As toilet paper sells at rapid rates across the United States amid irrational stockpiling among those concerned about the coronavirus pandemic, bidet sales are also skyrocketing — despite that fact that manufacturers insist there is no toilet paper shortage. Herd mentality, general helplessness and viral videos showing toilet paper fights have led to toilet paper selling out at grocery stores across the country, which means consumers are looking toward the bidet
As toilet paper has become scarce while people prepare to stay at home amid the outbreak, bidet manufacturers have experienced increased sales. Tushy CEO Jason Ojalvo told MSN.com that over the past few weeks, sales have "grown from double to triple to more like 10-times what they were in weeks before word spread about TP shortages. ... This could be the tipping point that finally gets Americans to adopt the bidet. The reality is, one you use a bidet to clean after pooping you cannot go back to wiping and toilet paper. You've learned too much! Wiping seems not just inefficient, but all barbaric, by comparison.
Inexpensive entry-level styles of bidets can be found at big box stores like Home Depot, Wayfair and Lowes; more affordable alternatives allow you to clip on a bidet attachment without plumbing and electricity. For example, Tushy sells its classic bidet for $79 and a warm water spa version for $109. Manufacturers also sell portable travel bidets for as low as $14.99.
Daniel Lilley, communications director for manufacturer bidet company Brondell, told MSN.com that overall sales demand has "increased about 300 percent over the past week across all of our retail channels."
"In the midst of this unprecedented toilet paper run, we're really grateful for the opportunity to provide those who need them with smart solutions for toilet paper replacement. For the last 16 years, we've been passionate about educating the public on the environmental and cost benefits of switching from toilet paper to cleaner bidet alternatives."
According to Tushy, Americans use more than 34 million rolls of toilet paper every day, which translates to about 54 million trees.
As for those viral photos and videos of empty shelves in the toilet paper section of grocery stores, manufacturers have been assuring consumers that there is no shortage. Over 90 percent of it is made domestically, and the fundamentals of the supply chain remain strong.
"It's not like suddenly all the toilet paper factories in the world are burning down," Willy Shih, a professor at Harvard Business School who studies manufacturing supply chains, told the Los Angeles Times. "They're still cranking this stuff out."
In fact, the reason for the empty shelves is likely due to the fact that toilet paper factories are not designed with room for increase or decrease, due to the fact that the typical demand for the product is flat proportional to the population. Because there's no hot season for toilet paper, factories crank out a consistent amount year round.
Toilet paper is also distinct from products like hand sanitizer and coronavirus test kits, where increased use means there is a genuine risk of shortages.
Globally, there have been over 212,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, with 7,323 in the United States, according to data gathered by Johns Hopkins. Of those numbers, 8,727 people worldwide have died, with at least 112 of those being in the U.S. For the most up-to-date information about COVID-19, visit the CDC's website.
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