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The Great Toilet Paper Caper

Toilet paper

It's so beautiful.

CLINTON — Shelves once flush with bathroom tissue now sit bare.

Like an increasingly endangered species, the consumer good seems to have vanished right before our eyes.

But where did it all go?

I know: It's at Bill's house and Fred's house!

Well, maybe. But based on a copious amount of time at Google University, it sounds as though the situation is more complicated.

With so many workplaces closed and office workers telecommuting, we have fundamentally changed where we go to the john.

While watching a rerun of "Family Feud" — my wife has rediscovered her love of game shows and we apparently now get the Game Show Network — one of the show's unscientific surveys had a startling result: people relieve themselves at work as often as three times a day.

That's not the only place we do it. People use the restroom at stores and schools, in restaurants — it's like we've surrounded our modern lives with toilets!

Now, a lot of us aren't visiting the little boy's or girl's room outside of the house.

What does all of that have to do with toilet paper?

Well, what you buy at the store for your home supply is very different from what you wipe with in public. And it's not just that some come on giant rolls.

The fibers that businesses provide to their customers are far more — ahem — utilitarian than what you pick up at Walmart. They are also packaged for bulk sale and are distributed through a network unlikely to reach your nearest grocery.

It takes time to change how much homestyle paper is produced and manufacturers haven't been able to catch up with the shift in demand.

Yes, there absolutely is panic buying, too. That so many people rushed to the store when shelves were starting to empty made the situation worse. But that's not at the core of what we're seeing.

Now can someone toss me a loaner roll? I gotta go.

Contact Assistant Editor Matthew Hensley at mhensley@indexjournal.com or on Twitter @IJMattHensley.

About this blog

From telecommuting to the new public home school model, a growing number of us are homebound for the foreseeable future as we take unprecedented steps to slow and hopefully stop the spread of the new coronavirus that is sweeping the world. This blog is our attempt to catalog some of the daily changes we are experiencing together. If you want to share your story with us, email us at newsroom@indexjournal.com.

COVID-19

LATEST DEVELOPMENTS

On Sunday, the Palmetto State recorded its highest number of new COVID-19 cases in nearly two months as the nation is seeing its highest number of daily new cases.

State health officials reported 628 new confirmed cases and 57 new probable cases of the novel coronavirus on Saturday, as well as 14 additional confirmed deaths and two new probable deaths.

State health officials reported 784 new confirmed cases and 83 new probable cases of the novel coronavirus on Friday, as well as 18 additional confirmed deaths and 5 new probable deaths.

State health officials reported 921 new confirmed cases and 79 new probable cases of the novel coronavirus on Thursday, as well as 40 additional confirmed deaths and 10 new probable deaths.

State health officials reported 686 new confirmed cases and 86 new probable cases of the novel coronavirus on Wednesday, along with 11 additional confirmed deaths and 1 new probable death.

State health officials reported 666 new confirmed cases and 66 new probable cases of the novel coronavirus on Tuesday, along with 25 additional confirmed deaths and 10 new probable deaths.