Welcome to the toilet paper aisle. The decisions you make here will not be easy. What lies before you is a hellish maze of mathematical conversions and value judgments, which, if considered too carefully or for too long, will drive even the most resolute person to madness.
Look here, for example, this pack of 15 mega-rolls, equal to 30 regular rolls, appears to be the best deal, right? But wait, then what about these 10 humungo-rolls, equal to 40 regular rolls? Or these 6 giganti-rolls, equal to 48 regular rolls? Or this 3-pack of super-rolls, weighing in at whopping 54 regular rolls? Each pack costs marginally more than the previous while providing just a bit more paper. So, which will it be? Wait, don’t answer that. We’re not done browsing yet.
Those enormo-rolls don’t even print their regular roll equivalency, but not for reasons of deception. The reality is no one knows. Some people estimate it to be several hundred; others claim it to be somewhere in the thousands. These guessing games ultimately show themselves to be useless, though. In truth, the enormo-roll is so big that it cannot be broken down into regular rolls, and thus attempting to do so proves as futile as you or I trying to understand the emotional disposition of an ant.
Over here are the varia-rolls. For them, the regular roll equivalence varies based on a complex algorithm involving the price of limes; the average median income of the 18-34 demographic in Rockport, Maine; and the current Vegas odds that the Houston Astros will win the World Series. The varia-rolls present a high-risk high-reward proposition for the buyer. Some have struck it rich. They’ve torn open their packs to find a veritable toilet paper treasure trove, enough so that they, their children, and their children’s children will never want for toilet paper again. But beware: for every lucky soul, there are thousands of others who’ve pulled back the plastic wrap to find nothing but naked cardboard tubes and the dry dusty wings of dead moths.
This brand with the cute cartoon bear on their packaging: their claim to fame is how strong their toilet paper is. That’s why the bear is holding a car over its head. But they’re also environmentally conscious, which is why the car is a hybrid. Additionally, their sheets tear easy—as illustrated by the ease with which the bear is tearing the hybrid in half—without sacrificing softness—illustrated by the hybrid’s plush leather seats, visible through the freshly torn hole—or durability—illustrated by the hybrid’s odometer, showing mileage well past 100,000, despite the fact that the service invoices spilling out of the glove compartment, through the tear in the car, and onto the bear below, are for little more than basic maintenance.
These rolls here are single ply. These: double-ply. Those over there: triple-ply. Up on the top shelf: 10-ply. To their right: 30-ply. One shelf down: 75-ply. There, in the special display: 100-ply, or “Ply-Centennial” as the packaging says. This pack down here, on the other hand, is actually 100% ply-free, but through the use of a revolutionary breakthrough in bathroom tissue technology, it can engage ply-receptors in such a way as to give the impression of ply for miles, ply ad infinitum.
Of course, we haven’t even discussed the quilted, the double-quilted, the hand-stitched, or the embroidered. Then there’s the aloe-infused, the vitamin-e infused, the alcohol-infused, the anti-depressant infused. What about the vanilla-scented, the fire-retardant, the water-resistant, the soy-free, the solar-powered, the barrel-aged? Or the medium rare, the dry-hopped, the certified organic, the lots-o-pulp, the no pulp, the light-roasted, the limited-release seasonal, the cloud-compatible?
Why, it goes on and on! There is no end! You just need to grab a pack, any pack, really! The closest one will do! Just take it! Take it and run! Run as fast as you can, as far as you can! And never look back! Unless…
Good god! You don’t need paper towels, do you?