps I’d do and and it’s a temporary solution to prevent an unexpected blockage or unnecessary strain on our sewer system. Goodness knows if people can only afford to buy smaller packs of toilet paper during their weekly grocery run, they won’t be able to afford an unexpected call out from a plumber to unblock their drain because they used a wet wipe.
- Buy a tub of ice cream and finish it. You will need this empty tub and lid for later.
- Purchase flushable wipes, tissues and cheap paper towels if no toilet rolls are available.
- When using the above to wipe, don’t flush them down the toilet. Place the used wipe, tissue or paper towel into the ice cream container, with the lid firmly fastened.
- Obviously dispose the ice cream container once it’s full. You could use a bin with a lid too if that is easier.
If you do decide to use these alternatives, ensure they aren’t flushed down the toilet. And yes, I’m well aware it’s adding to landfill. By all means create your own reusable toilet cloths and sanitise as needed. It’s only a temporary and dire straight solution if the sh*t hits the pan and there is nothing to wipe your bum with.
In the meantime, if you don’t need to buy toilet paper, leave the packs for those that do. And if you have spares, be neighbourly and offer spare rolls to those that need it. Don’t sell it on Facebook Marketplace to make some quick dollars.