back to article How many days of carefree wiping do you have left before life starts to look genuinely apocalyptic? Let's find out

The UK is in its second week of official coronavirus lockdown, though society has been collectively shitting the bed for much longer – so surely by now we've all suffered the indignity of venturing out to the supermarket only to be faced with barren shelves. The stores have attempted to bring some order to the situation – …

  1. chivo243 Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    think out of the box?

    Each time you use "the facilities" at work, take an extra portion of paper for home in your pocket. Your home reserves will suffer less.

    1. Pete B

      Re: think out of the box?

      Think most of our lot do that every time they get anything out of stores cupboard - either that or most of them must spend all day washing their hands, the number of bottles of hand cleaner that have vanished is asrounding.

      1. gerdesj Silver badge
        Childcatcher

        Re: think out of the box?

        Some bugger even nicked the top and the tail of the t in astounding.

        1. David 132 Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: think out of the box?

          It's a breakdown in law and order when even the typefaces are being assaulted. Support Your Local Serif!

          1. OssianScotland Silver badge

            Re: think out of the box?

            It was that comic, sans, who dunnit!

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
              Devil

              Re: think out of the box?

              No! I shot the Serif!

        2. Marco Fontani
          Joke

          Re: think out of the box?

          Surely that's just bad keming on the font you're using.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: think out of the box?

        Used to work with a guy that regularly stole bog roll, pens, blank disks and teabags.

        We called him "Baron von Bogroll", "Count Crapula", "The Count of Monte Arse Wipe", "The Great Shatsby", "Bog Beard", "The Bog Goblin", "The Skidmark Pimpernel" or shorthand "The Baron", "The Count", "The Goblin", "The Skid" etc.

        We couldn't prove it was him, but we knew it was him. A true legend.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: think out of the box?

          "We couldn't prove it was him, but we knew it was him."

          Be careful ... at one place I worked in the late 70s we had a guy like that. Or so we thought. Until we placed my lovingly hand-made CROMEMCO Cyclops in a spot to capture the perp red-handed. It turned out to be the guy who was spreading the rumo(u)rs that it was the first guy.

          The second guy was fired forthwith, and we had a rather hilarious beer-bust the following friday where we all took turns coming up with the biggest whopper about the first guy ... with the first guy sitting on a hastily constructed "throne" on a man-lift, looking down at all of us groveling in apology beneath him.

          40 years on, most of us are still in touch. It's funny what will unite people.

          "It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." —Samuel Langhorne Clemens

    2. Irongut Silver badge

      Re: think out of the box?

      So take a spare portion of paper from my home loo to my living room??? What?

    3. jake Silver badge

      Re: think out of the box?

      But I've worked from home for decades, and I'm hardly likely to steal from myself. Am I supposed to steal from my clients when I go on-site instead?

      1. chivo243 Silver badge

        Re: think out of the box?

        Yes! It's only what, 3 or 4 squares?

    4. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: think out of the box?

      Except work might run out before you do…

  2. Ol'Peculier
    Pint

    I went to my local Morrisons last night and can only have four of any one alcohol product, so am limited to four bottles per brand. They stock a lot of stuff I don't like, so only left with 6 bottles. Yet if I'm a Corona/Stella/Carling/Guinness etc. drinker I can buy four cases. Discrimination against real ale drinkers I say!

    It's not the end of the world, and the staff there are coping remarkably well.

    1. Andy Non Silver badge
      Coat

      You'll need to wear PPE to handle Corona.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Or better yet, don't bother. Any beer that is advertised as needing citrus to mask it's flavo(u)r must have something inherently wrong with it ... life's too short to drink nasty beer.

    2. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

      It's bizarre that one bottle of beer is the same as one bottle of wine or whisky, in this rationing scheme, but it is a bit of a first world problem.

      Plus the wine retailers are back delivering to existing customers now. And as the weather warms it's turning into lager weather anyway.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "as the weather warms"

        Not much sign of that here.

