The art of flushonomics

The problem with the credit crunch is that it either takes away your ability to savour the finer things in the life, or makes you feel guilty about enjoying them when you are savouring them. Whether the object of your affection is a rich and decadent chocolate cake or a sleek and sophisticated flat screen TV, it seems that even the vaguest suggestion of pleasure has to be consigned to the scrapheap these days for fear of what the neighbours will say.

Actually, while we’re on the subject, can I just complain about the phrase ‘credit crunch’? Rarely can one meaningless phrase have been repeated on so many occasions in such a short period of time. Indeed, I put you all on notice that if I hear that saying one more time, I may have to stick your liquidity crisis where the sun don’t shine.

Anyway, as I was saying, ostentation is out, and poverty is the new black. Or pink. Or whatever colour it is that’s apparently ‘in’ these days. We are quite literally in a race to the bottom, with people finding new ways to out-poor each other. In Manhattan, that means only having six eggs for breakfast – I know, the inhumane cruelty of this financial downturn.

But wherever you look, shops are having sales, restaurants are offering bargain menus, and people are taking more public transport than ever before. If this need to be seen to scrimp and save gets any worse, you can almost see city bosses considering a name change to Nearly New York.

There is one area, however, that New Yorkers – and indeed Americans in general – do not need to save any further. An item that has already been value-engineered down to the minimum possible level, and which would be rendered (even more) useless for its purpose by any further cost savings.

Because, to be honest, toilet paper in this country is – and please do excuse the pun – really crap. I had no idea that paper could be created as thin as toilet roll seems to be in this country – I probably used thicker tracing paper at school. It almost makes me nostalgic for the days of that scratchy shiny toilet paper that your grandmother used to put in outside loos; it may have removed six layers of skin every time you used it, but at least you didn’t get any embarrassing tear-related incidents on a regular basis.

It is easier to thread a super-sized McDonalds consumer through the eye of a needle than to find double-ply toilet roll in your local store. And rather than acting as a saving device, I’m convinced that American loo roll effectively costs you more, given that you have to fold it over at least thirteen times before you can create some kind of barrier that might give your hand a fighting chance of coming out unscathed.

I’m writing to the UN anyway. They’ve been looking for better ways of identifying how countries are developing, and I can see no better benchmark than the average thickness of a state’s toilet paper. You can have all the healthy water and trade surpluses you like, but if you can’t relieve yourself without fear of the consequences, you’re still in the third world as far as I’m concerned.

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Incredibly, it seems that I’ve reached my 300th post. How fitting that it was about a load of s**t. If you haven’t already – do add A Brit Out Of Water to your RSS feeds, follow me on Twitter, or just send me an email to say hello. If you read regularly and want to be added to the blogroll at the side, then drop me a line – the email address is in the (otherwise non-existent) ‘about section’.

But most of all, thank you for reading and (particularly) for commenting over the last eighteen months or so – it’s more appreciated than I can ever begin to tell you. Or more indeed than I ever would tell you. After all, I am British. You don’t expect me to express emotion, do you?

15 thoughts on “The art of flushonomics

  1. Silverback

    And 300, I say 300 little pearls of wit and wisdom they were, to be sure, to be sure.

    (what, you’ve never met an Irish Fred Elliot ?)

    Keep ’em coming, Dylan.

  2. Apsidal

    I so agree with you. It seems extraordinary that in a country where bigger is better, they should skimp so much in this regard. And for why? Perhaps they have different “wiping” techniques here that you have to learn while waiting at Ellis Island. Hearty congratulations on reaching 300. Every one a gem!

  3. Almost American

    Hmm – here in New England, I have no problem finding 2-ply toilet paper.

    “that scratchy shiny toilet paper” was standard issue in every school I went to. I always thought they were worried we’d waste softer paper by using for things like blowing our nose.

    I’m still looking (for a blogpost) for a video of the American (Charmin?) toilet paper ad where a mother says to her child “Do you know there are countries where you can’t buy this brand of toilet paper? What do you think of that?” And the child replies, “I might like to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there.”

  4. Margaret

    What a chuckle, haha. Takes me back to my young days in the 50s in New Zealand when my grandads Saturday night task was to tear into squares the week’s newspaper for use in the loo for the next week. The only problem was that if you found something really interesting to read it was quite likely someone had already used the bit that came next. Margaret

  5. Brooklyn

    Margaret:
    As a Kiwi, I guess that it wasn’t intentional, but your reference to the use of newspaper as toilet paper was an amazingly appropriate,to the point of apparent clairvoyance, response to my “Inquiring minds want to know.”
    It was the slogan of a truly excreable (pun intended) US newspaper called The National Enquirer that made the crummiest London tabloid look like the (London or New York) Timesm

  6. Expat Mum

    Congrats on 300. And, if I remember rightly, it was IZOL. The stinky, scratchy stuff.

    Anyway, I was going to post on this but I seem to have a bit of a reputation for toilet-related content, so I’ll just say it here.
    You know the toilet paper is bad when there’s an ad currently running about toilet paper that doesn’t rip and stick to your bum. They’ve managed to make it unrevolting because it’s the ad with the big cuddly bears. Charmin perhaps? But next time you see it, think about it. Ugh!

  7. Josephine

    I’m with you on this one….
    Why is it the restaurants, and public places, have the worst toilet tissue ?
    At home, we use the “Charmin”, at least it’s got some “umph”.
    My grandaughter visited England with me some years ago. We spent one day at Conway Castle.
    When she used the “facilities” there, she had taken some of the shiny, hard toilet paper, as a souvenir, ( the kind we used to have in school), she thought it must have been there as long as the castle since she had never seen paper like that !
    Congratulations by the way, on your 300th post !

  8. Trixie Trouble

    Hmm . . .you might say that, to coin an American phrase, it ain’t worth s*@t!

  9. Iota

    I think it was IZOL MEDICATED.

    One-ply loo paper – who on earth invented it? I am also at a loss to explain why there is a brand (decent 2-ply) called “Quilted Northern”. Quilted, I get, but Northern? Why would loo paper be either Northern or Southern?

    Congrats on the 300th post. I have indeed added you to my Bloglines feeds.

  10. Dylan Post author

    Brooklyn – no update as yet…I keep forgetting to go to pick up my dry cleaning! As soon as I get any information, you’ll be the first to know…

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