There’s plenty of toilet paper in the US — so why are people hoarding it?

By Jay Zagorsky for The Conversation

Image for post
Image for post
Almost 150 U.S. companies make toilet paper. Studio Dagdagaz/

Past panics

This wouldn’t be the first panic over toilet paper.

Elaine learns the value of toilet paper hoarding.

100 rolls a year

The average person in the U.S. uses about 100 rolls of toilet paper each year. If most of it came from China, this could be a huge problem because supply chains from that country have been severely disrupted as a result of COVID-19.

Why people hoard

So then why would people hoard a product that is abundant?

Image for post
Image for post
Shoppers have been stockpiling toilet paper and other household items over fears COVID-19 will cause shortages. Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

How to handle shortages

There are a number of ways to handle shortages, including those caused by hoarding.

Written by

Cutting-edge research and commentary out of Boston University, home to Nobel laureates, Pulitzer winners and Guggenheim Scholars. Find an expert:

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store