      2. Charlie Clark Silver badge
        Mushroom

        And as the weather warms it's turning into lager weather anyway.

        WTF is lager weather? If anything it would be the winter because that's the fecking bottom-fermenting yeast prefers!

        1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

          Brew it in the winter, drink it in the summer.

          Do you not prefer to drink something dark and heavy in the winter, but want something lighter in the summer? I know I do.

          Whether that's Guinness / lager, or cabernet sauvignon / pinot noir.

    3. BebopWeBop Silver badge
      Pint

      It is individual items and not collections (such as packs or boxes of wine) in our supermarket.....

      Just sayin'.

    4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "only have four of any one alcohol product"

      That explains it. Daughter is doing the shopping for us and some of her neighbours. She left the entire till-roll with our shopping this morning & it started off with 4 bottles of Chardonay.

    5. LucreLout Silver badge

      I went to my local Morrisons last night and can only have four of any one alcohol product

      I'm not a panic buyer, I wish to make that clear, but I have been hoarding Whiskey for the past 30 years and most likely have enough to see me out of this life at around 70ish. Or a week on Tuesday if I go for gold.

      My beer & lager stores are depleting fast, but I'm a long way from being unable to shave the mutt the morning after a heavy night.

    6. jake Silver badge

      It's a little late for this pseudo-emergency ...

      ... but now do all y'all see that there really is a point to homebrewing?

      1. Sandtitz Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: It's a little late for this pseudo-emergency ...

        What, no moonshine?! Ain't ya living in the boondocks and everything?

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: It's a little late for this pseudo-emergency ...

          Sonoma County isn't exactly the boondocks ... I'm not an hour's drive from San Francisco.

          No moonshine. Calvados/applejack (and I might decide to become gauche and turn some of our wine into brandy). While I've got the Feds here certifying my fledgling distillery, I'm also getting into simple ethanol fuel, which could be considered moonshine if you squint. Unfortunately, though, the .fed makes me add chemicals to every batch making it undrinkable.

    7. IceC0ld Silver badge

      I WALKED to my local shops, and there, right in front of me, in the wild, a full shelf of TP :O

      I swiftly grabbed a four pack, and headed to the tills, the man behind the desk didn't even blink as I paid and left .................... I didn't really need any, as I was in a superstore a few days back and got a pack then too, still got three rolls left too :P

      but the feeling that came over me of such guilt was weird, and now I think I know how the criminal masterminds feel when they pull off their latest capers ........................

      1. Tom 38 Silver badge

        Some of us always have to walk to the shops, plus the amount of extra space in your typical London flat doesn't give much room for hoarding. We can get about 5 days worth of food (45 meal portions) of fresh food in our fridge + freezer, and got damn lucky about 2 weeks ago and got a delivery slot booked with Asda next week.

        London top tips: corner stores have stock of the things that you need, its just damn expensive... and sometimes weird. Our current toilet paper has Raymond Brigg's The Snowman on it, every wipe has that (now literal) shit eating grin staring at you.

        ♫♫♫ We're wiping in the loo...

    8. e^iπ+1=0

      four bottles per brand.

      "only left with 6 bottles"

      Does this mean one and a half brands?

      As a countermeasure, I've found that after 6 bottles my product "fussiness" might lessen, so do consider buying some stuff you might reject if sober - you know that's not happening any time soon anyway.

  3. Andy Non Silver badge
    Joke

    To make loo roll go that bit further

    remember to use both sides.

    1. Wellyboot Silver badge

      Re: To make loo roll go that bit further

      With a simple fold thats easy to achive. (weapons grade curry or mexican dishes are not your friend at this point)

      WARNING: Actual intelligent reasoning must be applied to the viability of performing the fold prior to any attempt!

      1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

        Re: intelligent reasoning must be applied

        Then all hope is lost!

  4. Wellyboot Silver badge
    Joke

    "rare as fake tan in a Trump hotel."

