1. #1
    MembersZone Subscriber
    MalahatTwo7's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Loco madidus effercio in rutilus effercio.
    Posts
    12,837

    Default Of Snow Myths And Toilet Paper

    NO.. this is not quite what y'all were think'n, but maybe close:

    A Tissue Of Lies
    When Snow Is in the Forecast, It's Not Toilet Paper That's on a Roll

    By Paul Farhi Washington Post Staff Writer Tuesday, December 6, 2005;

    Let's put this whole milk-bread-and-toilet-paper myth to rest right here, right now.

    You, sitting there all comfy and warm awaiting the first blanket of white, know exactly what we're talking about. Since time and TV weather forecasts began, milk, bread and toilet paper -- MBTP -- have been the media stars of every snowstorm, cliches wrapped in plastic.

    Milk certainly qualifies. And bread, too. But toilet paper? Toilet paper doesn't really belong in the holy grocerial trinity of every snow panic.

    MBTP are supposedly what everyone runs to the store for at the first sign of a flake or flurry. More than staple commodities, they are the supposed bench marks of the region's ability to "cope" with a few inches of snow. Look! gawp the TV weather people, zooming in on denuded supermarket shelves, as if a Dupont Circle supermarket had suddenly turned into a Soviet supply depot. It's not really snowing until someone reports a run on MBTP.

    Only it might be a bit of an urban myth. Yesterday, after predictions of the season's first good storm, spokesmen for the Safeway and Giant grocery store chains said they saw plenty of evidence of hoarding and panic buying -- but no straight-to-the-top-of-the-sales-chart relationship among milk, bread and toilet paper.

    Compared with a snowless Dec. 5 a year ago, milk and bread sales roughly doubled Monday at Safeway's 100 stores throughout the mid-Atlantic region, spokesman Greg Ten Eyck said. Those two products were among the chain's best sellers, he said. Then again, so were bacon, scrapple and eggs ("People are planning big breakfasts after the snow," he said), along with fruit, water, soda, infant formula, Kool-Aid and boneless chicken breasts.

    And toilet paper? Ten Eyck checked with his company's sales department. "Toilet paper wasn't in the top 50 products" sold, he said.

    Giant spokesman Barry Scher, too, said there was nothing special about his company's MBTP index. Everything was moving briskly, he said: bread, eggs, canned goods, luncheon meats, batteries, even -- go figure -- ice cream.

    Scher is an old hand at this; he's been with Giant for 39 years. And it's always the same on snow days, he said. At the first media reports of an approaching storm, Giant starts laying in extra provisions of everything. "In Washington, people run for the hills the minute they hear about snow," he said. "They think they're going to be stuck in their house for days, and they're going to need provisions."

    The media help stoke the frenzy. "The TV people always call me and want to do an interview," he said. "I tell them to use the interview they did with me five years ago, because there's not going to be anything new about this [storm] that wasn't true about the last one."

    Even in places that get plenty of snow, there's nothing really noteworthy about toilet-paper sales. In such frosty Midwestern and Western states as Wyoming, South Dakota, Nebraska, New Mexico and Colorado, the big sellers are bread, milk, kitty litter, batteries and shovels, said Jeff Stroh, a spokesman for the Safeway division that represents that region. "Everyone can agree on bread and milk," he said, but beyond that "we don't have a top-three or -four list."

    Stroh said there's a good reason why people don't necessarily need to hoard toilet paper before a storm -- because it's usually in abundant supply around the home. Think about it, he said: You run out of a gallon of milk or a loaf of bread fairly quickly, and need to resupply at regular intervals. But toilet paper comes in humongous packages: 12-roll packs, 24-roll sizes, 48-roll monsters that could withstand a blizzard of gastrointestinal distress.

    So if just about everything moves off the shelves before it snows, why does MBTP still enjoy so much ink and airtime? Why were they so closely linked in the first place?

    It's possible that there's some kind of subliminal chromatic unity in MBTP and snow. The mind naturally links all that white stuff outside with all the white goods in the pantry. (Of course, if this were the case, you'd have to include eggs. And forget about rye, wheat or pumpernickel bread.)

