It was 13 months ago that I posted this picture in a blog on our website. It was March 17th of last year, to be exact.

Photo: TSM
Photo: TSM

Yep, we were going through quite the toilet paper shortage in Missoula - just like everywhere else around the country. Now that store shelves are back to normal, I kind of forgot how crazy it was for a while when there wasn't a roll to be found around town. We were discussing this morning how my sister sent me six rolls in the mail last year just in case the supply around our house got a little too close to running out. Weird, weird times.

Never did I think we would spend so much time discussing toilet paper as we have since the pandemic started last year. Right now there's some good news and bad news when it comes to the details of our current TP supply.

Good news: Americans spent $2 billion more on toilet paper last year than during a normal year. And with so many people buying a surplus and still having plenty on hand - toilet paper sales were down over 4% in January. That means we're nowhere near a shortage - just the opposite. I guess the experts were right when they said there was no need to hoard toilet paper the way some people were doing.

Bad news: Wood pulp prices have shot up in the past year causing everything that uses wood to see a price toilet paper. Because of it, a KPAX article says prices on Cottonelle and Scott brand toilet paper will be going up in June. And you know what happens when a couple brands increase their prices - everybody else follows. And as the article points out: "with all pandemic-related price hikes, the price goes up quickly but will take months -- if not longer -- to fall again."

It looks like we should have plenty of toilet paper on the shelves in Missoula - but it also looks like we'll be seeing the prices go up in the near future. And as you might say just before you reach for the roll of toilet paper.....that stinks.

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