COVID-19. The new plague has caused a shortage of medical staff, masks, and…toilet paper? Unexpectedly, since the beginning of the pandemic outbreak, toilet paper has gone out of stock in stores as people hoard it and empty the shelves. This is an example of panic buying – as an urgent concern like COVID-19 appears, people feel compelled to stock up on essential items. However, this is detrimental to the nation. Hoarding toilet paper must stop because of the stress it places on the economy and people’s lives as they struggle to buy a basic necessity.
Stocking up on toilet paper may not seem like such a terrible thing. It wouldn’t cause any sort of significant damage, right? Wrong. Hoarding toilet paper has grave consequences for the economy, specifically the industry of producing and delivering toilet paper. Manufacturers of toilet paper are pressured to produce at unforeseen efficiency, which can pose dangers to workers in terms of risk for coronavirus as they are exposed to others for longer periods of time. However, the workers are not the only ones being stressed – the consumers are as well. As people stock up on toilet paper, stores run out of storage, which leaves shelves devoid of the product. This causes increased fear that indeed, toilet paper has run out, bringing even more people clamoring to grab any rolls they can. With this exponentially growing demand for toilet paper and enormous decline in supply, stores are forced to sell toilet paper at high prices and even limit the amount of toilet paper a family can buy in order to ensure that not all the toilet paper is snatched up in a few minutes. Many families, especially from vulnerable or low-income communities, may not be able to purchase toilet paper at that high of a price. And many families may not even be able to buy toilet paper as it runs out so quickly. This leaves households vulnerable and possibly unable to obtain a basic necessity, which is extremely dangerous for the health and safety of all our communities.
Thus, panic buying of toilet paper must end. The shortage has caused inconveniences and stress for businesses, workers, and consumers. Toilet paper is not essential to combatting the virus, but it is essential for the comfort and well being of all our families. We must be considerate of others and realize that the large stockpiles in our closets are not necessary – we only need to buy what we need to help stop the effects of the pandemic.
By Jessica Jiang