    Milk and bread are certainly good to have when there's nothing left in the cupboard. Symbolically, they're easy to decode. Bread is the host, the staff of life, a palpable object of survival. Milk is a no-brainer, too -- it's the sustenance that a mother provides an infant, a biblical promise ("a land flowing with milk and honey"), a smooth and nutritious foodstuff (except for the lactose-intolerant).

    But toilet paper is harder to fit into this symbolic survival schema. It possibly represents some kind of talisman of civilization, a minimal luxury and comfort when the normal rhythms of civilization are disrupted. Think of the struggles of our hardy prairie forefathers, stuck out there on the frozen tundra, with nothing but milk, bread and the pages of the Sears, Roebuck catalogue to get them through another long winter. Not pleasant.

    On the other hand, Scotch, chocolate and a good steak are pretty good minimal luxuries, too, and you don't hear half as much about them when it snows.


    Me? I vote on the Scotch and steak theory. The other stuff can always be found somewhere, but Scotch and a good steak are hard to come by in times of "emergency"
    If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

    "I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD

    "Its not Rocket Science. Just use a LITTLE imagination." (Me)

    Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

    impossible solved cotidie. miracles postulo viginti - quattuor hora animadverto

    IACOJ member: Cheers, Play safe y'all.

  2. #2
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Jul 1999
    Location
    Flanders, NJ
    Posts
    13,537

    Default

    Let them predict 6+" of snow and then go out and try to rent good videos...especially kids videos. Gone.

  3. #3
    Forum Member
    DennisTheMenace's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Washington, DC/Northern Virginia
    Posts
    3,717

    Default

    Big snow two years ago emptied the Social-Safeway in upper Georgetown of beer by noon of the first day, i don't think they can even start selling beer before 10am........ Beer is the first indicator in this town, followed as George said, by children's videos. It is the only time DC turns into a true Beer drinkers town.
    Be for Peace, but don't be for the Enemy!
    -Big Russ

    Learn from the mistakes of others; you won't live long enough to make them all yourself.

    Quote Originally Posted by nyckftbl View Post
    LOL....dont you people have anything else to do besides b*tch about our b*tching?

  4. #4
    MembersZone Subscriber
    MalahatTwo7's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Loco madidus effercio in rutilus effercio.
    Posts
    12,837

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by DennisTheMenace
    Big snow two years ago emptied the Social-Safeway in upper Georgetown of beer by noon of the first day, i don't think they can even start selling beer before 10am........ Beer is the first indicator in this town, followed as George said, by children's videos. It is the only time DC turns into a true Beer drinkers town.

    Dennis, you in the DC area?
    If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

    "I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD

    "Its not Rocket Science. Just use a LITTLE imagination." (Me)

    Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

    impossible solved cotidie. miracles postulo viginti - quattuor hora animadverto

    IACOJ member: Cheers, Play safe y'all.

  5. #5
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Waterboro, Maine
    Posts
    520

    Default

    In my area it is batteries. You can't buy a single battery in this town after a snowy forecast. Last year, a shopper at Wally world had his cart so full of just batteries, that he had to steer it by pulling the front of the cart around the corners. In spite of the managers, and other ****ed off customers complaints, he checked out 900.00 in batteries. I couldn't believe it. Even with out the occasional idiot, batteries are the first to go.

    Oh, and scrapple sucks!
    There goes the neighborhood.

  6. #6
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Westlake, Ohio
    Posts
    451

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by GeorgeWendtCFI
    Let them predict 6+" of snow and then go out and try to rent good videos...especially kids videos. Gone.
    George, do you have wee ones at your house, or are you renting those kids videos for yourself? (You're right about the videos; I used to have a little person around, too.)

  7. #7
    Forum Member
    RyanEMVFD's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 1999
    Location
    Why? It's not like you're going to visit me! But I'm near Waco, Texas
    Posts
    2,386

    Default

    One reason we have a wide selection of Thomas the Train, Clifford the Big Red Dog and Scooby Doo. Granted our DVD player has played Thomas the Train so many times, we no longer need to put in the DVD. By the way, this is for my 3 year old son, not for me or my wife or while I'm at work.
    NREMT-P\ Reserve Volunteer Firefighter\Reserve Police Officer
    IACOJ Attack

    Experts built the Titanic, amateurs built the Ark.

