Saturday, August 04, 2012

Four and Three Quarter Inches Long

Toilet paper rubs me up the wrong way. Let me rephrase that, toilet paper is on the decline, for what is essentially a staple of the British household over the years it's changed and not necessarily for the better either. But let's start at the beginning and my first memories of a toilet roll. It may seem like an odd thing to blog about but I remember medicated toilet paper, a strange slippy stuff that came in unattached squares and crackled into lots of sharp edges so you could paper cut your bottom as much as you would like. It was often favoured by pubs and restaurants who obviously decided it was probably best to use this stuff when off ones trolley so to speak.

Next came a bit of luxury when lo and behold the first quilted paper was introduced, it was generous too, slightly larger rolls with bigger squares all thoughtfully joined together so small puppies could grab it and drag it around the house for you. On a different note they never did pan away on those commercials did they to show you the man with his trousers around his ankles desperately trying to catch the little mutt.

This was of course the toilet paper we know today but ever since the introduction of quilted rolls two things have happened. First it's started to become by weight, more expensive than petrol and secondly in each and every way it's shrinking.

I didn't realise that every roll of toilet paper has gone through many vigorous tests, things like water absorption, softness and even finger-breakthrough resistance. Yes, that last one made me gip too. I'd like to add another category, cheapness. Our usual roll has metamorphasized from a nice chunky 240 sheets to a miserly 175, not only that the sheet size has gradually shrunk too and over the years we have lost a few square centimetres. It doesn't sound a lot but add it all together and on any given roll it amounts to nearly a 7.8m loss of loo comfort. That's a lot of surface area and in the same period the price has tripled.

Finally today they have reached rock bottom so to speak, it's moved from 3ply to 2ply and with it replaced the softness with a roughness akin to using wire wool and dettol.


I just hope that the finger breakage tests held out!

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