Mega, Super Mega, Ultra-Super Mega
There is a growing trend in the consumer market that bigger is better. The growing spread has made its way to almost every corner of our world. I recently noticed that a commodity that was virtually unchanged was overtaken by this gargantuan need.
By Luca DiMatteo
This achievement began in the bathroom on the first floor of our almost century-old house. The toilet paper dispenser is a tile inlay installed when standard, was not Mega, Super Mega, or Ultra-Super Mega. It is increasingly difficult to find quality toilet paper rolls in this smaller size. I became aware of the increase in the size of toilet paper rolls just before the pandemic. During the pandemic, the toilet paper shortage brought manufacturers down and the onslaught of oversizing began.
Maybe the toilet paper makers are trying to accommodate us by following the fast food industry. The larger the portions of fries, the more ounces of soda pop, the more we have to do… you get the idea. It seems like a logical conclusion and we might like to thank them for their attention.
A closer look reveals that toilet paper makers may not be that altruistic. The cost of cardboard increased by about 22% in 2021. This is mainly due to the increase in the cost of the wood pulp that is used to make the cardboard. So let’s do the math. Double, triple the size of the number of sheets of toilet paper on a single roll, and use half, to third, of the cardboard. Sheets were going to be produced to meet the need, so why not make the rolls bigger and reduce the need for the cardboard roll? Renaming the label to make the consumer believe they are getting more, raising the price because, after all, the rolls are giant and save a fortune on the carton.
Now let’s look from the consumer’s point of view. We are conditioned to believe that the bigger the better. But there is another factor running through our minds. Convenience is the key here. Bigger rolls mean less frequent trips to buy toilet paper. The rollers are huge, so there are fewer walks to the laundry closet, arms behind the tank, and elbows in the bathroom cabinet. But here’s the biggie that manufacturers rely on. The visual effect and the thought of more sheets on a roll subconsciously allows us to pull more sheets with each use. We use more, we buy more and their profit margin increases. At the height of the pandemic, sales of toilet paper soared 845%, reaching eleven billion dollars by 2020. That’s a lot of pennies saved on those rolls of cardboard.
Here’s another thought to sit down and think, pun intended. The increased use of TP leads to increased carbon emissions and the need to sacrifice more trees. These two points stimulate global warming and are harmful to our planet. I have included a link to a Newsweek article below, but be warned; there is a lot of gossip in it.
Will we see the return of the smaller roll? Only time will tell. I think the Mega, Super-Mega, and Ultra-Super-Mega rolls are here to stay, so if you’re renovating your bathroom you might want to consider installing a large paper towel dispenser instead of ‘a toilet paper dispenser. Size matters.
How many of you remember the name of the man shown in the photo, the brand he was promoting and the tagline he used?
Thank you for sharing your thoughts and responses with me.
Luca DiMatteo believes that the written word is not an escape, it is an adventure.
He was a doctor for over 25 years before retiring. He has spent many years working in and around nursing homes. Additionally, he co-founded two personal development organizations, wrote his own column, and published magazines and newsletters. Luca has appeared in Pressenza, The New Haven Register, and Aspire magazine. He is a member of the Connecticut Authors and Publishers Association. Throughout his life he has stayed close to the written word and found a way to incorporate it into everything he does.
Writing Green Haven, a novel came to him in a dream. According to the author, the story and its characters have come to life. It was as if they were telling him the story. He admits he couldn’t type fast enough and often spent late at night trying to catch up.
“Stories are paths leading to great journeys. And travel is what makes up our lives. So choose as many paths as you can and enjoy as many trips.
What awaits Luca are his second, third and fourth novels (currently in progress) and his co-host of a podcast series called The way of the author.
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