Psychologists Give Rationale for the Run On Toilet Paper
"Toilet paper is sort of an "icon" for panic buying in times of trouble, Dimitrios Tsivrikos of University College London tells CNBC. In times of uncertainty, people enter a panic zone that makes them irrational and completely neurotic. In this case, we have the combo of a scary new virus and buyers looking to give themselves a sense of control. In that context, shoppers are looking "for value and high volumes," he says, and those bulk packages of TP do the trick."
I can't speak for everyone, but most folks I know do want a sense of control when it comes to all matters of toilet paper. Sheesh!
The most "irrational and neurotic" among us can take heart in the fact that the U.S. imports less than 10 percent of its toilet paper, so there's no shortage and any empty shelves are just temporary as people hoard supplies.
Psychologists also say a herd mentality also kicks in during times of crises. People copy one another as they see images of empty shelves on the news. Being social creatures, we look to each other for cues for what is safe and what is dangerous so when you see someone in the store panic buying, that can become contagious in itself.
We don't need to go doomsday "prepper" in supplies and storage, but having a couple of weeks worth of essentials on hand isn't a bad idea. But do we all have to get them at the same time?