Wednesday being the pay day, on receiving my fortnightly pay, I decided to shop earlier than usual to solve the mystery of the missing toilet paper rolls from the shopping aisles in Coles as I had not seen one for more than a month. Every time I visited Coles for an item or few things I had run out, after work, it was disheartening to see the vacant racks in the aisles meant for toilet rolls, paper towels and flushable wipes. Left with no other alternative, I grabbed a few facial cleansing wipes and baby wipes to help me through the non-toilet paper crisis. My son substituted water with toilet rolls as he despised wipes and preferred the old fashioned way.
Eager to fill the fridge with food items necessary for a fortnight, I proceeded with caution after cleaning the shopping trolley’s handle and my hands with cleansing wipes. I carry one in my handbag since the outbreak of corona virus. I had just finished cruising through two aisles when I noticed a lady with a 6 roll toilet pack and another with paper towels. I steered my trolley and moved swiftly as a racer would do so on a race track and came to a halt before the toilet roll section. I was surprised to find many stacked neatly on the racks and knowing the rule of one pack per person, I picked just one. Life was beautiful again. My eyes roamed to the price tag and I could feel the blood pressure rise in me. Gone are the days when we used to pay $10 for 12-18 rolls toilet pack. My happiness gave way to dismay when I realised that I would have to pay $12 for 6 rolls toilet pack.
I had not imagined in my wildest dreams that a roll of paper would gain such significance in my life. Since I harboured a fighting spirit in me, my son warned me almost a month and a half ago to steer clear from any dissensions no matter what the reason was. I cast him a curious glance, reassured him and, on returning from the shopping errand, asked him why he commanded me to stay away from troublemakers. To which query, he informed me about fights happening in shopping malls, especially for toilet rolls. As we had a few rolls left from our previous purchase of 24 rolls toilet pack, I laughed and said in an off-handed manner that it was not such an emergency situation. Little did I know that it would take almost sixty days to see another toilet roll. I had access to toilet rolls at my workplace as the DOE/government equipped educational institutions with all sorts of cleaning supplies. Although I have no inclination to investigate what caused the unrealistic shortage of toilet rolls, it is not hard to put the finger on panic attack. Either that or greedy individuals hoarded it to sell it for double the money.
I just learnt a valuable lesson from this experience; never to take the accustomed luxuries for granted. COVID-19 did bring out the survival skills in us.