Bathroom-tissue survey turns up interesting trivia

June 21, 1993|By Joy L. Haenlein | Joy L. Haenlein,Stamford Advocate

You say toMAto. I say toMAYto.

You roll from the top. I roll from the bottom.

Recognizing that toilet paper, like so many things, is a highly individual matter, a Norwalk, Conn., bathroom tissue manufacturer has conducted a national survey that attempts to answer that age-old question: What becomes a toilet paper most?

The answers: softness, followed closely by strength; fluffiness, if you will pardon the expression, brings up the rear.

And -- the choice of three out of four of us -- rolled down from the top instead of the bottom.

Quilted Northern bathroom tissue of Norwalk, part of a $2.3 billion division of Virginia-based James River Corp., commissioned the 1,200-household survey to help confirm a hunch about what consumers look for in a toilet paper, according to Anthony J. Morakis, Quilted Northern's brand manager. The company used the information to help develop its new line of 2-ply Quilted Northern tissue, he said.

Along the way, Mr. Morakis said, "I just think that we got a lot of interesting, fun facts that make for fun conversation."

For instance:

If you find yourself continually amazed at the amount of toilet paper your household uses, there's probably good reason: On average, people use about 90 sheets of it per day, the survey found.

Add it all together, and each member of your average household goes through 75 rolls of tissue each year, according to the survey.

As for how we manually manipulate toilet paper, the survey provides more information that you never thought you'd know.

Such as:

Thirty percent of us wrap the toilet paper before using it, and an equal number fold it. But most of us -- an estimated 40 percent -- are less disciplined and simply crumple it.

Forty-two percent tear it from right-to-left, 35 percent from left-to- right, and the rest "yank it straight down," the survey said. More than half of the respondents said they tear with one hand; only 7 percent are two-fisted toilet tissue users.

Oops, pardon us. We meant bathroom tissue. The survey argues that this product has taken on so many additional uses -- from removing makeup and nail polish to cleaning eyeglasses and jewelry and wiping around the sink -- that it isn't just for the toilet anymore.

Whatever you call it, it apparently is indispensable. After all, the soft stuff is one of the few consumer products with a household market penetration of nearly 100 percent, the survey claimed.

Nearly? The half of a percent who say they don't buy it probably get it for free, Mr. Morakis said, from the tissue manufacturer they work for, or maybe on the sly from the company john.

All we know is that whatever you call it, however you handle it and wherever you use it, there is a compelling argument or two for the existence of toilet paper.

Consider.

Before it was invented in 1879, people tooknewspapers, catalogs -- even corn cobs. -- into the outhouse with them.

Not that the first toilet paper was much of an improvement. It took manufacturers nearly 20 years to get the splinters out.

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