Hall of Shame

You know who you are. 

When you pass others on the street or in the hallways (careful to maintain that six-foot distance), you smile and say, “We’re all in this together.”

Except actions speak louder than words and your actions shout: “Every man for himself.”

As soon as the rumblings began about a serious virus closing down businesses and causing shortages, you acted. You jumped in your SUV and visited all the places that you knew would soon see long lines outside their doors. And you bought up  – toilet paper. Not just a few rolls, but dozens, hundreds. You gave a sigh of relief. You were safe. Damn everyone else.

That’s why, no matter where shoppers go today, to a store or online, there is not one roll of toilet paper to be bought. Shelves are empty, a truly bizarre sight. Amazon, Target, Walmart, Costco – doesn’t matter. “Product unavailable.” 

So we have to ask the question: why toilet paper? Clorox wipes, hand sanitizer – we understand. For protection against the virus, we need to wash our hands and use these disinfecting methods to stay safe. No where have I read that one of the effects of the virus is serious diarrhea, a symptom that would justify having tons of toilet paper at the ready. 

From what I see on Amazon, the unfamiliar brands of toilet paper are being sold by “third party vendors.” Even though Amazon has pledged to police the site to prevent gouging by sellers, I’m skeptical. I refuse to purchase product from you – a hoarder (whore-der) – who hopes to benefit from other people’s misery.

Of course, shortages of toilet paper have spilled over to other products that can be used as substitutes – Kleenex, paper towels, napkins, even baby wipes. One result is that these items, much thicker in some cases than toilet paper, were not meant to be flushed and are now clogging up sewer systems in some parts of the country. That’s on you, too. I pray the next time you flush that you don’t find the water rising and your toilet spilling over with sewage.

Dealing with shortages has become another by product of this pandemic. And truth be told, we haven’t always had toilet paper. According to Wikipedia, modern commercial toilet paper didn’t become available until the 19th century. So we will survive.

But the bigger question is what drives people to stockpile toilet paper – or anything – during this crisis, knowing that others will have to do without. If you’re one of these selfish shoppers, perhaps that something to think about the next time you sit on your throne. 

About Charlene Giannetti (437 Articles)
Charlene Giannetti, editor of Woman Around Town, is the recipient of seven awards from the New York Press Club for articles that have appeared on the website. A graduate of Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Charlene began her career working for a newspaper in Pennsylvania, then wrote for several publications in Washington covering environment and energy policy. In New York, she was an editor at Business Week magazine and her articles have appeared in many newspapers and magazines. She is the author of 13 non-fiction books, eight for parents of young adolescents written with Margaret Sagarese, including "The Roller-Coaster Years," "Cliques," and "Boy Crazy." She and Margaret have been keynote speakers at many events and have appeared on the Today Show, CBS Morning, FOX News, CNN, MSNBC, NPR, and many others. Her last book, "The Plantations of Virginia," written with Jai Williams, was published by Globe Pequot Press in February, 2017. Her podcast, WAT-CAST, interviewing men and women making news, is available on Soundcloud and on iTunes. She is one of the producers for the film "Life After You," focusing on the opioid/heroin crisis that completed filming on February 1, 2020. Charlene divides her time between homes in Manhattan and Alexandria, Virginia.