    So not rare at all then?

    1. Boothy Silver badge

      Re: "rare as fake tan in a Trump hotel."

      That's what I thought!

      Would have made more sense to me if it had been "rare as a real tan in a Trump hotel.".

      1. Irongut Silver badge

        Re: "rare as fake tan in a Trump hotel."

        Or as real as a genuine white person.

        1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

          Re: "rare as fake tan in a Trump hotel."

          I would need to see a definition of 'genuine white' there.....

          I will, however, settle with a well-rewarded worker though - that would be rare.

    2. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
      Childcatcher

      Re: "rare as fake tan in a Trump hotel."

      Haven't they closed shop to protect the unwashed covidiots from themselves and the rest of us from them? According to its site, "Trump International Hotel Washington, D.C. remains open for our guests due to its designation as an essential business. The safety of our guests and employees remains our top priority... By order of the Mayor of Washington, D.C., Trump International Hotel Washington, D.C. has temporarily closed our restaurants, spa, and fitness center. In-Room Dining will remain open during this time."

      To be fair, hotels are essentially dual use in that they can be used for purely recreational purposes but also are important for people caught out of pocket by this pandemic and for those who have a legitimate and essential role to play and are forced to travel because of it. There are a varied classifications of hotels by different governments; it's a bit confusing for all involved, I think.

    3. KarMann Bronze badge
      Headmaster

      Re: "rare as fake tan in a Trump hotel."

      I took it as meaning the product used to give you a fake tan, presumably in short supply around there, rather than a person who's used it, especially without the indefinite article, 'as fake tan' not 'as a fake tan'.

  5. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge
    Go

    More importantly...

    I'm most upset. My local Co-Op has run out of Frazzles.

    I'm not sure about my life turning into version of The Road (shame about the movie eh?) but my Daughter and I are still hoping for a real life playthrough of The Last of Us.

    1. Excellentsword (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: More importantly...

      She's immune to COVID-19? GET HER!

      1. BebopWeBop Silver badge
        Mushroom

        Re: More importantly...

        Yes, I can see rednecks herding groups of people with their 'I've had COVID29' stickers and forcing them in to buy beer. A similar situation was alluded to in Wyndhams "Day of the Triffids"" - with sighted survivors, although they did ration the sighted, both for those trying to help the blinded and those trying to profit from the situation.

        1. WhiteDragon43

          Re: More importantly...

          And we have the bright green comet making an appearance this month - no Triffids around here last time I checked - sneaky buggers though as they camouflage themselves to look like rest of the vegetation.

  6. ClockworkOwl
    Boffin

    Personal habits?

    Surely, the titular calculation can only be performed by each person, with due regard to all available factors?

    If your food stash includes a lot of lentils, or curry sauce, that could seriously skew the graphs, I'm sure...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Personal habits?

      Or if you are a lady - when even walking past the bathroom seems to involve using half a roll.

      Seriously what do they do with the stuff? It takes a couple of sheets for anything other than a major discount curry mistake.

      I appreciate that the other team need to wipe up after a pee but the rate the roll goes round sounds like an aircraft carrier dropping anchor.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Personal habits?

        My guess is makeup, nose blowing, two distinct places to clean if doing a #3 combo, and the fact that wet stuff soaks through most bog roll.

        I noticed that switching to 3-ply really reduced my bog roll requirements, in part because there was less "Getting in touch with the inner self" potential, and it's just that itty bitty little more adsorbent for when it's needed.

        If I need more than an arms length in a loo session, it's probably going to require a shower and a blacklist of what I ate/drank before.

      2. Andy Non Silver badge

        Re: Personal habits?

        "the rate the roll goes round sounds like an aircraft carrier dropping anchor."

        You owe me a new keyboard ... one without coffee spilled all over it.

      3. ClockworkOwl
        Gimp

        Re: Personal habits?

