Coping: The National Toilet Paper Survey

Does which way the toilet paper comes off the roll define your income?

About 10-years ago, we did an information survey and it seemed that when the paper comes off the front of the roll, rather than the back, that there’s a weak association with higher household income.  Or, at least there was when we asked back in 2,000-something or other.

(Continues below)


The question came up again because one of our astute readers noticed that in my shop, the paper towels come from the back noyt the front.

I mean, I totally get the logic:  If you have to hold the dispenser from letting the towels spin, that hand will contaminate the otherwise clean next towel.

Same theory (after a fashion) holds with toilet paper.

The flip-side is that when I was raised, it was an article of housekeeping that either a) the toilet paper can down behind (ahem…) thus hiding the visual clutter of what might be a ragged edge.

Or, b) if you do the “paper over front” then at each use, you put a couple of folds in so the paper has a more strack, fnished, designer-look to it.

Going further (as my decorating skills improved) things like an occasional bow around the spare roll happened.  Butt then, that didn’t give a sufficient ROI, so that idea was eventually flushed.

There are a ton of questions about toilet paper – and I suspect the number of economists probing this data is limited.  After all, anyone with a good stats background can get a climate grant and anyone who can make money is off trading.  Which leaves only a handful of people like me to flush out the important stuff.

So here’s the survey:  Copy and past into a comment form below and sent it along.  Ready?

  1. Does your toilet paper roll off the front  or back of the roll?
  2. What is your more or less honest household income (in 000’s so 40 would be $40,00-0)  $_______
  3. When you get toilet paper ready to use, are you a folder or a clumper?

Regular TP (single ply, cheap) or butt-friendly 2-ply, quilted, woven, scented, upscale butt-treats?

This  may seem incredibly stupid, but(t) here’s the thing:

In business, every since Frederick Winslow Taylor did the original time-motion studies in the late 1800’s, people in management science have been into measuring everything looking mainly for hidden variables.

People who go to the bathroom more than x,xxx times per day may not be serious workers, for example.  Or, sales people with coke habits may be exceptional at sales until they get busted.

As a professional manager you learn to collect all kinds of data, no matter how rude or politically-incorrect.  We don’t get a (well, you know)…we’re only interested in getting to the bottom of things in any case.  We’ll roll-up the data as its flushed out.

Thank you for participating.

Don’t forget to wash Ure hands..

Spring Blows

This being the first day of Spring, it’s also when the Tornado season lights up here in the flat-spot of fly-over country.

With our usual advisory to hit a few tornado safety sites, if you weren’t raised on the plains, we went looking for some trends on Tornado frequency.  And sure enough…not only do they have running total data but ALSO an inflation-adjustment!

It took me about 7-hours Monday to understand their idea of inflation is the over-reporting of a single tornado.  (Just kidding, I’m not that stupid.  It was only 4-1/2 hours…)

Notwithstanding the comments of Al Blowhard on Climate, there is some concern about how the alarmists will fare through the upcoming solar minimum.

I mean it’s going to be a terrible time – solar minimum, actual data coming in colder and colder requiring bigger and bigger fudging…why, I almost feel sorry for them!

OK, I’m over it.

Reality on climate:  Humans still spew significantly less than volcanoes…so let’s find a way to turn down the frequency, fury, amplitude, magma-tude *(a word of our own invention, it’s available for rent, write for details) as well as Sulphur dioxide emissions from volcanoes.  Oh, plus all than damned ash…

Here at Olde Man Labs our crack-science study group has come up with a low-cost way to ease both global climate change AND reduce the natural level of emissions.  They call it?

Human Sacrifice to Pele.

I know, you’re thinking “Butt, that was back in the time of savages and uncivilized people…it would never fly in today’s world.

Yah think?

Look at social media, politics, and finance.  You call us better?

Beside, human sacrifice to volcanoes required no permits or impact statements…it gets grandfathered in.

Democrats and anarchists to the front of the line!…Pele’s awaits  your personal contribution to climate change reduction!  Schumer to the high board!