  8. #8
    Forum Member
    martinm's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Northumberland, United Kingdom
    Posts
    1,156

    Default

    The only thing that we run short of over here is salt for the roads. Oh, and snow ploughs. See plently of both in April, none in January.
    United Kingdom branch, IACOJ.

  9. #9
    Forum Member
    DennisTheMenace's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Washington, DC/Northern Virginia
    Posts
    3,717

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Rossco
    Oh, and scrapple sucks!
    Better NEVER step foot in Deleware with that attitude.
    Be for Peace, but don't be for the Enemy!
    -Big Russ

    Learn from the mistakes of others; you won't live long enough to make them all yourself.

    Quote Originally Posted by nyckftbl View Post
    LOL....dont you people have anything else to do besides b*tch about our b*tching?

  10. #10
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Waterboro, Maine
    Posts
    520

    Default

    I'll take the double dose of spam, thank you.

    I have many relatives in the Allentown/Reading area, and have had to eat way too much scrapple when visiting as a kid. If it makes anyone feel better, I do like the ring bologna, and shoofly pie. I wish these were more availible up here. TW
    There goes the neighborhood.

  11. #11
    MembersZone Subscriber
    sbfdco1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    ><(((*>
    Posts
    556

    Default

    toilet paper, moutain money, I even carry it my truck! Hey you never know.
    Jim
    Firefighter/EMT
    IACOJ
    ftm-ptb-rfb-egh-ktf-dtrt!

    September 11, 2001 - NEVER FORGET!

    BETTER TO DIE ON YOUR FEET THAN LIVE ON YOUR KNEES!

  12. #12
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Jul 1999
    Location
    Flanders, NJ
    Posts
    13,537

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by kentbwj
    George, do you have wee ones at your house, or are you renting those kids videos for yourself? (You're right about the videos; I used to have a little person around, too.)
    Yeah, still have them- 8 and 10. Couple more years.

  13. #13
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Nevada, TX, U-S-A!!
    Posts
    417

    Default

    We got a little sleet today. Less than a 1/4 inch. All the business are sending employees home because of "adverse weather."

    Funny people down here.

  14. #14
    MembersZone Subscriber
    MalahatTwo7's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Loco madidus effercio in rutilus effercio.
    Posts
    12,837

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by RadRob
    We got a little sleet today. Less than a 1/4 inch. All the business are sending employees home because of "adverse weather."

    Funny people down here.
    From all accounts around here, what you describe would have caused mass exodus in this place.
    If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

    "I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD

    "Its not Rocket Science. Just use a LITTLE imagination." (Me)

    Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

    impossible solved cotidie. miracles postulo viginti - quattuor hora animadverto

    IACOJ member: Cheers, Play safe y'all.

  15. #15
    Forum Member
    nmfire's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Maryland (DC Suburb)
    Posts
    5,738

    Default

    I can never figure out why everyone runs to the store when they predict 6" of snow. They buy enough food to survive in a bomb shelter for 3 months. I've never seen such stupidity.
    • Milk goes bad after a week maybe? So they plan on drinking 4 gallons of milk in a week? Moo.
    • Bread goes stale after a certain amount of time as well. They are going to eat 10 loafs of bread in a week? Pigs.
    • All of this is bought in addition to the food they already have in the house. What makes them think they will need to triple their food intake just because it is snowing?
    • Maybe they feel they won't be able to go shopping for a long time? It's a snow storm, not an ice age. The snow falls. The plows clear the roads. You go shopping on Tuesday instead of Monday. The state is not going to shutdown for 2 weeks because it snowed.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

  16. #16
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Waterboro, Maine
    Posts
    520

    Default

    Our forecast is for 6-12 inches of snow starting in the morning.
    I'll have the radios all charged up, and that's it. Or, should I go buy Wally world out of copper tops?
    There goes the neighborhood.

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts

Log in

Click here to log in or register