If I had a Nickel for Everytime I Bought Toilet Paper, I’d have a Dollar

I like online shopping.

No line ups, no changing rooms. No-helium voices from outside the dressing room, knocking eighteen times to ask, “Are you doing okay in there?”

Next time a retail associate does that, I’m answering in a male voice.

Of course, not everything can be ordered online. There’s grocery shopping. However, when I’m running late, too engrossed in work, or just not feeling peopley – the Interlake (Arborg) Coop delivers. Just groceries though. They tend to frown on the, “a four litre of milk, Nabob decaf, oh, and can you also stop by the post office and pick up my mail,” request.
But imagine my horror last week when I forgot to order an item. I double checked Coop’s pick list. Three times.

Toilet paper. I forgot to mention toilet paper.

I despise buying toilet paper. I’m not embarrassed about purchasing what’s meant for a natural process. I mean, I don’t cringe when I buy pads or condoms. Except years ago at Shoppers Drug Mart when I bought condoms, and the cashier told me to have a good night. Awkward.

But there’s something about toilet paper. You saw CBC’s Comedy Tuesday’s. Where Rick Mercer buys a mega package of toilet paper from Kim’s Convenience, and Mercer hears the horrid words, “That’s lots of toilet paper. Are you okay?”

When I’m in Walmart, I can bury toilet paper with other items. Tossing paper towels and gluten-free bread on top. No one sees this! But you can’t escape in a small town.

In a small town, when someone places all natural food on the conveyor belt, you notice. You wonder, what do you eat for fun? Free range tofu? That “ten jars of jam” person? Are they stocking up for an apocalypse, or do they really like toast and jam? I know what someone’s thinking when they see a can of bean medley and toilet paper teetering their way. I saw that raised eyebrow, person in front of me.

I tried to sell my case to someone:

Imagine: A woman walks into a grocery store. She’s attractive. She’s alluring. Think Audrey Hepburn. In a black Donna Karan suit and matching Jimmy Choos. She leaves the store. With toilet paper. Just toilet paper. Four bags of Purex. Two under each arm as she sashays to her Fiat. No dice.

And that’s how I tried to convince my future ex-husband to come to Arborg and save me the embarrassment of buying toilet paper. He’s so off the St. Patrick’s Day card list.

I had zero choice. November, 2017. I waltzed into Coop in jeans and a black sweater. Not exactly a Donna Karan suit, but I was wearing Anne Klein equestrian boots. I felt like Joey Jeremiah, from Degrassi Junior High, in the episode where he was subtlety purchasing condoms. I piled bananas, oranges, celery, carrots into my cart. Gluten free pasta’s on sale? I’ll take them all. To cover up the impending TP scandal. Campbell’s Broth is gluten-free! I’ll take four!

This was the first package I bought in over a year, staying with the usual brand.

When I swooped into the toilet paper aisle, I hung my head. Toilet paper was on sale. For a really, really, really good price. I looked left, I looked right. I grabbed two packages of Purex, setting one on the floor as I positioned the other in my cart and snapped a photo as proof. Ha, ha, future ex-husband. I can buy my own toilet paper. I’m a big girl, and I sashayed to the till.

I proudly placed the package of Purex on the conveyor belt, watching it zoom to the cashier. Heck, yeah, I was proud. I conquered a fear. Of buying toilet paper. Irrational? Possibly. However, some people are afraid of spiders. Is that irrational? No. Ergo, neither is a fear of buying toilet paper.

As I unpacked the car, there was a nagging feeling I forgot something.

The groceries were tucked neatly in the cupboard, and I started to load up the toilet paper drawer. Yes, I have a drawer for toilet paper. That’s when it hit me.

Damn. I forgot that other package of Purex. On the floor at Coop.

I bought my next package of toilet paper at Walmart.

I couldn’t go through that again.


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