        Well maybe, but I've know some "alpha male preeners" who could put an entire teenage cohort (of both sexes) to shame on the "Aircraft carrier dropping anchor" front.

        YMMV however...

        Almost as smooth skinned>

      4. Must contain letters
        Coffee/keyboard

        Re: Personal habits?

        Note to self: do not read el reg while eating.....

        1. Alan J. Wylie

          Re: Personal habits?

          Note to self: do not read el reg while eating.....

          Then never Google these two words while eating: Bristol Scale.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Personal habits?

      "If your food stash includes a lot of lentils, or curry sauce, that could seriously skew the graphs, I'm sure..."

      Or suffering from piles!

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tips and Tricks

    Ok I can't speak for all supermarkets but I can for the one I'm currently working at though I can't see the process being much different.

    Lorry Arrives > Unload > Split pallets into cages > Work cages onto shop floor. Overs (stuff that won't go on the shelf) are put either above the shelves or in the back.

    A lot of supermarkets are now holding some stock back for the morning to help key workers and pensioners so the earlier you go the better chance you have.

    If something you want is on the shelf above and do check the whole aisle on both sides ask someone that works there and they will get it down for you. Don't get it down yourself.

    Stock that is put out from a delivery requires timing. An afternoon delivery will mostly be put out by the night shift however on some occasions some stock will go out same day. Ask someone that works there when they roughly get deliveries then add 1-2 hours. If it's toilet roll you're after that comes on a pallet on it's own so you try and time it for just after the delivery has arrived and ask someone to check the back, same for nappies and the big multi can cases of alcohol. Also worth noting is that the time they give may now be wrong, deliveries where I am now arrive 1-2 hours earlier due to reduced traffic on the road.

    When asking staff to have a look in the back try not to pick a member of staff with a cage or omni (metal truck with steps to reach the shelves above). There are rules that state you can't leave a cage or omni on the shop floor unattended. Sometimes people will but you have more chance if you ask someone without one.

    If you really are desperate for yourself or a family member ask a member of staff if they could possibly put whatever it is back for you so you can collect in the future. Some will some won't.

    Also try to get a member of staff from the section you want. They are split at least where I am by frozen/chilled/produce(fruit and veg)/home and leisure/bread and ambient for everything else.

    Be polite, I can't stress this enough. I'm sure you are very pissed off at having to stand outside for up to an hour and we do understand but if you aren't polite the staff aren't going to go out of their way for you.

    Last but not least we have stock, you really don't need extra. In the last two days we've had deliveries that shame the Christmas surge. 33 pallets yesterday + the night delivery I don't see and 43 + night delivery today. Those numbers don't include frozen/chilled/produce.

    1. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Tips and Tricks

      My sympathy for supermarkets is mixed. They did little to help initially; particularly failing to ration when everyone could see the empty shelf crisis looming.

      Once panic buying was de rigour many supermarkets would rush stock out and the vultures would have it off the pallets before it made it to the shelves. A classic When it's Gone It's Gone scrapfest.

      That merely created a 'when you see it grab it, because you never know when you'll ever see it again' mentality which made things even worse. It also led to huge crowds as people tried to hit shelf stacking times.

      Since it's been 'one in, one out' and rationing it's been a lot better with shelves stocked for longer which compensates for the queuing. Sure; it's our national sport but a big part is whining about having to and that's been taken from us.

      At least I'm no longer having to put on the Naughty Nurse outfit in an effort to get in before stock runs out.

    2. Patrician

      Re: Tips and Tricks

      "Last but not least we have stock"

      It would appear that Tesco's do not, as my delivery today was sans toilet roll; out of stock.

  8. Irongut Silver badge

    > Sainsbury's last night and can confirm that pasta, bog roll and tinned beans among other unperishables are still as rare as fake tan in a Trump hotel

    Rarety of tans in hotels aside, you went to the wrong shop.

