Tags: Coronavirus | pandemic | panic | fear | supermarket | toilet paper | hysteria

Toilet Paper Panic Solves Nothing, Just Creates Problems

empty supermarket shelves in the toilet paper aisle
(David Goldman/AP)

By    |   Sunday, 22 March 2020 10:21 AM

The unprecedented run on toilet paper is far worse than mere temporary in-store supply shortages, because it is putting stress on an industry that was already running at maximum capacity.

And, remember, no one is using more toilet paper – they are just buying more of it, unnecessarily, out of public-driven panic.

"If you ask me why everyone is grabbing toilet paper, I can't really explain it," Sellars Absorbent Materials CEO Tom Sellars told CNN Business. "It's not like we are suddenly using more of it. But the surge in demand could strain the supply chain."

Toilet paper has been the hallmark of panic buying during the coronavirus pandemic, because more and more people flood stores and buy out the bulkiest item to ship, stock, and shelve. By shear numbers, there are fewest of them available on shelves to accommodate the mad rush to paper aisles.

"Most mills are 24 hours, 7 days a week operations already," Sellars told CNN. "They are running on fixed capacity. It's not like there's an idle machine that can be cranked up to increase production.

"What I suspect is happening right now is retailers are tapping into toilet paper inventory that's sitting in their warehouses until they get more shipment from producers."

There will be problems if the coronavirus impacts the manufacturers workforce, though.

"Our supply is tight at the moment. We have over 200 employees running a 24/7 operation. So it's not a question of more staffing to increase production but how to become even more efficient," Sahil Tak, co-owner of ST Paper & Tissue, told CNN.

"What we are dealing with here is uncharted What if facilities have to shut down if workers become sick?"

And, get this, all those people stocking up needlessly in the public-driven panic are ultimately going to strain the system down the road when they do not buy toilet paper for months.

"We've all seen photos of people carrying shopping carts filled with toilet paper out of stores. They probably won't buy more for three to four months," Marcal Paper CEO Rob Baron told CNN. "There will be a demand shock, and it will again strain the system."

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Because it is putting stress on an industry that was already running at maximum capacity, the unprecedented run on toilet paper is far worse than mere temporary in-store supply shortages.
pandemic, panic, fear, supermarket, toilet paper, hysteria
362
2020-21-22
Sunday, 22 March 2020 10:21 AM
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