Write when you get rich (or your coating of basalt cools).  (Hmmm…where’d I put my meds?)

author avatar
George Ure
Amazon Author Page: UrbanSurvival Bio:

52 thoughts on “Coping: The National Toilet Paper Survey”

  1. Dang G, but talk about intrusive survey(!); but I’ll bite:

    1) Back of roll
    2) $100
    3) fold
    4) single ply, unbleached
    The wife uses the scented, ever-so-soft in her personal, er, space…

    Having been to Vietnam several times in the last decade or so, I recommend reading this article, which is interesting in that Vietnam has no zoning laws:

    Vietnam, being very dissimilar to America, retains its own unique culture, as do Malaysia and many other places far enough away from the US. While I can go to Mexico and see Chili’s, Burger King, McDonalds, malls and the usual culprits – away from the bigger cities it is different. The same for a lot of Latin America (Bogota and Quito come to mind, where jewelers lie astride a butcher shop, etc.). Zoning has a LOT to do with this, and I believe Dinh has some valid points to make.

    If I had to pick a single adjective to describe Vietnam, and in particular the countryside and alleys, it would be vibrant. The tastiest food isn’t found in restaurants, but in the alleys – and everyone is welcome, even Americans.

    I think this is part of what has helped destroy rural culture in America, and the only reason for it was greed and localized elitism. If we do have a real ‘reset’, and people are forced to undo a lot of this stratification, it will not necessarily be a bad thing for our kids and grandkids.

    • Amen on the last paragraph OM! Amen! Hot money buying up the property all around us bringing in people that hate to get their hands dirty is the bane of a vibrant old community. Bring on 1929!!

  2. all wrong paper off back like money pouring out of a bucket,paper in front you have to pull off like money wanting to stay in your pocket.jmo

  3. Does your toilet paper roll off the front or back of the roll? Front
    What is your more or less honest household income (in 000’s so 40 would be $40,00-0) 110,000
    When you get toilet paper ready to use, are you a folder or a clumper? Folder

  4. George,

    I remember that back in the day, a tornado only “occurred” when it was actually sighted by someone – either in the air or on the ground.

    Now, most of the tornadoes reported hrre are “indicated by radar”. This makes year to year comparisons a challenge.


  5. Does your toilet paper roll off the front or back of the roll? Front
    What is your more or less honest household income (in 000’s so 40 would be $40,00-0) $___140____
    When you get toilet paper ready to use, are you a folder or a clumper? folder

    Regular TP (single ply, cheap) or butt-friendly 2-ply, quilted, woven, scented, upscale butt-treats? prefer 2-ply

  6. Well George, this is a perplexing problem. It is not as simple as over or under anymore. Years ago, Ann Landers ran this debate in her column but finally threw in the roll and said “No more.” The debate just got too silly.

    Now my wife and I totally disagree when we are forced into that regular decision at the grocery store. There are at least 4 dozen choices. One ply, two ply, three ply, soft, extra soft, super extra soft, strong and extra strong. There are also single roll, double roll and now one so big, it won’t fit on the roller. Thus the invention of the vertical roller. Alternatively, you can just sit it on top of the toilet tank or the counter top or the floor (although a challenge for these bones in my senior years).

    Now she has gravitated to the super extra soft triple ply double roll and I have had to do a complete remodel of her bathroom to gain more space. Me, I go for the industrial grade recycled single ply extra strength single roll just above fine sandpaper grade. She always told me I was a hard a__.

    Dang, I love this life.

  7. 1.Does your toilet paper roll off the front or back of the roll? back (stops it from rolling out of control by kitties)
    2.What is your more or less honest household income (in 000’s so 40 would be $40,00-0) $___110____
    3.When you get toilet paper ready to use, are you a folder or a clumper?clumper
    septic friendly but soft and slightly textured

  8. Be sure to adjust your toilet paper survey for cat bias. Some cats love to play with the roll. If the paper comes over on the front they will pull the whole roll onto the floor. Thus paper to the rear may have no correlation to income in those homes. Of course, they do have a cat.

    • We ended up putting a handmade ‘cover’ on the roll so that one persistent cat wouldn’t have fun . . .

      Paper in front
      30 years ago 17K
      (his dad was in management at GP, so we bought GP.)

  9. Does your toilet paper roll off the front or back of the roll? -I’m continuously rotating the roll from back to forward. The wife seems to want it to the back.

    What is your more or less honest household income (in 000’s so 40 would be $40,00-0) Depends on how much rain we get but with the wife working we bring in well over $40k.

    When you get toilet paper ready to use, are you a folder or a clumper? I’m a folder. Grandkid is a wadder (I’m going to talk to her about that some time soon.) but have no idea about the rest of the household.

