adventures from the homefront, COVID-19 edition, episode 6: I’m a stocker, not a hoarder

I confess: I haven’t bought toilet paper in several months. I have long maintained an apocalyptic supply of toilet paper and butt wipes and sanitary pads, because one must never, ever run out of these things. 30 years of habitual stocking — NOT HOARDING — is finally paying off.

I keep some spare items in each bathroom.


There is also a mini-motherlode in one bathroom closet. It’s in the kids’ bathroom, which is why the shelf surface looks kind of gross and dirty.  Because my kids are gross and dirty, and I’ve run out of energy for keeping up.


And then I have a secret overflow stock, whose location I shall not disclose, just in case you’re planning to come over and raid me.  Heh heh heh heh.

I’m not quite at a point where I would typically restock toilet paper.  I don’t like to fall below 20 rolls in the house. Sometimes I overstock and Anthony asks me to stop buying toilet paper for a while. We were there a few months ago.  I’m hoping we can hold out until the TP-hoarding mania ends.

This habit of stocking essentials began many years ago when I first became a lawyer.  I worked 6 or 7 days a week and long hours, so there was little time for shopping; plus I hate shopping. So twice a year, Anthony and I would drive over to the nearest Target and Stock Up. That deserves capitalization because we would walk every single aisle and spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars on everything you can imagine for daily life — paper products, deodorant, basic medical supplies and meds, batteries, pens and pencils, shampoos and soaps, toothpaste and toothbrushes and mouthwash, underwear, socks, lotions, kitchen and laundry supplies, household cleaning supplies, sponges, razors, Oster kitchen machines. You name it. We would stuff the back of our little Honda Civic hatchback and drive home with the rear bumper dragging on the pavement from the load.

The up side of extreme stocking is that you don’t really run out of anything basic.  The down side is best observed through a simple anecdote: I overstocked on Anthony’s deodorant sticks so badly that we literally went 10 years — TEN YEARS — without having to buy any. By the time he got to his last stick, we had moved at least six times and to five different states, packing our deodorant inventory to come along with us each time.

I became brutally aware of the importance of steady toilet paper supplies in my senior year of college.  Anthony shared an apartment with two guys, and they ran out of toilet paper for a few days.  No one would buy more – each of them either was too lazy or was holding out. Anthony played the long game by coming over to my apartment for his daily dumps.

One afternoon Anthony and I were standing in the kitchen of their place, hanging out aimlessly like college seniors do in their down time. One of the fellows came out of the bathroom, eyed us with a smile and a satisfied sigh, and announced, “Good thing it was a clean one today.”

Hey old friend, if you’re reading this:  you know who you are.

Dear reader, may your toilet paper never run out.  And if it does, here’s wishing you a clean one. Meanwhile, my family can carry on with our high-fiber diet, because I’m a stocker, not a hoarder.



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