Why Toilet Paper?

Crystal Garza, Editor

Since the start of this crazy pandemic due to COVID-19, the world has become a little more aware of all that it needs. As quarantine continues to expand from weeks to months, people are becoming more aware of all the necessities they will eventually need if everything comes down to a full-on lockdown. 

There are basic necessities to live, of course. Those include food, shelter and water. It’s safe to say taking precautions is necessary but there are certain items in stores that are being bought too often. Corporations and grocery stores are now having to take charge of this pandemic affecting the supply of these resources. A particularly interesting toiletry that has been hard to find nowadays due to the pandemic is toilet paper. But why has toilet paper been something people are desperately in need of now? Why has the coronavirus affected its supply? and why has panic been skyrocketing? 

When looking at CNBC news, it said that “according to Paul Marsden, a consumer psychologist, at the University of the Arts London, the short answer can be found in the psychology of “retail therapy” — where we buy to manage our emotional state.” Marsden also says that “ It’s about ‘taking back control’ in a world where you feel out of control” He also says “More generally, panic buying can be understood as playing to our three fundamental psychology needs,” which are autonomy, relatedness, and competence. People are independent and want a sense of self-reliance. Autonomy explains consumers as the wanting to “self-govern.” Relatedness is having the ability to feel connected with something. As humans we strive for connection and buying supplies in which we can take control of a situation is what makes us more “connected” with a situation. It also helps when wanting to feel as if you are in control of an unforeseen circumstance. Competence is the ability to finish something successfully or perform an act with great success. 

When consumers opted to buy toilet paper, most knew it wasn’t an essential at the time, but knowing that this supply could be a way to feel in control of a situation, which is not controllable is what people want. Toilet paper spending is not due to the coronavirus, but due to panic and a need to feel more dominant than a disease.