    The thicker multi-ply store brands usually suit our purposes. The hunters bought in some really cheap, single ply, “nothingness” a while back that we’re working though at the ranch. I’ll be glad when that stuff’s gone. I’ll replace it with some of our own the next season and hope they take the hint.

    I’ve also noticed that TP in storage will tend to disintegrate even in a dry environment with no rodent or bug interaction so, preppers, take notice, monitor and rotate out your most precious supplies! This may vary between brand, though.

  10. I have an automated toilet that sprays and dryes my butt meaning no toilet paper.
    I make in excess of 4 million a year.
    But of course I never tell the truth because I’m full of xenon,
    Let me see, what was the question again ?

  11. 1: Front, if it actually makes it on to the holder, but I actually am one of those maniacal people who just does not care at all how the toilet paper looks or falls or if it’s even on the holder as long as it’s in reach when I need it. Maybe when my kids are gone I will have time to get mad at my husband for not replacing the roll on the holder, but that would mean I also need to start replacing the roll, soooo….
    2: $120,000
    3: Clump
    4: Kirkland quilted

  12. Seems like the rolls are now more narrow and are embossed so it makes the rolls look thicker. Consumer is getting less paper for the money.

    • Good catch.. they cut the rolls down by one half inch to one inch depending on brand. Fluffed the rolls so you get a third to fifty percent less squares. The end results was they were able to significantly raise their prices withought having to raise the package price. Fluffed and quilted toilet paper takes up more space significantly so they can give you less squares without anyone ever paying it any attention.
      They are doing the same with canned goods as well.. instead of 16 ounces many times you’ll find 12 less product by almost 15 percent and replacing it with water.

      • Yeah…

        I especially like the 10.3oz “pound” of coffee, and the 59oz “half gallon” of milk or juice, but the 14oz “pound” of smoked sausage and the 46oz “half-gallon” of ice cream or yogurt are not far behind.

        I went on a *doctor-imposed* low sodium, low cholesterol “life diet” 15 years ago. I’ve been reading every label ever since, and I both notice, and remember.

  13. • Septic system
    • Bidet
    Always provides me a chuckle at work or play to see wipers plucking at their rear-ends and walking ever so distinkly.

    • Oh yeah, “Living on under $10,000/Year” bought the book.
      Would never have discovered asswash without stint in South-East Asia early 70s.

  14. 1. Front, provides superior tearing control.
    2. 200,000
    3. Clumper
    4. two-ply with integrated texture.

  15. Does your toilet paper roll off the front or back of the roll? Front

    What is your more or less honest household income (in 000’s so 40 would be $40,00-0) $100+

    When you get toilet paper ready to use, are you a folder or a clumper? Fold
    Regular TP (single ply, cheap) or butt-friendly 2-ply, quilted, woven, scented, upscale butt-treats? Friendly, Ultra Strong

  16. 1. Front
    2. In the 33% Tax bracket
    3. Clumper
    4. the non-generic purchased at Costco–
    Used to spend X $ on the paper that had aloe in it but either it is no longer mfg by the better companies or cheapened up by the lesser companies. Not worth the $ anymore for me.
    Also, we get far far less paper for more $ today. I actually have some pkgs in the ‘survival’ section of our home, and not only were they wider back then, but the paper was thicker,stronger, softer and far less linty than today (have to clean the bath exhaust fans at least once if not twice a year). Today’s papers have to embossed or rolled loose to give the illusion that you are getting more for your $

  17. An academic point of order, George. Frederick Winslow Taylor originated ‘Time Study,’ while Frank and Lillian Gilbreth added the Motion Study aspect decades later. Together they merged into Time-Motion Studies. Taylor’s time studies broke down every task into component parts, timing each one and then reorganizing the tasks into the most efficient order with regard to time required to do the work. The Gilbreth’s, acknowledging Taylor’s time study methods as critically important to their own, however, they recorded worker’s activities and body posture along with the time on task to improve work process efficiencies (including time on task).

    • Except that Taylor was measuring tons moved (shovel, eg motion) in an 8-hour shift in the steel plants from one place to another. Still…if you wanna be picky…

  18. front
    two ply – it lasts longer, works better – nothing really fancy
    one wipe from the under – one wipe from the backside.
    male – 67

  19. Off the front:

    $41.75 after taxes

    Three squares folded in half; Momma made me and it still works to this day.

