Some Stores Are Running out of Toilet Paper Again, but Don't Panic

It isn't too late to fix this.

Remember in March when coronavirus fears caused people to buy toilet paper and cleaning supplies in bulk, leading to nationwide shortages of everyday essentials? Then when we as a nation reflected on what we'd done, we realized that buying toilet paper in bulk did more harm than good? And we vowed to be better so that nobody would ever run out of toilet paper again due to others' panic?

It appears that we forgot to learn from our mistakes because, with the number of US coronavirus cases rapidly climbing, Walmart is reporting that some stores are starting to see empty shelves again.

On Tuesday, the retailer said that sharp spikes in COVID-19 cases in some areas have created a sudden demand in everyday items that caught supply chains a bit off guard. Now, cleaning supplies and paper products, like toilet paper and paper towels, are proving difficult to keep stocked.

Walmart CEO Doug McMillon reportedly believes the company is better equipped to navigate the increased demand this time around, but still felt disappointed to see how many consumable items were out of stock. Still, Walmart has not installed nationwide purchase limits, leaving it up to store managers to make those calls if they feel it's necessary.

Walmart isn't the only chain worried about shortages right now. Other large retailers like Kroger have begun putting purchase limits on items in high demand.

Geoff Freeman, president and CEO of the Consumer Brands Association, has faith that we won't see a full repeat of March, reports the Associated Press. "A more informed consumer combined with a more informed manufacturer and a more informed retailer should provide all of us with a greater sense of ease and ensure we can meet this growing demand," Freeman said.

The key words there are "informed consumer." The severe toilet paper shortages we faced early this year would have been avoidable had some people not stockpiled and depleted the supply for others. If we continue our regular buying patterns and don't panic, we can help manufacturers and retailers provide essential supplies for everyone. Next time you start to grab more than you need, remember that.

MORE: Grocery Stores Are Worried About Food Shortages Again

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Kyler Alvord is a news writer at Thrillist. Find him on Twitter and Instagram. Or don't. It's really up to you.