In all my life, I’ve not heard that many jokes about toilet paper. However, ninety-nine percent have been within the last two weeks. I’ve lived through snowstorms where people bought out certain shelves like milk, bread, and canned goods. Now I can say I’ve been through one hurricane season and see that people buy some of those same shelves out during it too. But recently was the first time I saw every toilet paper, tissue, and paper towel isle completely stripped bare. At first, I thought they were rearranging shelving in the store, trying to muster up some clever new gimmick to get my money! I was surprised to find out they couldn’t even accept some people’s money because the store didn’t actually have the product they were looking for. It was not just one store though, but many.
Are consumers being irrational trying to get enough supplies? Since no one can answer that with absolute certainty, it of course, creates panic. When fear sets in, our rational minds take a seat and our imaginations kick in. The trouble is, we imagine the worst possible scenario. If those scenarios were to play out in real life, having supplies might not be the biggest problem. Many apocalyptic movies reveal some truth about what could happen when supplies truly become scarce. In everything that is happening, let’s not forget an extremely important thing. In industrialized societies, we are so comfortable and accustomed to having everything readily available, that we forget a substantial percentage of the world’s population lives with this unfortunate reality every single day. One positive aspect that could come from such terrible times is that we remember how fortunate we have been. When things to return to a state a normalcy, I hope you remember how fortunate you are and remember this struggle to the point that your wallet responds to the cries of those in need.
It is a little funny to see the extremes people go to. Perhaps, the jokes help us to deal with the craziness of it all. Of course, if the bottom does fall out, and people have to do creative hygiene, no one will be laughing at those who prepared themselves. My concern at that point would be the resentment of being made fun of and them saying, “Screw everyone that was unprepared.” While I do exercise caution and gather some supplies, when quantities are scarce, I take that into consideration. Whether or not people are overreacting is something we have to deal with because it affects us all when we can no longer get the supplies we need. For the extreme who are tempted to hoard, remember to try and be considerate of others too. If the need truly presents itself, my hope is that those with abundance will share with others that have nothing.
In the midst of all the jokes, it’s important to remember that people are buying out of fear. We all have some area in our lives where fear affects us more than others. We expect others to be patient with us regarding our fears but how to we react to theirs? With anger and hostility? With laughter, as we mock and put them down? Is there love in our treatment of others? How about patience and understanding? When tensions rise among people over limited supplies, things can get ugly. The number of videos about supplies flooding the internet is overwhelming. Fortunately, they are mostly just making fun of the situation. Should the scarcity continue, my hope is that people do not turn to violence. People get into fights every year, simply over a limited supply of toys. Black Friday is usually fun shopping for many but for some, it turns into a nightmare. When people can’t get what they want, trouble lies around the corner.
Remember at the root of this behavior is someone’s fear. One thing you can count on, is times like these bring out the worst in us or the best in us. The choice is ours.