The great toilet paper goose chase


Abigail Hicks

Very bare aisles seem to plague “essential” stores, like this Virginia Beach Rite Aid. Photo taken on March 15 .

My suburban adventure began with a very serious request from my mom. Find toilet paper and do not come back home until you do.
Thanks, mom.
After pulling out of my driveway, tunes blasting, I started thinking of where I should even begin on my TP escapade. I wasn’t desperate enough yet to humor low-hanging fruit like Target or Walmart, so I started with something slightly better, Harris Teeter.
Upon arriving, my hope dwindled ever so slightly. The parking lot was way too full for a Sunday afternoon, and that could only mean one thing. No toilet paper. It would not hurt to look; I only had time to spare. So, accepting defeat, I shuffled into the bustling store, head down dragged myself to find paper products. Much to my dismay, the aisle was completely neglected except for some paper towels and diapers. I guess if worse comes to worst, both options trump using leaves or other creative substitutes.
After the Harris Teeter bust, I figured I’d try my luck driving to the Rite Aid not too far away. Surely, they would have toilet paper.
Boy, was I sorely mistaken. Not a trace of such coveted paper material. The same sorry sight of paper towels and diapers. I started thinking that just maybe I could pull a fast one on my mom and cut the paper towels into toilet paper-shaped rolls. To avoid my mother’s wrath, onto the next.
Next destination: CVS Pharmacy. Nothing.Walgreens. Nothing.
Food Lion. Nothing
I even tried Lidl. Nothing.
At this point, my chances of getting into Virginia Tech’s College of Engineering were better than finding a single roll of toilet paper.
With nothing left to lose and tail between my legs, I headed to my last destination, which was another Food Lion. Just like the other supermarkets, this one was chock-full of folks fitting in last-minute quarantine preparations. Taunting signs labeled “paper products” only led me to a bare and sorry sight. Once again, only a set of lonely paper towels greeted me.
Until. Out of the corner of my eye, I spotted a smarmy, little bear on the side of blue packaging just a couple shelves away.

After a closer look, it was not only one smug bear but seven more.

Behind those bears lay Charmin toilet paper. My pace and pulse quickened as I zipped over there, checking over my shoulder to see if anyone else spotted the same miracle. I heard angels from up above sing a heavenly chorus, and the aisle glowed just a bit. Obviously not, but such triumph certainly deserves some embellishment.
I grabbed three packages and walked to the register with a chest puffed out and a head held high.

Update: I did not get into Virginia Tech’s College of Engineering.