Behind The (last) Toilet Paper

The coronavirus pandemic has called into question many human actions, such as hygiene, disrupting the biggest toilet paper crisis that the world has ever seen. Every country suffered from it, one at a time. But why the toilet paper was the main character when you are inside your own house and can always take a shower?


When it comes to human behavior, especially in moments of crisis, there’s always something to analyze and understand. Nobody could predict that the most desired product and best sales of February and March would be the toilet paper, people screaming at each other over the product, running to buy it, taking huge quantities, supermarkets had to put limit buys per person, crazy lines to guarantee your (ass) favorite paper. All these types of actions and reactions have something in common: selfishness.


Moments of crisis arouse impulsive actions, but are we really motivated by self-interest, even when it seems to be acts of altruism? There is a quote by Thomas Hobbes that says: “The source of every crime is some defect of the understanding; or some error in reasoning; or some sudden force of the passions.” The three outcomes mentioned by the author can actually be interpreted in the mess caused by the toilet paper and help humans understand their selfish acts.


Most governments failed to provide clear information about the virus and why self-isolation was really necessary, which resulted in a misunderstanding by people who thought they would never leave the house. An emergency crisis breaks human thoughts, leading to a deficiency of reason. And finally, the passion to live your best life comfortably, even if locked at home, is unquestionably rational.


The scenes seen around the world have proved that human beings tend to operate irrationally, exclusively in unprecedented times. However, the fight for a product may be individual, but it made us understand that the battle against COVID-19 is only worthwhile if it is carried out collectively.

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