The other day I read that Mother Teresa used to have her daughter Missionaries of Charity wash each morning with a sliver of soap from a bar that had been divided six ways and brush their teeth with cold ashes from the stove.
I am SO with her! Think of the yearly toothpaste savings (though realizing them would take awhile as I would first have to buy a stove, I guess wood to burn in it, and a house to put it in).
This in turn put me in mind of dental floss, the cost of which has long been a personal pet peeve. What, is the stuff spun by eunuch silkworms? It’s THREAD, for heaven’s sake! Tell me three hundred yards doesn’t cost about .00008 cents! Tell me the inventor of Glide isn’t sitting in a Frank Lloyd Wright mansion with his or her own personal in-house dentist, laughing his or her way to the bank while we peons down below saw away with our overpriced length of cheap cotton…
But it was while trolling the aisles of Rite-Aid recently that an outrageous markup, an unconscionable profit margin, a staggering cost of daily life to which I had hitherto given scant thought was borne in upon me.
I refer of course to toilet paper. $8.69 plus (almost 10%) tax for 12 rolls of Simplify, the cheapest brand on the shelf. Are they hand-pressing the stuff from Egyptian papyrus now?
There has got to be a cheaper way, I thought, and came right home and googled “industrial toilet paper.” Maybe I could go with those gigantic rolls they have in airports and office buildings, I mused. Of course since my TP then wouldn’t fit in a regular holder I’d have to let it sit there on the floor dripping water on it as I emerged from the shower and also, if someone came to visit, reveal that I’m insane. Still, I’ve gone to greater lengths than that to save a buck.
Anyway, who knew there’s a whole world out there of janitorial supplies? On Cleanit, for example, you can buy 60 rolls of Scott Extra Soft for $48.86, 10 4-packs of Charmin Ultra Soft for $36.94, or–this last really caught my eye–24 rolls of Windsoft 2-ply “Recycled” for $11.76.
I must say, though, the description gave me pause: “Premium wrapper adds an upscale touch to any facility. Brighter and whiter…Safe for sewer and septic systems. Individually wrapped…Softer and more absorbent toilet tissue provides ‘at-home quality’. Meets EPA guidelines for post-consumer content. 40% post-consumer waste content”…
“Post-consumer waste content“? Is it made from other people’s…? GROSS! Probably all TP is, and probably half our food, but if so I REALLY don’t want to know. More to the point, 60 rolls of Scott weigh 16 pounds and cost $9.90 UPS ground to ship, thereby more or less offsetting any savings.
Again, Mother Teresa was ahead of the curve as apparently people in India often just use their hand.
I’m not quite ready for that. But I did happen upon the wikipedia entry for toilet paper which is highly entertaining and contains some atypical “personal opinion”; to wit: “Toilet paper is a soft paper product (tissue paper) used to maintain personal hygiene after human defecation or urination. However, it can also be used for other purposes such as blowing one’s nose when one has a cold or absorbing common spills around the house, although paper towels are more used for this particular purpose.”
What??! People don’t use paper towels to absorb common spills! They use their shirt sleeve, or the hem of their hoodie!
Anyway, you can also learn on this wiki entry about hygiene during the Tang Dynasty; the use of wool, hemp, lace (!), sand, seaweed, and corncobs as TP substitutes; TP ply, pattern, and dispensers; and the Whole World Toilet Paper Museum.
So there’s my latest budget-tip foray. Writing it up was much more fun than looking for a job.
Have a great weekend!