Coveted Toilet Paper Goes Up in Smoke in Australia

Firefighters save half the truck's load, as coronavirus fears inspire a run on TP
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 5, 2020 5:05 PM CST
Truck Fire May Worsen Rush on Toilet Paper in Australia
Stock photo.   (Getty/Matze Fotograf_Bln)

Apparently worried about being told to stay home to avoid spreading the new coronavirus, Australians have been buying toilet paper as fast as stores can stock it. So a fire on a semi-trailer rolling through Brisbane this week was especially concerning. But the load wasn't a total loss, Australia's ABC reports. "Toilet paper is quite precious at the moment," a fire official said, "so we've been able to save half the load on this particular truck." The truck was on a bridge at the time; the driver was unhurt. Officials suspect a mechanical problem sparked the blaze.

"Everyone has just gone a little bit crazy," said a shopper in Sydney buying 40 rolls of toilet paper, per "One person begins to stock up and then everyone begins to do it." The shopper, who's from California, said she was taking half her bounty to friends who were having her over for dinner that night. Another shopper saw someone buying 80 rolls, along with 20 jars of pasta sauce. A newspaper with a history of stunts, the NT News, added an eight-page insert Thursday that can be cut up into toilet paper, per the Guardian, should it be needed. No one, including the shoppers, is sure why there's such a run on TP; there's no reason to think the country will run out. "I'm buying it because everyone else is doing it," one woman said. It's only fitting, another shopper said: "Ideas are infectious." (Read more coronavirus stories.)

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