The escalating Coronavirus crisis has dominated world news for more than two months. As the world shuts down, whole industries grind to a halt and we practice “social distancing” (avoiding others) and self isolating in a bid to halt the spread of the virus. Families are separated as politicians rediscover the benefits of borders and close them, and supermarket shelves are stripped bare. The global economic and personal impact of the virus will be felt for some time.
However as well as the serious implications, society has shown we still have the ability to laugh in the face of adversity.
An unexpected side affect of the Wuhan flu has been a world wide shortage of one of life’s daily necessities. Toilet paper has become the new “Buttcoin” as shoppers around the world face empty shelves in the toilet tissue aisle.
In an inexplicable panic-buying phenomenon not seen since tulip bulbs were all the rage, shoppers have been stockpiling not food, but trolley loads of toilet paper in preparation for a lockdown. What anyone will do with two years’ supply of bathroom tissue is unfathomable.
With supplies of paper products stripped bare, shoppers queue for hours for just one roll of two-ply, reminiscent of scenes from WWII rationing. Riots over toilet paper and extra security surrounding this sought after commodity are becoming commonplace, with the social media memes becoming funnier each day.
As shoppers around the world grapple with the unique crisis, some hilarious news stories begin to surface of humorous responses to the great toilet paper crisis.
10 Sinking Supplies
Most of us know that sinking feeling when we arrive at the supermarket too late to grab our emergency supplies. Many of us even resort to setting the alarm to join the early morning queue, only to have our hopes dashed by empty shelves.
Two Los Angeles musicians recently brought a note of light- hearted humor to the situation. Bemused shoppers watched as the two professional violinists donned life jackets and headed to the ransacked toilet paper aisle. Without missing a beat, the straight faced musicians began playing the 9th century hymn “Nearer my God to Thee”in front of the empty toilet paper shelves.
The parody of the bandmaster’s performance in James Cameron’s 1997 movie “Titanic” went viral as essential supplies continued to sink as quickly as the Titanic.
9 Toilet paper emergency
Nearing the final sheet of loo roll may be a major domestic emergency. However it seems some people needed reminding that this was not necessarily a life threatening situation. US police in Newport Oregon actually had to issue a public message asking people not to dial 911 because they were out of toilet paper.
Officers assured the public they would survive without police assistance, suggesting old fashioned remedies to the crisis, such as newspaper or cloth rags.
In Australia however, police have actually had to resort to handing out toilet paper and paper towels at local supermarkets in a bid to ease the emerging “roll-rage” situation.
8 Pricey roll
Profiteers are inevitable during every shortage, so it is not surprising that hoarders are now targeting desperate online shoppers to capitalize on their precious loot.
Some however have taken to E-Bay to add a humorous note to the crisis, listing toilet paper for sale as a joke.
In Australia, a NSW man listed a generic brand two ply roll for AUD$1000 as a send up of the crisis. Not actually intending to make a sale, he listed the roll at the ridiculous price thinking he would not even get a bid. However he was obviously taken seriously and was astounded when a purchaser actually accepted the “buy it now” price, telling news reporters he “didn’t even think anyone would even bid AUD$10 for it.”
In Queensland, a similar joke saw a 24 pack of Kleenex (RRP AUD$15) sell for AUD$500. Neither purchaser has yet to receive full payment for their toilet humor.
7 Prized roll
A UK arcade owner had a “loo-crative” idea to highlight the stupidity of people clawing for toilet paper in the supermarket aisles. The frantic scrambles to grasp a loo roll reminded him of the arcade games, where players claw for the chance to win a toy inside the machine.
The East Yorkshire businessman emptied the usual plush toys from this vending machines, where for 30p gamers could claw for the prize of a fluffy bear.
Instead he filled them with rolls of toilet paper, with seaside visitors flocking for the opportunity to “spend a penny” while securing a somewhat unusual, but now popular prize.
Other similar vending machines have joined in on the joke, with some adding hand sanitizer, another sought after basic personal hygiene product also in short supply to the prize pool.
6 Stunned at no paper
The lack of toilet paper supplies has become an emotive issue around the world, with reports of “trolley rage” over the precious commodity common. Tempers often flare as selfish shoppers seemingly prepare for an onslaught of gastro, rather than the flu.
An Australian man however was literally stunned at his inability to buy toilet roll.
In the Australian country town of Tamworth, police resorted to tasering a man who became violent during an out of control bog roll stoush.
A brawl broke out in a large chain store over the lack of supplies, with customers, staff and police assaulted during the debacle. The stunned shopper was removed from the store without a single roll of 4 ply for his efforts.
5 Precious as Gold
A Los Angeles jeweler felt that a roll of toilet paper had become more precious than gold, using the shortage as a clever marketing ploy.
Perhaps hoping his excess stock of rings would clear as fast as a toilet paper delivery, a Nevada jeweler was offering a single roll of quality toilet paper for USD$3,999. While this would seem a little exorbitant even in the current shortage, the deal does include a free one carat diamond ring.
4 Forgotten Loot
Hidden treasure is often found when clearing out the homes of elderly relatives. Precious artworks, valuable antiques, hidden loots of jewelry or stashes of cash are often uncovered, But who would think a five year supply of toilet paper would ever be an exciting find?
In Sydney Australia, a man was trawling through the contents of his late father’s store room,when he discovered what would have been quite a boring find a few months ago. Stacked in the corner were some 270 rolls of 1980s toilet paper, which his father must have bought in bulk forty years ago and forgotten about.
He was inundated with responses to a Facebook post offering the stash to the desperate or needy.
3 Should Have Bought 2 Ply
We’ve all witnessed the scenes of greedy shoppers filling trolleys with toilet paper, paper towels and tissues. “Where on earth will they store it all?” is a frequently asked question.
A UK driver failed to take this into account when he stacked his van full of the sought after paper products. When police pulled the driver over in Blackwell, they discovered his selfish loot had placed his vehicle over the legal tare limits, his savings went down the toilet when he was slapped with a GBP 300 fine. Perhaps if he had stuck to two ply, he may have stayed underweight.
2 Floral Bouquet
Remember floral toilet paper? Some of the premium brands featured floral printed rolls, with a choice of bouquet scents to enhance your bathroom experience.
If you are missing these floral bathroom tributes, for just $75 US, an Arkansas florist will provide you with a blooming bouquet – of toilet rolls.
Just ordinary two-ply, nothing fancy, but these days most of us will grab what we can get. Created from his personal “pre-corona” stash, the extraordinary “floral” tribute contains the usual ribbons and greenery highlighting the bouquet’s centerpiece, multiple rolls of toilet paper. If you get really desperate, you might even be able to resort to using the greenery.
1 Old fashioned “dunny squares”
We Australians are known for our cheeky responses to any crisis, with many social media memes reminding us of the benefits of newspaper. Or “dunny squares” as they used to be known in our grandparents’ days.
A Northern Territory newspaper gave its readers a hilarious solution to the toilet paper crisis, maintaining the relevance of print media in the modern world.
Reviving the old tradition of cut up newspaper hanging from a string on the door of the outdoor loo, the “NT News” printed 8 blank pages for readers to use as an emergency supply. The pages even provided handy cut-lines so readers could maximize the capacity of their emergency bog roll supply. Unfortunately the free gift didn’t come with disposal instructions.