By Dio Alexander | Lynnwood Times Contributor

They say the sequel is sometimes better than the original. Whether it’s The Empire Strikes Back to the original Star Wars or The Dark Knight to Batman Begins, there’s a lot of anecdotal evidence for this claim.

The sequel to spring’s Great Toilet Paper Run of 2020 could give those films a run for their money.

On the heels of Governor Jay Inslee’s new restrictions on holidays family gatherings, grocery stores experienced a steep uptick in toilet paper sales. When the coronavirus hit earlier this year, local residents made a mad dash to supermarkets, clearing store shelves of hand sanitizer, gloves, water packs, paper towels and yes, even toilet paper. 

Gov. Inslee’s four-week guidelines placed restrictions on indoor gatherings and limited retail stores to 25% indoor capacity. They also closed food courts so you can forget about eating those deli potato wedges while shopping.

Inslee encouraged residents not to hoard supplies although Washingtonians’ dedication to following his new restrictions seem pretty lackluster.

“Buying up everything really hurts everybody,” Inslee said, “and there’s no necessity of it right now.”

You’d think that in an area as vast as the Puget Sound with its progressive social values that there wouldn’t be a toilet paper drought since you know… sharing is caring. We’re all taught from an early age that selfishly hoarding items during a shortage crisis isn’t a nice thing to do.

It turns out, from the scores of pictures online that many are drowning in toilet paper, some even fiending over it like Gollum to that precious ring!

According to the new restrictions, you can’t have guests over this holiday season so you might as well reserve the Thanksgiving seat of honor for a 36-pack of toilet paper. Talk about something to be thankful for!

Charmin, a major toilet paper company, said in a November 11 press release that they will continue to produce and ship their products 24/7. 

“Yet, still today, consumers are purchasing at record levels.” 

Even in a year like 2020, consumers buying toilet paper at “record levels” (again) doesn’t seem that far-fetched.

This go around, 21% of paper products like toilet paper and paper towels were out of stock during the week ending November 15 according to Information Resources Inc., a national market research firm. In a typical period, around 5% of those products are out of stock. 

Local Kroger affiliates Fred Meyer and QFC allow customers to purchase a maximum of two items each of paper towels, disinfecting wipes and hand soap. 

Not to mention…you guessed it…toilet paper!

Walmart CEO Doug McMillon claimed that Walmart is better prepared to handle this season’s cannonball run by consumers and will not order toilet paper rationing at stores. McMillon offered words of encouragement to consumers who are stressing over if buying that eighth pack of toilet paper might be overkill. 

“It feels to me like we’ll work through this period of time better than we did in the first wave,” McMillon said.

Especially if you stock up on toilet paper. Then everything will be ok. Nothing else matters besides that last pack of toilet paper you snatched from that poor sap with the limp. He didn’t really need it, you tell yourself. He just wasn’t fast enough.

And hey, at least you got your toilet paper!

Probably not at Wal-Mart, though. Already the corporate giant reports that, despite building up their toilet paper stock since this year’s earlier run on toilet paper, they are once again reporting that stores in areas with case spikes are experiencing empty shelf syndrome.    

Then again, sometimes the sequel falls flatter than 1994’s Leprechaun 2. Only time will tell whether this holiday season’s sequel to spring’s Great Toilet Paper Run of 2020 is akin to box-office smash Terminator 2: Judgement Day, or if this sequel peters out like Speed 2: Cruise Control.

Stay tuned, folks.

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