In my short lifetime, I have heard more than one perfectly sensible person tell me they “can’t do” cheap toilet paper.
I don’t know why people tell me these things. It’s like they want me to cry out to Father Dagon and Mother Hydra and bid them raise an army of Deep Ones from the many-columned depths of Y’ha-nthlei to sweep over the land and drown the humans in a cosmic flood as recompense for their innumerable and unpardonable follies!
Cheap toilet paper vs. pricey toilet paper
The average price per square foot of single-ply toilet paper is less than $0.01. The average price per square foot of quilted three-ply toilet paper is closer to $0.03. You have the option to pay three times less for something utterly disposable! Why would you not take that option?
If you think of quilted toilet paper as a small luxury, you are bad at thinking and should be punished. If you are willing to pay three times the cost of a basic product for the sake of a luxury, skip the graying $6 steak on sale at the supermarket and go get an $18 marbled beauty from your local butcher. Savor the two-hour process of cooking your dinner and eating it slowly while conversing with a dear friend. Do not—DO NOT—waste the money you earned exchanging a sliver of your one and only lifetime on the paper you will use to swab up the steak on its way back out of your body.
“Oooh, but cheap toilet paper is soooooo scraaaatchy!”
Do you have hemorrhoids? Or some kind of dire anal sex injury? Are you cursed with crippling daily diarrhea? Are you getting rimmed tonight for the first time, and you haven’t yet worked through your sense of ass-to-mouth shame? Is some force in heaven or hell moving you to frenetically sand-blast your cornhole until it shines like polished marble??
… Or are you swiping it thrice across your butthole, immediately throwing it in the shit can, and flushing it away into infinity in a process that takes about three seconds total? You know, like a regular person?
Thomas Paine was right. These really ARE the times that try men’s souls.
“But it’s toooooooo thinnnnnn. I need at least two-pllllyyyyy!”
Internet sleuths have discovered a truly ingenious life hack to tackle this very problem.
First, you take a length of single-ply cheap toilet paper. Then you fold it in half. (I know it’s getting complicated! Hang on, we’re almost there!)
Somehow, some way, through some unknowable miracle of science, you now have two-ply toilet paper.
Why doesn’t everyone know this one cool trick? One word: Monsanto.
“But it’s less absorbeeeennnnt and I end up using morrrrre!”
Ah, this may be true. But consider that if septic systems had mouths, they would smile at you for giving them such an easily digestible treat. (And that would be terrifying.)
Perhaps you are still a footloose and fancy-free tampon-flushing renter, and you have never experienced the sting (stink?) of a clogged toilet. The average reported cost of a visit from a plumber for the purpose of repairing a toilet is $191. Reflect upon that fact as you read this classic poem by John Donne:
No pipe is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every pipe is a piece of the septic system,
A part of the main.
If a little rubber washer be washed away by the sea,
Your apartment is the less.
As well as if a couch were.
As well as if a refrigerator of thy friend’s
Or of thine own were:
Any man’s clog diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the toilet clogs;
It clogs for thee.
“Toilet paper that isn’t white is weeeeeiiird, it’s already brown like poooooooop!”
YOU’RE ALREADY BROWN LIKE POOP.
No one’s life is so devoid of problems that they can afford a color preference on the pulverized wood chips they use to remove feces from their anus.
It is impossible for us to live our lives without disrupting the environment of the planet we live on. Simply the act of trying can be incredibly draining. But if there is an easy, painless decision we can make—as a people—that will lessen that impact without eroding our quality of life, it is indefensible to choose the more destructive option. And luxury brands of toilet paper, of all things, have become incredibly destructive.
For the privilege of a once-daily three-second pillowy-soft swish across your glorious anus, 98% of your toilet paper must be harvested from virgin trees. Their longer fibers trap more air, which is artificially injected to create a sensation of cushioning. Yeah. As a result, American toilet paper a horrendous carbon footprint. Manufacturers then use chlorine to bleach the wood fibers, and formaldehyde (a well-documented carcinogen) to increase absorbency.
Even if you don’t give a shit about the massive consequences this has for the environment, consider that colorectal cancer almost killed my mother at the ripe old age of 52, and she ain’t alone.
I’m absolutely not saying plush toilet paper was the culprit. But it adds another dimension of practicality to buying cheap toilet paper. Avoid smearing unnecessary, costly chemicals on a sensitive body part because a commercial tricked you into thinking you’ve earned it.
“It’s only toilet paperrrrr, why be stinnnnnggyyyyy?”
Look, some things truly are necessities. The human condition locks us into certain purchases throughout our lifetimes.
Unless something truly extraordinary occurs, you are locked into paying for food, housing, and some general necessities—including toilet paper—until the day you die. In all likelihood, you will spend thousands of dollars on toilet paper to smear the crap off your poop chute as you rotate around our solar system 70 or 80 some-odd times. It may be a small expense, but it adds up. And you have only so many dollars to spend in your lifetime—aren’t there things you want more?
Marketers frame froufrou toilet paper as both a luxury and a necessity. Only one of those things is true. And this statement extends to an enormous array of products marketed to you every single day. Passing over the unnecessary-yet-affordable luxury is excellent practice in choosing how to place your luxury dollars thoughtfully, in a way that will maximize your freedom and happiness.
“But I miss the little paisley daiiiiisy patterns stitched into the quiltiiiinnnng!”
Me too. Truly, only we know the weight of sacrifice.
Here’s more of our curmudgeonly advice on saving money: