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Toilet Paper Panic: Who’s to Blame?

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Toilet Paper Panic: Who’s to Blame?

Toilet Paper Panic: Who’s to Blame?

Chen Yusong, Brett, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University


Empty shelves and a fierce fight at the supermarket: This article takes a deep dive into the psychological and logistical reasons for this unusual phenomenon. 

Click here to read Toilet Paper Panic: Who’s to Blame?


Chen Yusong, Brett

Chen Yusong, Brett is currently in his second year of his BBA (Hons) in Financial Services at PolyU. From Amoy to Hong Kong, although his environment has changed, what remains unchanged is his desire to gain insight into what is happening in society. A busy academic schedule does not slow down his pace of observing and thinking independently about the world that we share, offering him a sense of sobriety. He is also enthusiastic about volunteering, hiking, and playing badminton. In the future, Brett hopes to travel as much as possible to experience different cultures.

Author’s Introduction

I was doing my daily shopping at Marketplace in Ho Man Tin when I saw an unusual scene. A middle-aged woman had piled her shopping cart with more than 10 packs of toilet paper. It was then I realized that the toilet paper panic, which I had seen all over social media, was happening right in front of me. At that time, I decided to thoroughly investigate why and how this irrational behaviour had become a global phenomenon.

This feature article presents the psychological and logical explanations for the toilet paper panic. By using “zero risk bias” and “herd mentality” theories of psychology, I found that the problem may come from people’s intolerance of uncertainty. Then, I discussed the logical reasons for the toilet paper panic through an investigation of its supply chain.

This article was originally submitted in ELC2011 Advanced English Reading and Writing Skills. I’d like to express my heartfelt thanks to Ms. Sannie Tang for informing me of this precious publishing opportunity; and my editing experience with Inscribe was more than meaningful and wonderful. The online editing process provided a unique experience for me. I am grateful that my editor Ms. Chrissy Burns offered me professional advice to polish my language and helped me to translate my inner voice to written language. At last, many thanks to Chrissy for her efforts to get the article published.

Photo Credits

Supermarket fight – original 
Don’t panic – Photo by Jasmin Sessler on Unsplash 
Empty shelves – Photo by Simon Ray on Unsplash 

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