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German toilet paper calculator takes aim at COVID-19 panic-buying

German toilet paper calculator takes aim at COVID-19 panic-buying

Workers ration toilet paper to one package per Costco member in an effort to stem hoarding due to fears of COVID-19, at a Costco store in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Mar 14, 2020. (Photo: Reuters/Chris Helgren)

BERLIN: The COVID-19 pandemic has sent panicked shoppers across Europe into a toilet-paper buying frenzy. But how much do you really need? And what to do if the unthinkable happens and you run out?

A German online calculator is here to help.

At the Blitzrechner website, curious users can work out how long their stockpile will last.

READ: Rolling in toilet paper: Australian family over-orders coveted commodity

READ: Armed gang steals toilet rolls in panic-buying hit Hong Kong

Just type in how many rolls you have and your individual "usage behaviour" and the calculator will tell you for how many days you'll be covered.

For true aficionados, there is an expert mode where you can add the length of your quarantine and your average number of sheets per wipe.

Generally speaking, people tend to wildly overestimate their TP needs, the website says.

"Many people use more toilet paper than needed. For a 'number one', one or two sheets should suffice," it adds.

READ: Australian toilet paper truck catches fire sparking new tissue tizzy

READ: Commentary: COVID-19 forces Japan to rethink its view of toilet paper

The website also offers some suggested alternatives to toilet paper should the supermarket shelves be bare.

Washcloths, strips of old rags and even a quick shower are all good options. But be careful not to flush kitchen roll as it could clog up the toilet.

Germany, like many European countries, has seen demand for toilet paper spiral since the start of the outbreak.

Similar tongue-in-cheek stockpiling calculators have sprung up in other countries too, like the UK site

READ: There’s plenty of toilet paper in the US – so why are people hoarding it?

READ: Australian man tasered in toilet paper scrap

Videos of scuffles in supermarkets have been circulating widely on social media - one argument over toilet paper in a supermarket in Mannheim last week even ended in a fistfight that required police intervention.

Chancellor Angela Merkel set a better example when she was photographed doing her weekly shop last Friday with just one pack of toilet paper in her trolley - and four bottles of wine.

That's just how Merkel rolls.

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Source: AFP/zl