Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.

The toilet paper odyssey


Last night my husband came home from checking on family and told me that the family of 5 needed toilet paper. Dad is working more than full time and mom is a nurse and busy at the hospital. Three children are home from school all day.

So this morning I decided to be at the grocery store when it opened at 7, after all I had a couple things I could use as well. And I figured my only hope on a weekend morning of finding any toilet paper would be to look early in the day.

As I drove down the dark road at 6:45 I saw cars pulling out of driveways ahead of me. We all ended up in the grocery store parking lot at 7:01. I knew there was a problem when, while walking up to the store, three people walked out. Each of them had one item and one item only.

You guessed it. They each had one package of toilet paper.

I followed a crowd of people inside, grabbed a small cart, wiped it clean, and worked my way through produce where a store worker handed me a bag of potatoes over the huge boxes of produce she was unpacking. Luckily I didn’t need meat, as there was virtually nothing available. I picked up a loaf of bread and headed to the paper products.

And there a young man was trying to defend a pallet of toilet paper that he was pulling down the aisle. When I got there he had stopped trying to move it to the other end of the aisle where the empty toilet paper shelves waited. He stood in the center of the aisle passing out one package to each person, apologizing that he couldn’t give us more.

I waited in line to get my package, smiled sympathetically at him and headed to the checkout. I’m sure when he took the job at Kroger stocking shelves, he had no idea he’d be in a position where he’d have to ration toilet paper to crazed customers.

I thought I’d try to find one additional package, figuring that 12 rolls wouldn’t last a family of five very long. I pulled into Walgreens, noting the empty parking lot but not thinking about it. It was about 7:30. Walking up to the door I noted a handwritten sign that said their new hours were 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.


Back in the car I headed across the street to a local grocery store. I was the second car in the parking lot. Smarter now, I looked their hours up on my phone before I ventured out into the cold. They opened at 8. Should I go somewhere else? Or stay there and wait the almost 30 minutes.

I waited. By 7:55 there were close to 30 cars in the lot, engines running, anxious people peering at the employees inside who were running around trying to get ready. At 7:58 we all exited our vehicles and lined up at the two doors.

Darn, they opened the other door first. When our door was opened we trotted in. I skipped the cart and went straight for paper products. There I found a crowd of people sorting through the few packages of toilet paper on the shelf. The guy ahead of me said he figured he’d take two, grabbed those and turned around to see me glaring at him. “I just need one” I said. He smiled and handed one of his over. I smiled back at him.

I think I was the first person back to the checkout lane, where an already weary cashier was waiting. “And so it starts,” I said. She smiled and rang me up. Triumphant, I walked back to the car, nodding to the people headed in. I know what they were thinking when they saw me leaving the store with one package.

At 8:03 I’m pretty sure there was no more toilet paper left on the shelf.


I hope all of you have enough of what you need. Stay home. Stay safe. It’s crazy out there.

Mama, I’m worried. Do you have enough dog food?

Author: dawnkinster

I'm a long time banker having worked in banks since the age of 17. I took a break when I turned 50 and went back to school. I graduated right when the economy took a turn for the worst and after a year of library work found myself unemployed. I was lucky that my previous bank employer wanted me back. So here I am again, a long time banker. Change is hard.

32 thoughts on “The toilet paper odyssey

  1. That was how it was at Sam’s Club this week. I told one guy I would watch his cart (it was loaded down with packages of meat), if he would score me a box of TP. He was more than happy. At our local WalMart, they had a policeman guarding the TP aisle, with instructions that no one (no one!) was to make a move until the clerk had stocked all the TP from pallet to shelves. Sigh. This is what we have become….. I also stocked up on kitty food, litter and litter bags…..inside cats, you know. Be safe on your walks with the Princess, Dawn.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I do feel badly for the people who really need it. I did not hoard TP but I am worried that when we run out we will have to resort to a wash cloth. Not a bad solution when you think about it. Better for the environment if you have a lot of facecloths and you can rinse them out and throw them in with the regular laundry.


  3. I have enough TP for awhile, given that I lucked out with 2 packages last week. But geez this is insane! And there is no actual shortage, just people acting bananas 🍌


    • I know. We have enough now too, because we had a couple of small packages from before. But I can see how panic happens, you’re in the store and there’s nothing…and you worry that when you do run out there will still be nothing…so when you see some you grab it even though you don’t need it and the result is that there is nothing when the next person goes down the aisle. Self fulfilling prophecy.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. TP seems to be a commodity in North America. Where I cam from, it’s unheard off. We rinse with water, use soap, rinse some more. Wash our hands. If no water, use newspaper.


