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Top 10 Hilarious Reactions to the Toilet Paper Shortage

by Lesley Connor
fact checked by Jamie Frater

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.

Top 10 Fascinating Facts About Toilet Paper

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 effect of the coronavirus has been a worldwide 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 trolley loads of toilet paper instead of food 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 social media memes becoming funnier each day.

As shoppers around the world grapple with the unique crisis, some hilarious news stories began to surface of humorous responses to the great toilet paper crisis.

10 Sinking Supplies

Violinists perform an ode to the empty shelves of toilet paper | GMA

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.[1]

9 Toilet Paper Emergency

Shoppers charged over toilet paper brawl | Nine News Australia

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. U.S. 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.[2]


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 eBay to add a humorous note to the crisis, listing toilet paper for sale as a joke.

In Australia, an 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.[3]

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 these 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.[4]


6 Have Paper, Will Travel

Well, we all know how important it is to pack everything you need for a long trip. However, if you forget your toothpaste or deodorant, you can always pick up something at the chemist shop at your destination, right? Well, in the panic buying atmosphere that swooped in with the Coronavirus, you might be out of luck. So, on a flight from Melbourne to Japan, one Twitter user noted that another passenger prepared for all contingencies while traveling—even bringing their own toilet paper on the plane.[5]

I wonder if they had to buy this multi-pack of TP its own ticket?

10 Creative Ways We’ve Gotten Through Wartime Rationing

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.[6]


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 storeroom 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.[7]

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 consider 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 might have stayed underweight.[8]


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 miss 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.[9]

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 cutlines so readers could maximize the capacity of their emergency bog roll supply. Unfortunately the free gift didn’t come with disposal instructions.[10]

See Also: Top 10 Tips To Prepare For A New Great Depression

fact checked by Jamie Frater