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What in the World are Folks Doing With All That Toilet Paper

I was shopping early last week and watched a middle-aged woman stuffing her grocery cart with roll after roll of toilet paper, two-packs, four-packs, economy brand, extra fluffy. I stood behind her waiting for my turn to purchase the family's weekly four-pack hoping she would leave some on the shelves. I wondered what terrible affliction had befallen her to need such a mountain of the stuff.

When I got home I mentioned the story to my sons and they laughed. They informed me that toilet paper had joined face masks and hand sanitizer among the items that Americans are hoarding because of the coronavirus. Why? Who knows; hoarding is generally an irrational response to a crises and it expands exponentially as others hear about it. If my neighbor is hoarding, I have to run out to the store to get my share [and a bit extra] before it's gone. Additionally, hoarding is a way of making us feel like we have some control over our fate, even if it only addresses one small part of a much larger problem.

Dr. Jay Zagorsky, of Boston University’s Questrom School of Business explained like this:

ABC4: “Hoarding also makes people feel secure. This is especially relevant when the world is faced with a novel disease over which all of us have little or no control. However, we can control things like having enough toilet paper in case we are quarantined.”

But, the problem with hording is that if I have lots of something, like toilet paper, others may have to go without. And, hopefully, that gives a hoarder pause. Monica Hesse of the Washington Post asked that question yesterday:

Hesse, Washington Post: "Did you also factor in the number of butts (and hands, and hearts, and lungs) in your town, your state, your time zone? Was your math simple, or was it made complex by a sincere belief that, just as public health depends on herd immunity, public sanity depends on herd empathy — meaning, you acknowledge everyone else’s rear end is also on the line?"

So, yes, please consider your neighbors before you fill your pantry and garage with toilet paper, or anything else, during the crisis.

#news #opinion #coronavirus

By: Don Lam & Curated Content

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