Trial Balloon

Trial Balloon: October 26, 2009 Archive

A Rough Choice

Posted at 5:30 AM on October 26, 2009 by Dale Connelly (21 Comments)

Last week's discussion about our favorite parodies got me thinking about toilet paper.

There's a battle going on in the biffy. Environmentalists say America's love of soft toilet paper is wasteful of old growth forests because the softer paper requires longer wood fibers - the kind you can only get directly from a tree. Recycled fibers are shorter and are apparently not fluffy enough to satisfy - think European toilet paper.

The toilet paper industry answers with a marketing conundrum - you have to give the people what they want or your competitor will do it instead. And Americans like comfort.

So it comes down to the consumer - which toilet paper will you buy? Which potty path will you walk? Every paper is advertised for softness now, with plush, cushy adjectives flowing across each wrapper. The pressure over such a delicate choice is overwhelming and I admit to standing in the supermarket aisle before the rows and flows of angel hair utterly incapable of making up my mind. And yet I know the fate of the world relies on my decision. As Robert Frost might have said, had he been a newsroom poet ...

Two rolls diverged in their use of wood
And knowing I should not unravel both
And be in The Sierra Club; long I stood
And looked at one as close as I could
To see it's source in the old wood growth.

Then took the Quilted - it's just as plump
And having perhaps the softer name,
To this hasty conclusion I did jump
That if both were to caress the rump
One would wear really about the same,

For both rolls boasted they were fair
In sheets so white with fulsome fluff
Oh! Could I just them both compare!
Yet seeing how tear leads on to tear
I doubted I should use the lesser stuff.

And so the Quilted did I buy
Though I was chafed by the expense
Two rolls diverged in their use of wood and I,
I chose the one with one less ply
And that has made a load of difference.

Do you consider environmental factors when buying mundane items?

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