Ultra Mega Paper Trail

What kind of a shitshow is this country coming to, anyway?

This is the thought that I had this morning at the conclusion to a several months’ long internal diatribe of anger pointed at the marketing of household paper products. Has anyone else noticed that the paper products are getting out of hand? That you can’t even buy a “normal” sized roll of paper towels or toilet paper? You must choose between “Giant,” “Mega,” “Huge,” and the newest rendition of rolled paper ridiculous ever to clean a cartoon bear’s asshole, the “Ultra Mega” sized roll of toilet paper.

Never mind that these rolls of toilet paper DON’T ACTUALLY FIT ON THE TOILET PAPER HOLDER, never mind that the newest rendition of paper towel rolls convoke childhood memories of gas station bathrooms where the rolls of paper towels were the size of mid-west haystacks, pay NO attention to the paper man behind the curtain, folks.

Equally as appalling as the spurious size names concocted by the marketing departments of the paper manufacturers is the fact that, as a consumer, you never really know how much paper you are buying. It has recently been uncovered and widely publicized (recently by NPR, nonetheless) that while paper manufacturers are touting larger rolls, they are, in fact, selling you less paper! The cardboard centers of the paper towels and toilet paper rolls have been gradually widening over time and the rolls have been getting narrower (the historic “industry standard” for a square of toilet paper that is actually a square measuring 4.5 x 4.5 inches having shrunk slowly to the point where toilet paper rolls are now only 4 inches wide—a loss of more than 20% of the area of a square of toilet paper if my math is correct). While the rolls are taking up the same amount of space in the bottom of your shopping cart, you are, in fact, being sold more air, not more paper.

Paper towels and toilet paper are no longer marketed by showing the number of square feet or inches in a roll, but by showing a cartoon depiction of how many other dubiously modified “rolls” make up this new size of “roll”—for example, the “Gigantor” roll would be made up of three cartoon drawings of “Mega” rolls with puffy animation plus signs between them and a spectacular equal sign showing the “Gigantor” result of marketing math hell.

The true question here is whether the super sized paper clean up culture is created by our nations increased level of filth or laziness—how messy are people’s tushies? If you need an Ultra Mega roll of toilet tickets, should you consider a dietary alteration over a bathroom remodel that will accommodate a wider trundling of TP? If you have to borrow your neighbor’s truck to bring home paper towels from the store, is it time to reacquaint yourself with the concept of a rag? Or is it that we are trying to space out visits to the store to the point where we are willing to store a UHaul’s worth of paper in the eaves of our home in order to avoid shopping?

All I know is that I am going to have to take an Extra Strength Tylenol for this headache. . .

About peik

What's to say? I'm a chronic fun seeker and life marrow sucker. I live in an ancient brick house in a darling town with my perfect and tolerant husband, my two amazing teenagers (The Giant and The Ginger) and two blue Danes (Oliver and Periwinkle). A lover of obscure roadside attractions and museums of oddity, I travel, write, laugh, make friends, write letters, sometimes run, eat great food and drink good whiskey. I've never had a bad journey and every single day is my grandest adventure.
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