The thesis: Saving is also for the ass

Hakle has filed for bankruptcy. Anyone who thought it was "just toilet paper" suddenly ended up in the middle of world politics.

An empty roll of toilet paper

How much can you charge for toilet paper? It was precisely this question that ultimately crushed Hakle Photo: Imago

Another shock wave shook the country: The toilet paper manufacturer Hakle files for bankruptcy. Since 1928, the traditional company from Düsseldorf has been flattering German bottoms. His flagship product Hakle Feucht revolutionized German intimate hygiene 40 years ago and, like Tempo handkerchiefs or Nescafé, found its way into general usage. But that seems to be over now.

Oh well, the readers think, that's strange: is the desperation already so all-encompassing that nobody wipes their bottom anymore? She remembers the year 2020 with the legendary run of scaredy-cats and greedy-necks on everything that even remotely looked like toilet paper. The first lockdowns in the course of the corona pandemic, which was still completely foreign at the time led to bizarre mass skipping acts: Inexperienced preppers took the second step before the first and instead of arming themselves with food, they first used tools to eliminate them. The domestic manufacturers did not keep up with the delivery. How can it be that someone like that just goes broke now?

The demand is unbroken. Toilet paper, kitchen rolls, handkerchiefs are always needed. Retailer sales are significantly higher than last year, and ever since toilet paper was discovered as an investment during the pandemic, every self-respecting household has had a pallet or two stashed away.

But how much can you charge for toilet paper? This is precisely the quandary in which Hakle was ultimately crushed. Because cheap mass products are considered to be particularly delicate in terms of pricing. Retail price increases of around 20 percent can currently be observed, and offers for toilet paper are already appearing on Ebay. This often means that the limit of what is reasonable has already been reached for customers.

Here, too, the citizen will have to save. One, at most two leaves per stool; responsible defecation should by no means aim for more. Economics Minister Robert Habeck is absolutely right: Wherever people take a quick shower, they can also be cleaned quickly.

At the same time, of course, more sustainable wiping moves must be made, and the individual sheets used more intensively. Corresponding tutorials on Youtube and could bring the ergonomically optimized methods didactically closer to the chair-walkers. "One sheet, everything smooth!" or "Think of Olaf, if the anus / hangs more than a tenth of a fathom" - this is what an official campaign by the federal government might look like.

The restrictions will be anything but easy for end users. In bars, the papers are handed out individually at the counter. And especially consumers with a lot of hair around the rosette will miss Hakle, the leading manufacturer of moist toilet paper, with which they always felt the safest when it came to cleanliness.

The reason for the price dilemma in the hygienic paper sector, as with so many other goods, is the war. In addition to the disruption in supply chains and the interest rate turnaround by the European Central Bank (ECB), the rising energy costs weigh particularly heavily: the drying processes in the production of toilet paper, whether dry or moist, are extremely gas-intensive. And even those who try to wash out the carefully used toilet paper at home in order to reuse it will be able to confirm that drying over the turned-on heater has its price. In a self-experiment, it can be understood what is happening in the industry on a large scale. That's downright shit.

Because if you thought it was “yes just Toilet paper”, suddenly ends up in the middle of world politics and its biggest crisis in decades. Under no circumstances should one underestimate the highly explosive conflict potential when a population suddenly lacks basic things or the prices for them climb to levels that the masses can no longer bear.

This usually applies to bread – the bread riots in Tunisia in 1984 are by no means the only example – and toilet paper is the bread of the Germans. It has had this meaning since 2020 at the latest. Therefore, the concern that an increase in price and shortage of this perfectly normal consumer product could trigger unrest is anything but unfounded.

This raises the question of whether the gas levy is coming too late here. Because obviously it would have been more than appropriate in this case. Where a company has to give up, there is hardly any suspicion that a war profiteer is being pampered with tax money. Speaking of which, of course we all hope that the cloth diaper will not also experience a revival in the course of the developments. That would hardly be reasonable for the householder, who is already more than busy drying and regularly turning the washed toilet paper.

But not only the people have a downside, but also the bankruptcy of Hakle: Damp toilet paper is uneconomical and unecological. Its manufacturing method is based on that of non-woven fabric, production and material are more complex than with ordinary paper. In addition, numerous varieties are mixed with ingredients that are harmful to health, such as parabens and surfactants, which then circulate in the drinking water. And in the sewers, the trouble really begins. Because wet wipes are not insignificant components of huge so-called fatbergs, as they repeatedly clog the outdated sewage system in London, for example.

Similar to the home office or 9-euro ticket, the crisis could also become an opportunity here by promoting a long-overdue rethink. Doing without wet toilet paper is just the beginning, more conscious use of the dry one is a good next step. Perhaps the daily newspaper, cut into clean strips and hung up by the locus, could be put to a second and final use that was thought long forgotten, just like it used to be. It's not getting any easier with digitization, but the thick weekend edition alone is probably enough for the whole week. At least when used sparingly.

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