  5. Actually early in the morning is NOT when the trucks come in. I found toilet paper at 2 different places……..Walgreen’s (their truck comes in after 9am) and my husband went to one of the SMALLER markets …and found some….the store had enough on it’s shelves. I am finding that going to Kroger and the big name stores aren’t the answer, think outside of the box and hit the smaller markets……….and………the new items are never on the shelves that early in the morning (just from my personal experience). Stay safe and healthy!


    • WHen I was out the Walgreen’s truck was unloading at 8 a.m. They opened at 9. I agree about going to the smaller markets…though I don’t have any small markets near me…other than liquor stores…don’t know if they stock paper products.


  6. I’m reading about your TP drama here and elsewhere, but so far that’s not our story. Glad you got what you needed. This is all so insane.


  7. I’m worried, too, Katie girl, about kibbles and TP. Hang in there – SURELY this is a blip and will pass once people realize that the supply chain ain’t broken!


  8. Crazy days for sure!! Glad you found what you did. We don’t hoard, can’t figure out everyone’s mental reasoning behind this craziness! We are all in the USA, why on Earth would we run out of anything? Crazy! Thanks for sharing ❤️ stay safe out there! 🥰


  9. It’s like a story out of Russia in the 80s. The world has gone crazy. And do the people that bought pallets of TP feel guilty now? I wonder.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I keep reminding myself that at least I don’t have to stand in line every day to get a loaf of bread to feed my family, like so many did during WWII. And during other periods of unrest across the world.


  10. Crazy times these are. I did that with bottled water last week. Went store to store and managed to get 3 cases.


  11. Excuse me, but I thought coronavirus was a respiratory disease. How does hoarding TP help unless your family has a stomach bug?? I can’t fathom why paper products are flying off the shelves, but they are here, too. I went to the grocery yesterday, and the entire paper products aisle was empty! I figured I’d grab a few cans of staples — tuna, fruit, bread, and milk — then race outta there! Katie, hang in, Princess — your people have got this!


  12. Congrats on scoring TP! I normally buy 2-3 large packages at a time even though I live alone because it’s cheaper and I never worry about running out. But I exhausted my old supply just as the TP insanity hit. I’ve been getting by with horribly overpriced four-packs from convenience stores. But hey, at least I have some.

    The other big grocery impact is that it is impossible to get grocery home delivery, or even the order ahead online and pick up at the store service. They are booked full up and I think you’d have to check back every hour to have any chance of getting a time slot a week or two out.

    I can muddle along fine, was just hoping to avoid people in the store. But I’m worried about disabled people who depend on grocery delivery in their everyday lives and now can’t get it.


    • We usually buy 1 big package every few months. But we got low, had 8 rolls left total…and we didn’t realize this was going to be so weird…so we got down to 4 rolls before we found a couple small packages…now we’re back up to about 16 rolls and I feel fine. Still…not looking forward to finding it when we need it again. Hopefully by then people will get smart but I doubt it.


  13. Way to persevere – that’s so kind of you to shop for the family of 5! So far we’re good on the TP front – we’ve the same types of scenes at our local stores too. It’s crazy and it does make me wonder. I have learned how to use 1/2 the TP I used to by being creative with the folding of just two sheets. It has become a way to persevere with a tiny bladder syndrome. TMI?! 😉


  14. I’m good for toilet paper for awhile, food too but I’ve decided I will go out either Wed or Thursday and do some grocery shopping. If I find any TP, I’m buying a package. I figure, I don’t need to hoard but I probably do need to have a bit of a reserve.


    • I’m going out Wednesday too, and if I see a package I’m buying one. Even though we’re not totally out yet. I think buying 1 every other week or so should be fine. If everyone did that it would be way better.


  15. It’s a crazy world, lately. We had empty shelves here, too. Not sure what it’s like now. Maybe much the same, given that the people who are hoarding keep coming back to clear the shelves. Or maybe not. Maybe the stores here have finally started rationing.


    • When I went out looking for TP the Kroger store would only let me have one package. So maybe they are catching on and only letting some items go one per family. But if no one was standing there I’m sure people would (and have) ignored the sign.


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