Monday, March 30, 2020

The Toilet Paper Shortage of The 1970's.

Toilet Paper, Sold OutDue to the Coronavirus, many people swarmed the stores, stockpiling essentials such as disinfectant wipes, paper towels, and toilet paper.  Even Amazon, Walmart, and other online folks have sold out and are finding it hard to restock shelves.

This is not the first time parts of the country have weathered a toilet paper shortage.  If you lived in Hawaii back in the early 1970's you are familiar with this shortage.  If not, yours occurred a bit later.

Back in 1971, dockworkers on the west coast went on strike.  This meant nothing came in or out. Unfortunately for those who lived in Hawaii, this was a major issue because most everything is shipped in for use including most processed foods, gas, clothing, and electronics.

The strike shut down every port along the west coast and was due to the offered contract not being good enough for the workers.  In Hawaii, there are stories of people going out to restaurants and bars to steal toilet paper from their bathrooms so these places assigned one person to give out a few pieces of toilet paper to each person going to use their facilities.

There are other stories of fancy hotels finding their toilet paper disappearing and in response they hired  security guards to protect their supplies.  Of course for some, rolls of toilet paper because the standard housewarming gifts.  Even radio stations got in on this. When they played a certain song, the fist caller would win a roll and the roll was delivered in a Rolls Royce.  Talk about fancy. The strike lasted for 134 days while they waited for strike to end and supplies to arrive. After this event, many people built a closet to store toilet paper in so if it every happened again, they'd be prepared.

Then in 1973, during the massive gas embargo where people waited in lines for hours, Johnny Carson is said to have made a joke that caused people to panic buy enough toilet paper to wipe out supplies in the stores.  Apparently, a congressman from Wisconsin commented that the United States was falling behind on supplying toilet paper consequently there might be a shortage in a few months.  Carson's writers decided to create a joke based on that which he told on his show.

The next morning, his watchers headed over to the stores to stockpile toilet paper in preparation for the "imminent" shortage and they bought every roll their local stores had leading to a major shortage. Although Carson later assured people it was just a joke and untrue, people continued to panic because the stores had empty shelves.

Hope you enjoyed learning about two other toilet paper shortages.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

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