Hunting for toilet paper shouldn’t ruin your Easter weekend.
There are now websites trying to help you track down the bathroom necessity that’s in short supply during COVID-19 closure orders.
TP Tracking Websites
Costco97.com, a blog that highlights clearance items at Costcos across the country, launched a “TP Tracker” so users can share what locations have which products in stock. The site is not affiliated with Costco.
The three Fresno area Costcos are included and the tracker notes whether or not each store currently has toilet paper, paper towels, water, rice, diapers, disinfecting wipes, or Lysol.
Other online resources such as Nowinstock.net, and Zoolert.com, keep track of store inventory and can help guide you to online stores that have the items you need and avoid the shops with bare shelves.
Zoolert lets you get a quick snapshot of what might be available to order online. If you can’t find toilet paper available now, you can sign up for alerts.
Here is how Zoolert describes its toilet paper tracking system:
Going crazy trying to find Toilet Paper in stock in the stores and online? Is it sold out everywhere you look? Well, you are in luck! With the help of zooLert’s tracker, your problems are a thing of the past! Click an in stock item on the right to purchase at reputable sites with our automated tracking service. Not in stock? Sign up for email or text alerts to be told when and where!
Why the Supply Is Limited
Store shelves have been emptied. Amazon is often out of stock. And, social media is bursting with jokes and pleas for a roll or two.
The good news: Things are calming down, at least in the U.S., after a buying spree in mid-March. But it’s not yet clear when — if ever — buying habits will get back to normal.
Some people were stockpiling last month in advance of city and state lockdown orders. It’s a common reaction in times of a crisis, when consumers feel a need for control and security, says David Garfield of AlixPartners, a consulting firm.
Toilet paper flows from paper mills to retail stores through a tight, efficient supply chain. Toilet paper is bulky and not very profitable, so retailers don’t keep a lot of inventory on hand; they just get frequent shipments and restock their shelves.
NCSolutions, a data and consulting firm, said online and in-store U.S. toilet paper sales rose 51% between Feb. 24 and March 10, as buyers started getting uneasy about the growing number of virus cases. But sales rocketed a whopping 845% on March 11 and 12 as states announced lockdowns.
(The Associated Press contributed to this story.)