I feel so lofty and superior to the maniacs who are out scrounging for toilet paper. But I can feel that way because I did an inventory and found a treasure trove. From my last Costco run several months ago, I still have 11 full rolls plus two partials upstairs, and I'm guessing a couple more in the basement. Not to mention the partial roll out in the truck for "emergencies." In a Salon article on the panic buying, the author claimed that the typical person uses 100 rolls a year. In what universe do these TP hogs live? Maybe I'm not typical, but I would guess my annual usage is 30-40...OK, my bride just explained to me that men and women are different. We still maintain separate residences until our new house is finished in a few months.
But as the only full-time resident of this house, I calculate that I'm sitting like a king until mid-summer, at which point the crisis will be over...or we will be in a full-blown zombie apocalypse, in which case toilet paper will be the least of our worries. I may have to start watching The Walking Dead to pick up some survival pointers.
I've seen this before. When I lived in Massachusetts, people would grimly flock to Shop 'N Stop (or is it Stop 'N Shop?) to stock up on essentials every time a Nor'easter was headed their way. (I don't know why the media spells it with all those r's; New Englanders actually pronounce it "Naw-THEAS-tah.") Either these people had survived the Blizzard of '78, or they heard about it ad nauseum from their parents and grandparents. After the storm subsided and inevitably was not a repeat of '78, they found themselves with a huge cache of TP and bottled water, and gallons of milk that was about to spoil.
In August 1991, Hurricane Bob rolled up the East Coast, and just two months later the ultimate Nawtheastah, The Perfect Storm, came in from the North Atlantic. I admit, I lived to the south well inland, not in Gloucester on an exposed peninsula, but after surviving 30+ years of South Dakota blizzards I was not impressed. Bob, my very first hurricane, was just a rainy afternoon, and I don't remember The Perfect Storm at all. In the years I've been back in South Dakota I haven't seen routine hoarding leading up to blizzards, but a few days ago Walmart was almost (not entirely) out of TP and very low on rice and pasta. I know this emergency will last longer than a couple days, and I agree that it's a good idea not to gather in large groups and pass the virus around. I am not minimizing the problems the good people of Washington state and Italy have had, nor denying that it may still hit us hard. But so far the stores remain open and the local infection rate is 0.001%. Life goes on somewhat normally, albeit without basketball.
Update: I have 3+ rolls in the basement bathroom, but it's not the good stuff.