    Charmin Ultra

  20. front
    35000 married combined
    two ply – works better therefore lasts longer – nothing fancy
    male 67

  21. Well.. one of my many hats was building maintenance where I was in charge of the crew and supplies etc. etc. of a department store.
    One of the issues came up on toilet paper.
    If the toilet paper rolls off the back a person will use approximately 8 inches to sixteen inches less per wipe. There’s approximately three pads of paper pads per use. One per female during urination and three for soil. Depending on the customer base and employees you will save between 36 cents per solid waste use to 72 cents. The difference two ply quilted not puffed the cost per square is 1.5 to2 cents.. depending on brand the luxury soft quilted fluffed runs 2.5 to 3.5 cents per square.. of course that is a floating figure. Probably why congress is still debating what kind the should use on their royal butts.. the other issue beside the amount is how is it on your pipes.. the treated fluffed and extra hard has a tendency to be harder on your plumbing.
    Where the non soft two ply decomposes better.
    A company with a fair amount of employees or customers using the bathroom regular will save on average five to ten thousand a year by having the toilet paper run off the back of the roll. Now as an employee if you want to give yourself a nickel raise you can simply by using the facilities daily.
    Since people don’t measure how many sheets they use but whip it off by eyesight. Industry suggests the proper amount of squares is 6 to 8 ..
    at work off the back at home off the front.

    • years and years one of my many hats I worked for a manufacturing company where if you could save the company ten grand annually through a suggestion you could go out to eat at the country club with the boss.. I would submit my head banger suggestions.. you know the ones.. you bump your head and god that hurt.. then bump it again at another time go oh heck I wish someone would do something about that.. I worked there for twelve years.. and went every month.. I even had six left over when I quit.. LOL LOL LOL the two that I got the biggest thrill over was the one where the boss came out and tossed my acceptance sheet at me and said.. I can’t believe I am giving you a dinner over hand soap.. LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL… the other one was.. he hated to buy desert.. so for all those years I had figured out how to get desert and the meal.. the last month I was there they brought out a huge sign that said from this time forward anyone getting desert won’t get the meal.. LOL LOL LOL I said oh really why didn’t you just come tell me.. LOL LOL LOL then asked if I ever left could I give my meals to someone else on the floor LOL LOL LOL loved that job.. only quit cause I had jury duty ten years earlier and they kept the points on my record and when my child had surgery they wrote me up.. for being gone four hours.. torked me off.. a few months later my new boss and my old boss ran into each other.. the old boss said.. If we had realized just how hard a worker he was.. we wouldn’t have ever written him up for going to his daughters surgery.. my new boss at the time said they had to hire a few extra people to be slaves.. LOL..
      I think the only reason I wasn’t ever a manager or supervisor there was because that went to family and family only.. from what I hear it still is that way.

      • LOL it was also during my smart ass years to.. LOL I would pull my bulletin board jokes.. one I did was got a bunch of specimen tubes.. then came up with a beautiful sign for the national urine bank LOL LOL leave a specimen then they freeze dry it so if your ever in a severe accident where a specimen is urgently needed they could pull from the bank and add water and wala got a good specimen just leave your specimens at the receptionist desk.. LOL LOL LOL .. oh god those were the days.. even the boss filled a little cup LOL only one person figured out .. she was a smart ass to.. read the note and looked at me and said.. so what are you up to now LOL she never squealed though..

  22. 1.Does your toilet paper roll off the front or back of the roll? BACK
    2.What is your more or less honest household income (in 000’s so 40 would be $40,00-0) $82,000-00_______
    3.When you get toilet paper ready to use, are you a folder or a clumper? FOLDER

    Regular TP (single ply, cheap) or butt-friendly 2-ply, quilted, woven, scented, upscale butt-treats? BUTT-FRIENDLY 2PLY

  23. Really George? What a crappy column (I hope you don’t flush when you read this.)

    For patterned or printed TP, on which side is the pattern?

    TP and all other roll products are designed to unroll over the front. Over the front improves access, because this places the product several inches closer to one’s hand. Practical homemakers know this rule is fluid, especially in a home frequented by cats or small children.

    Income? What is this “income” of which you speak?