    My local shops all have plenty of bog roll and tinned beans. Not sure I would buy pasta from them (it would probably have gone out of date in 2018) but they have all the basics. The Co-Op even had freshly baked rolls after 5pm the other day, which is unheard of at that hour.

  9. _LC_ Silver badge
    Holmes

    Don't you have a shower?

    Don't you have a shower head? Get an extension. It doesn't get cleaner than that!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Don't you have a shower?

      How do you get the shit off the shower head afterwards?

      1. gerdesj Silver badge
        Coffee/keyboard

        Re: Don't you have a shower?

        Rinse it off in the toilet bowl

      2. _LC_ Silver badge

        Re: Don't you have a shower?

        There's where the extension comes in: cut off a piece and clean the head. ;-)

    2. Excellentsword (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Don't you have a shower?

      Big Bidet out in force right now.

      1. Blofeld's Cat Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Don't you have a shower?

        So in the words of the song:

        "Aha bidets are here again"...

    3. KBeee
      Joke

      Re: Don't you have a shower?

      Wire brush and Dettol cleans even better (from a very old joke)

  10. Chris G Silver badge

    Short but available

    No, not Danny Devito in a singles bar but my part of Spain. We still have some shortages to a small degree but in general even in the small supermarket in the tiny village I live closest to, there are supplies of most things including bog roll. The oddest thingbis 95% of folk are wearing masks and gloves in the shop but there is this odd small percentage who are walking around as if nothing is different. They don't bget away with it Scot free though, there are plenty who tell them to mask and glove up.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Short but available

      "there are plenty who tell them to mask and glove up"

      It's been that that unless you are actually infected, masks and gloves a useless at best and could be a cause of spreading at worst. If someone coughs or sneezes at or very near you, the germs will get in your eyes if not through the mask so there's no real protection there.wise, it's been said that the virus can survive longer on plastic/latex gloves so you personally may feel protected and safe to touch things, but if it gets on the gloves you'll be spreading more.

      Some people may feel more reassured by this sort of protection, but they need to know that it's not proper protection and comes with downsides.

      1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

        Re: Short but available

        In asia the masks are there to protecting others, not the wearer. And they reportedly work.

        1. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
          Boffin

          Re: Short but available

          In asia the masks are there to protecting others, not the wearer.

          Pretty sure that is how it works everywhere. The US CDC recommends masks for patients to prevent their spreading the disease and also lays out when they should and shouldn't be worn by healthcare workers, et cetera.

          https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/respirator-use-faq.html

  11. Blofeld's Cat Silver badge
    Holmes

    Safety hint ...

    The 16th century writer François Rabelais suggested "the neck of a goose, that is well downed" is far preferable to paper.

    If you decide to try this method, it is absolutely essential to remove the neck from the goose first.

    1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Safety hint ...

      But have you tried getting goose necks in Tesco lately? None on the shelves anywhere. Some bugger must've already purloined the lot.

      1. David 132 Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: Safety hint ...

        Try having a gander elsewhere.

  12. nematoad Silver badge
    FAIL

    Shopping hours.

    The elderly are rightfully being allowed in to some shops an hour earlier...

    Well they might be in some places but not at my local Tesco. There they open at 08:00 but the reserved time for the elderly is from 09:00 to 10:00. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. When I went there on Monday the place was full of younger people who had got in before 09:00 and a lot of the shelves were empty.

    It seems silly that Tesco have a reserved hour but it is an hour after opening time.

  13. Evil Auditor Silver badge
    Devil

    Covidiots: they may lose their jobs in the current crisis. But surely they lay ground for opening a toilet paper dealership.

    I keep my reserves as low as ever. Some years ago I had a discussion with a mild form of prepper. He truly couldn't understand why I didn't have a stockpile of tinned food and other essential supplies. Getting bored of the discussion I simply replied: I don't need to. I know where you live.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      It's the herd mentality. And we've been conditioned by the media bombardment to act even more irrationally than normal. Clever marketers from the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation (and others) are at this moment looking at best to make use of the "programmed responses" we've all developed.

