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Photo: Samuli Ikäheimo

Toilet Paper Chaos


I stand in front of the milk shelf. The shopping list says two cartons of milk, as usual. But what if we won’t be able to come to the shop for a while? I grab four, just in case. And a couple cartons of UHT milk, since it doesn’t go bad. There’s more people in the shop than usual. My armpits are sweaty, and beads of sweat are running down my neck. An anguished-looking woman pushes a trolley full of bread past me. Perhaps I should buy a couple of loaves too. After all, you can freeze bread. When I get to the toilet paper shelf, my heart sinks. There’s a lot of empty space on the shelf. What if my entire family falls ill and we won’t be able to come to the shop, and we run out of toilet paper? What if everyone else buys all the paper and there’s none left for us? I grab a couple of packs. Three. Maybe I should take a couple to my grandparents? 

‘… beads of sweat are running down my neck.’

Shops ran out of toilet paper

People all around the world were hoarding toilet paper. The same thing happened in Finland too, one day after WHO declared the corona virus outbreak a pandemic. Shops reported a huge jump in the sales of certain food items, such as pasta, cereal products and crispbread. 

Source: Kesko & Yle

Psychotherapist Maaret Kallio explains the feelings behind hoarding. 

It is important to examine your relationship with your reactions

Survival is often associated with a feeling of control. We long for the feeling of being able to make a difference and be in control. The need to control the unknown is also behind hoarding for many people. Dutiful people with strong emotions were highlighted among toilet paper hoarders – hoarding was their way of controlling the uncontrollable situation. Now, it is important to re-examine memories and the feelings that caused those actions. Anxiety, fear and uncertainty are natural feelings that are in no way wrong. Often the ability to put your feelings, such as anxiety, into words may make you feel more secure.  

How did you feel?

The alternatives concern the fundamental feelings related to this phenomenon and page. We call them secondary feelings. It may, however, be that you did not feel this way. Perhaps you felt something completely different? In that case, select “some other feeling” and, if you so wish, write about your feelings in a letter.

When I was at the shop, I felt…

Järjestelmässä tapahtui virhe. Yritä hetken kuluttua uudestaan.

Thank you.

You were not alone with your feelings.

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Photo: Emilia Anundi

Fear of the future