    Fold (unless I’m forced to use “Scott 1000”) — still folded, but wadded first (country folk who’ve used a Sears catalog or phone book will understand…)

    Single-ply, unbleached, septic-safe

    Note to Bill:

    My Dad’s been gone nearly 40 years. I have most of a package of TP he purchased. Kept in a dry, but not controlled space, in a vacation cottage, it has not decomposed, although the plastic packaging has brittled slightly.

    The sheets are also 5×5 inches in size.

    The TP I buy now is of 3.9″L x 3.809″W sheets.

    A “Triple roll” of today’s TP is no larger than a “single” roll was, in 1975…

  24. Well now this runs counter to an old hotel survey I remember reading somewhere in the last century that TP should come off the front of the roll “because people use less that way”
    -2ply Kirkland embossed… sturdy enough to not shred like the overly soft stuff.

    And with this survey, is George competing with Farcebook (sic) to sell personal data?

  25. Tornado Trap, Anyone?

    I have moved away from Tornado Territory, but I had an idea about a device you could use to pick the spot that a tornado touches down. Call it a Tornado Trap;
    Tornadoes happen when you get a layer of warm air on the ground and a layer of cold air above. At some random time, you get a ‘hole’ in the warm layer, and the cold air goes down the middle while the warm air spirals up the sides (or vice versa?) making a tornado.

    Trap 1)
    Make a crappy tunnel out of light weight cloth with a plastic spiral inside to keep it open. Fly as much as possible as high as possible along the heavy duty string of a very large kite. Tether it far from human habitation.
    The tube will chimney hot air from the ground upwards, and should start a small tornado where it’s tethered, instead of a huge one that touches down anywhere. Plan on losing the kite.

    Trap 2)
    Far from human habitation, put two flexible titanium blades in the shape of a double helix in a heavy concrete base, so they are sticking up into the air a couple hundred feet. It should look like the blades of an old push mower. When wind blows across it, the blades will put a spiral of warm air up into the atmosphere, starting a tornado when conditions are right. Hopefully just small tornadoes. The titanium blades will flex, and should survive the tornado. If you can put it on top of a small hill, that should help.

    3 Making a Fortune)
    Mount a small generator between the base of the titanium blades with fins on the top. Find out where Elon Musk is getting his grants for the GIGA factory, and tell that same agency you have a plan to generate electricity from Tethered Tornadoes. A Billion Dollars should get you started–per year, of course.
    Visit the Cayman Islands frequently, hitching a ride with a Wall-Street magnate to save costs.
    Keep it up for 10 years (or until you see 3 or more copycat Tornado Farmers), then declare bankruptcy.

    If you can follow this simple plan, you will have a retirement plan, and it will cost a lot less than Fusion Reactor research…

  26. TP Survey

    1. front
    2. usd50
    3. fold
    4. 2 ply, plain

    I rather suspect the tp survey may threaten to bowl over any pre-existing record number of daily comment responses. I’ve been using the same brand of tp for better than 25 years. As you can imagine, it gets the job done. Made here in Canada, individually wrapped, 450 sheets to a roll, each sheet measures 10.7cm x 10.1cm, NO LINT!! Seriously, if I’m flying away on an extended trip, I toss a couple of rolls in the suitcase.

    The topic reminds me of an anecdote my father tells me when he reminisces about his early schooling in the Olde Country during the late 1930’s. Everything was rationed. In the event that a student had a call of nature to answer, the teacher would measure out two sheets only of tp, with no option for a refill, from a roll secured at her desk.

    Hope you are not getting bogged down in a paper jam.

  27. If the TP rolls off the back, about one out of a hundred times you will leave a streak on the wall from a failed first wipe. Especially if you do the deed in the dark by the Braille method, half asleep.

    In Ecuador, 95% of the tp is scented. The reason for scented paper is so that when you enter a stinky bathroom (they do not flush paper here, but put it in a small trash can) you grab a wad and hold it to your nose while you do your business. None of that dainty folding process down here.

  28. 1.Does your toilet paper roll off the front or back of the roll? Back
    2.What is your more or less honest household income (in 000’s so 40 would be $40,00-0) $__150_____
    3.When you get toilet paper ready to use, are you a folder or a clumper? Clumper

    Scott’s single ply (works well with the survival septic system)

  29. I must be too rigid in my thinking. Most tp has a nice pattern pressed into it. To see it the paper must come off the roll with the pattern facing the user. Such are the joys of living in the civilized world!

  30. This is a giggle because . . . if you have kittens, it’s the back; after they get over that, the front.

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