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Toilet tissue dilemma

In my rush to the store to stock up for what would soon become the coronavirus pandemic, I was dumbfounded when I reached the paper goods department and saw nothing but empty shelves. 

All I wanted was a four-roll pack of toilet tissue to back up a broken pack we had back at the house. I figured that would be enough to keep our bathrooms supplied for a couple of months. 

How was I to know shoppers who preceded me were buying enough toilet tissue to last a year instead of a few weeks? 

I was disappointed when I left shorthanded but not griefstricken. Other stores stocked paper goods as well.  

After checking with other suppliers, I realized the toilet tissue shortage was pervasive, extending beyond Hartselle’s borders. Demand was greater than the supply everywhere, it seemed. 

My son, Steve, has experienced the shortage in Huntsville. 

“The grocery store I shop at was out of toilet tissue last week,” he said. “But they offered buy one, get one free on facial tissue, and that’s what I bought.” 

It has become valuable cargo nationwide as well. 

A tractor-trailer was stopped by law enforcement officers in Maryland last week on suspicion of being a stolen vehicle. It contained 40,000 pounds of toilet tissue, according to the televised news report.  

Our dilemma with respect to toilet tissue reminds me of days past when indoor bathrooms were uncommon in rural areas. Outdoor toilets were the norm, and they left a lot to be desired as far as convenience and cleaning supplies were concerned.  

They were usually located several hundred feet from the house for sanitary reasons and provided one or two holes in unshaved boards for seating. Outdated Sears & Roebuck catalogs, magazines and newspapers served the dual purpose of reading and cleaning. When working, playing or wandering outdoors, the foliage of trees and bushes served the same purpose. 

Our need for a little extra toilet tissue was met by our youngest granddaughter, Meaghan Gray. She had the foresight to order a 48-pack case on line before the pandemic.