Yes, Why Did People Hoard Toilet Paper?


Study: People who hoard toilet paper are just looking for a symbol of safety

by Jennifer Ouellette/arsTechnica

Back in March, we reported on the strange phenomenon of people scrambling to stockpile toilet paper as the coronavirus pandemic led to widespread adoption of shelter-in-place and social-distancing policies. Now German scientists have pinpointed a couple of key personality traits that appear to be linked to this kind of hoarding behavior, per a new paper in the journal PLOS ONE.

Consumer behavior researcher Kit Yarrow told Ars in March that toilet paper hoarding is at least partly an attempt to gain a sense of control when the world feels uncertain and dangerous. “When we feel anxious, which I think all of us do right now—it would be sort of abnormal to not feel a little anxious—the antidote to anxiety is always control,” she said. “And since we can’t really control the track of this disease, we turn to what we can control, and that’s why people are shopping. It’s like, ‘Well, I feel like I’m doing something, I feel like I’m preparing. I feel like I’m taking control of the thing I can control, which is stocking up.'”

As for why people hoarded toilet paper in particular, according to Yarrow, this kind of panic buying could be …read more:


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  1. John, the USA needs your firm ruling hand over the country! I like your criticism ))

  2. If seriously, i remember my grandmothers and granddads always had a lot of cereals, tons of matches, candles, sault, etc. But never used it. Even when it was a good life in the USSR. And my grandparents had very good education and high salaries. Later i knew that it was the inheritance of the first post war (WW2) years. Old generations always kept some essential stuff as they called it – for the black days.

  3. Of course many of the people who hoarded toilet paper did so as a reaction to seeing it disappear from stores, so whenever it was available one bought some.

    At 9 PM last night (before the stockers come out in force), my local grocery store toilet paper section was about 95% fully stocked, so at least here everyone has enough of the stuff at home.

  4. Cities are analogues of termite mounds. Inherently we all deep down know that something is very wrong with Humans living enmasse in close proximity. Imagine that the computer controlled valves in the sewerage system fail or a disaster[earthquake] causing millions of homes and apartments toilets to backflow into the house. No amount of toilet paper hoarding will save you or your house and standing in the street will wear thin very quickly.

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