Off the Roll

by Sarina Rhinehart

Students weigh in on quality of toilet paper

You just ate a greasy calorie-packed quesadilla and onion rings from Tyler’s.

Now you have to drop a load.

You go to the closest bathroom, preferably one in a secluded area.

Nothing slows you down- except having to spend a lifetime bunching up the thin toilet paper that most students agree is an unspoken flaw of Simpson College.

“It’s an atrocity,” junior Keegan Carson said. “It feels like sandpaper, and there are holes in it. I have to take out over 10 sheets just to try and wipe.”

Simpson uses a one-ply toilet paper, meaning it is a thin, single layer sheet.

Director of Campus Services John Harris said that Simpson spends $20,516 on toilet paper each year. Simpson uses 435 cases of toilet paper yearly; however, the amount of rolls per case varies because different sized rolls are used in different buildings.

Some students even admit they look forward to going home to use softer, thicker toilet paper.

“When I go home, it feels like I’m using a quilt for toilet paper because of how bad Simpson’s is,” said junior Brittany Robb.

Many students agree that Simpson should invest in better toilet paper.

“I didn’t pay $30,000+ dollars a year to wipe with tissue paper, yikes!” said senior Olivia Pasker.

There is two- or three-ply toilet paper options that are thicker, softer, and more absorbent, but Harris says there are some drawbacks to using two- or three-ply toilet paper.

“While Simpson is open to the use of two-ply toilet paper, the cost of the product itself is not the only factor for us using one-ply,” Harris said. “If we go with two-ply, we’ve just doubled our use.  Now the argument can be made that if a thicker product is used, then the end user would use less. This sounds good, but people generally use the same amount.”

In Harris’ more than two years at Simpson, he has only received one concern about the toilet paper.

“Let’s say they used 1/3 less of the two-ply, then they are still using 30 percent more than before of the single ply,” Harris said. “This would be a price increase. We would also have to include the amount of time it would take my staff to deliver and install the extra rolls. This would require 30 percent more of our time.” 

Harris says another problem is that a thicker toilet paper would directly affect the operation of the toilets and Simpson’s old pipes.

“We already get quite a few calls to unplug toilets and clogged lines,” Harris said. “This thicker paper would cause additional time for our maintenance staff to clear these fixtures and lines. To be consistent I’ll say this will cause one of my staff to spend 30 percent more time unclogging toilets.”

Even though there are many advantages to using one-ply toilet paper, students are still unhappy with it.

“It feels disgusting,” said freshman Courtney Ford. “It feels like sandpaper.”

Freshmen Brock Myers and Micah Watson expressed a strong distaste for Simpson’s toilet paper.

“How many wipes does it take to get a clean button?” Myers asked. “Zero because it can’t get the job done,” Watson said.

“That stuff isn’t fit to wipe your… you know what,” said junior Matt Comer.

Carson admitted that he has a couple of friends who actually buy their own toilet paper because they cannot stand to use Simpson’s. Carson believes that a private institution should be able to provide higher quality toilet paper.

Early this year at a conference, Carson tweeted out, “That sad moment when you come to the realization that the convention center has better toilet paper than your private college…”

“I feel comfortable in saying that the school is not planning on adding any additional staff members just so we can have two-ply toilet paper,” Harris said.