Most supermarkets recently implemented rules limiting some sales to customers. The main one has been the 1 pack of toilet paper per customer.
This has been brought about due to some people going in first thing in the mornings and emptying the shelves, often within 30 minutes of the store opening.
For a while now, I haven’t seen any toilet paper on the shelves as I normally go on in after midday.
The “rationing” appears to have worked. Toilet rolls are back.
Over the last few days I have visited a few supermarkets, ALDI, IGA, Coles, Woolworths, and Big W.
The stocks on the shelves seem to be getting bigger, as I noticed when going to the stores recently.
On the 11th March, I was in Big W and they had some Kleenex 45 roll packs on the shelves at just after midday (12:45). Then I was in IGA at about 2pm, and they had some smaller packs, (4 rolls per pack).
Big W, at about Midday on the 11th March 2020, even had some of these left: Emporia 3 ply toilet paper, 36 roll pack at 20% off, for $12.00. But again, only 1 pack per customer.
Why was there a Toilet Roll shortage?.
People heard about the problem with Toilet Roll shortages in Hong Kong in February, and some decided to stock up just in case the same thing happened in Australia.
There were many photos in the media, facebook etc., showing some customers with multiple packs of toilet paper in their shopping trolleys. Some people were buying in excess of 200 rolls of toilet paper at a time.
When you consider that a normal sale might be 8 rolls at a time, each of the above panic buying customers is equal to 25 normal customers.
10 Panic buyers might therefore be the equivalent to 250 normal customers. That could take out the entire days stock in 30 minutes.
The stores only holds a certain amount of stock based on normal sales patterns, they have little room to store larger quantities, and often rely on overnight deliveries to refill shelves each morning.
The change from 4 packs per customer down to 1 pack.
On the 8th March 2020, Woolworths and Coles sent out messages similar to this, to their regular customers:
Following the unprecedented demand for toilet paper we reluctantly introduced a temporary 4 pack limit last week. Unfortunately, many stores are still selling out within an hour of delivery.
1 PACK LIMIT PER CUSTOMER PER SHOP
We have therefore made the decision to change the limit to 1 pack per customer so that toilet paper is available for more of our customers, particularly the elderly and people who are unable to purchase in large volumes.
We have asked our suppliers to focus on increasing production of larger pack sizes and we are prioritising the delivery of these packs to our stores, as a pack of 30 rolls should last an average family for around 3 weeks.
So now, no-one can go in and buy up massive quantities. This leaves stock for the rest of us who shop later in the day.
I thank the stores that have implemented this 1 pack per customer rule.
I am also impressed by Woolworths, who decided to supply 4 roll packs of toilet paper to Meals On Wheels, to distribute to the elderly who rely on their meals being delivered by the Meals on Wheels charity.