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The Diminishing Toilet Paper Roll
This past week I stayed with friends in Minnesota, and I happened to mention how the cardboard insert in toilet paper rolls now leaves so much more room on the roller. My friend said, “Don’t get me started on the diminishing toilet paper roll!” We both laughed, but I decided to research the change.
I had no idea how big an issue this has become — articles, blogs — too many to list or quote. So as they used to say on Dragnet, ”Just the facts, Ma’am, just the facts.”
In 2006, one company decided to reduce their sheets of toilet paper from a lovely square of 4.5” x 4.5” to 4.5” x 4.1”.
Then suddenly in 2010, every company — Northern, Charmin, Angel Soft, Cottonelle, Scott, etc. followed suit – only – here’s why it’s not so noticeable:
The new sheet size is in fact 4.1” x 3.7”. Now that doesn’t sound too awful as long as the entire roll equals the same diameter as before. I mean, do I care if I tear off four sheets or six sheets at each wipe? But they didn’t leave it there.
The cardboard center roll was decreased in size as well. What used to barely fit onto an average size toilet paper holder in your bathroom, leaving just enough room to turn, now leaves an inch around the roller – it swings freely and turns easily, and it means that your 4.1” x 3.7” sheets are fewer, not more.
A 1000 sheet roll is now
280 sheet rolls are now 200.
So my double roll of 600 is now reduced to 560 sheets that are 20% smaller, as reported earlier down from 4.5 x 4.5 to 4.1 x 3.7   Huh? The irony is they are now marked New Improved or Now Improved! What?
And because toilet paper has gone up in price, it is estimated that the paper companies are making 50% more per roll than five years ago! Wow! I like that profit. I’m lucky to have an annuity with a 6% guarantee!
In 2007, we paid .25 per roll; a four pack was $1.00. I remember that clearly. Yesterday I paid $6.29 for a 12 pack of a non-major brand sold at Target.
Two-ply seems to be a thing of the past as well. At one point, Northern had a three-ply. If it is two-ply, it is pressed the thickness of single, that’s for sure. All of this info helped me realize why, as a one person household, I am lucky to use less than one roll per week and no, I don’t have G.I. issues. I may use longer strips but now I realize why. 3.7” certainly doesn’t compare with 4.5” — let’s see, if I use six sheets, that means I’m using 22.2” of toilet paper each visit. Five years ago that would have been 27”. And my 600 sheet roll is down to 560 so—I’m not good at math but I’ll probably be using two rolls per week soon.
I’m anxious to see how the new rolls without the cardboard insert are going to work. They aren’t round – that I’ve read. But I’ll have to find a Walmart that carries them to check out the particulars. I agree with eliminating the 17 billion cardboard rollers they say the U.S. sends to trash dumps each year. Maybe the Europeans have it right with bidets.
            While I’m on a “roll” (pun intended) let’s discuss the quart and a half (half gallon) of ice cream in my freezer or the 59 oz. (formerly 64) container of orange juice. Coffee was once one pound – now it’s 12 ounces. Notice the size of the chip bag has stayed the same? It fools us more easily that way. Lift that bag and you’ll see the chips fall to the lower one half of the package leaving us lots of air at the top. Lots of Hot Air – I would add.
A bar of soap? Well, most of us are using bottles of body wash anyway………..

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