What’s the street value of a roll of toilet paper?

Once when I was picking up a prescription at my pharmacy, I said I was ready to make a profit by selling the pills on the street at a dollar each.

The pharmacist said that I’d be losing a lot of money pricing them that cheap. Shows what I know about the DIY drug biz.

This morning, I found a couple of store brand packages of toilet paper at the Food Lion. First time I’ve seen any there in almost a month. They also had paper towels and Kleenex. My lucky day.

People in the parking lot saw the toilet paper and looked envious. Since I hadn’t bought any fresh ammo, I hoped they weren’t armed. I knew one thing they didn’t know. There wasn’t enough toilet paper left inside the store for all of them.

Hmm, how much would they be willing to pay for one roll? $10, perhaps? That seemed fair since I have expenses, insurance, transportation costs, etc. But no one came over to threaten me or propose a deal. So now we’re stocked up to a little while.

Whew.

That’s a relief. Like everyone else, we were running low on a product that several months ago we took for granted.

In the 1970s, I never expected (and didn’t like) the gasoline shortages. As I drove around looking for a service station that had something to sell, I never thought the next shortage would be toilet paper.

Maybe we should all use the grocery store restrooms every time we go shopping. Naah, with a virus around, I don’t think so.

If you want a roll, send me $10 plus shipping and maybe I’ll ship one back to your house and you’ll feel inspired or relieved.

–Malcolm

What if each furloughed employee had been given a roll of toilet paper?

Other than panic buying and hoarding, families are probably buying more toilet paper than usual because they’re confined to their homes. It stands to reason that 8-5 workers used toilet paper at the office during the day that they must now buy at the grocery store. Same goes for the kids who normally would have used school-supplied toilet paper for most of the day.

Now, all that toilet paper is sitting in storerooms at offices and cleaning services where nobody can access it. But what if each furloughed employee had been given a roll or two on the way out the door?

Okay, those rolls wouldn’t last long, but when you add them all up, they lead to a lot of toilet paper purchases at stores that normally wouldn’t have happened. One thing leads to another. Once the toilet paper gets sparse on store shelves, people naturally buy more of it even if they aren’t trying to hoard a six-month supply.

Maybe as a show of good faith, offices and schools should allow workers and students to stop by for a free roll or two to ease the strain on all of us.

–Malcolm

Malcolm R. Campbell’s short story collection, Widely Scattered Ghosts, is free on Smashwords during the company’s “give back” sale.