      Look, the government's taking your rights away

      Yeah, it's a shame but have you since this face mask with the picture of a kitten on it? Now not only am I safe but I also look great!

  14. Legionary13

    Australian needs

    I read that Oz supermarkets are limiting shoppers to two cases of beer and twelve bottles of wine. If people are consuming that much per person per day this must require amazing levels of training.

    1. gerdesj Silver badge

      Re: Australian needs

      That's only per visit, so no need to cut down on your boozing.

  15. chivo243 Silver badge

    No mention of Elaine?

    Can't... spare.... a... square...

    https://youtu.be/Ssoyy7FrSXs?t=40

  16. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    We now know the answer to the question:-

    "What would be the most vital things to do in case of Armageddon?"

    (1) Make sure one's bum was clean.

    (2) Sanitise one's hands.

    Presumably in that order.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: We now know the answer to the question:-

      And not forgetting clean kecks in case you get run over by a bus.

  17. Danny 2 Silver badge

    Snot rags

    People used to wipe their noses on cloths that would then be washed. The same thing happened with shit rags.

    An interesting article in The Atlantic today suggests opening windows regularly. It also says you should wear a face mask for other peoples benefit. It points out face masks are in short supply, but while a surgical mask filtered 96 percent of viral particles from the air, a tea towel blocked 83 percent. So cut up your tea towels to make your own washable face masks.

  18. JetSetJim Silver badge
    Stop

    75 days worth?

    If you have 75 days of bog roll, you're a stockpiler in my book. I've got 10 rolls left (received a care package of 9 today) for a house with 3 others in, and no sign of supplies at either of the local co-op, Tesco's, Sainsbury's or even M&S

    1. Excellentsword (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: 75 days worth?

      We had bought two nine-packs before there was a confirmed case in the UK and are only just cracking open the second. Probably a twofer, missus got them.

    2. jake Silver badge

      Re: 75 days worth?

      The Wife and I usually purchase 4 18-packs of triple rolls when one of us notices it's on sale and we are low ... with "low" meaning "opened the last pack". That's well over 75 weeks worth for the pair of us. It's called being thrifty. We last stocked up just before this thing hit, so we're swimming in the stuff ... And of course the barn has it's own supply. We're probably good for a couple years at the current rate of use.

      Back in the RealWorld, we usually get through that much in about a couple months ... living in wine country means lots of house guests. Until now, of course. We've let select friends and neighbors know that we will be happy to share if needs be.

  19. tiggity Silver badge

    Huge margin of error on "average" consumption

    e.g. the classic of toilet paper

    Numbers will be way different for someone with IBS who needs lots of toilet visits per day.

    There is huge variation on toilet visits made per day and amount of sheets used per visit as large variation in individuals especially due to various health issues.

    As someone who does most of the shopping for a house that includes people with disabilities, I can say that TP usage considerably higher than the supposed average as even 1 heavy user in a household can skew the numbers a lot

  20. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge
    Gimp

    Having recently....

    Done a home stock take, the wife did food, loo roll etc. I did the essentials - beers, wines spirits. I can safely say we're good until at least the end of May. Past that I might have to start digging into the ageing beers, fancy wines/champagnes and only be down to 3 shelves of liquor rather than the usual 4 (and spares downstairs).

    Interesting to note that it assumes my beers cost next to nothing... and that 2 beers a day comes to £1.60... Anyone know where I can find beers at 80p a bottle that don't taste pre-drunk?

    On the other front, it's only perishables that we're struggling for. A small and happy outcome from all this is the wife's finally started going through her stockpile of random foodstuffs that she's been hoarding for years (I mean we had a can of mangos open the other day that went out of date 5 years ago... tasted fine in a mango lassi though). Now if only I could convince her to eat those blasted smoked kippers that have been in the freezer in various homes for at least 6 years I'd be a happier man.

    Gimp because it's the closest thing to a gas mask.

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