I spent a good part of Tuesday, March 17 looking for toilet paper in my neighborhood –to no avail. Somehow, the coronavirus crisis has turned people in some sort of toilet paper-hoarding zombies, emptying the shelves at supermarkets, bodegas and pharmacies.
The craziness is not limited to New York City or even the US: My brother sent me a photo (below) from a Mexico City supermarket, showing people doing exactly the same thing: Hoarding toilet-paper –except supplies seem to be abundant down there (at least for now.)
I tried again one day later and this time my local bodega (PapaSito) proudly advertised that toilet paper was back, so I went in (naturally). Several rolls of toilet paper wrapped individually sat at the top of a very tall counter, one I couldn’t reach, so I asked a fellow Mexican who works there for help. Our conversation went something like this:
–Can you please pass me four of those? –I asked.
-Four? Only four? –said the man almost incredulous. –Why don’t you take more? People are coming in and getting 15-30 rolls at once…
-Because… I’m not deranged? –I replied.
My paisano cracked up upon hearing that, and then noticed I had also bought a few packs of corn tortillas.
–Well, I’d be damned if we were to run out of those! –He said pointing at my packs of Poblanitas.
I walked away thinking he was absolutely right and was happy to get back to my quarantine (not before I stopped for some other basic goods.)