Last week, my kids made fun of me for having plenty of TP in the house, and made fun of other shoppers for buying lots of TP. I suggested to them that, with more people at home, we’d probably go through a lot more TP and other essentials, and that with store supplies uncertain, they should learn to understand why I, and other shoppers, might be particularly concerned about the rising demand for this essential household item.


So I had them count the stock of TP in our bathrooms. We had 16 rolls, or 4 rolls for every member of the house.


We recounted today, and we have 12 rolls, so we have used a mathematically tidy one roll per person in a week. That suggests to us that, if nothing changes, we should be stocked for another 3 weeks, and should start thinking about the need to restock in two, unless stores have recovered by then.


It also suggests, given my youngest kid’s estimate that we’d use “like one roll for the whole house in a week” that the person who does the shopping probably knows best.


If you’d like your class or your family to inquire into the supply and demand issues of TP a little more thoroughly, please see the brand-new Toilet Paper Wars lesson plan at Adam Smith Works!