Yes – toilet paper. One of the most fascinating and confusing things around. A true toilet paper racket in the making.

Have you noticed how ridiculously insane it is to find the best value in toilet paper (and paper towels too)?

Without getting into nitty-gritty details here, I’ll say this. Do you notice (or believe) the marketing on toilet paper?


Those are some of the phrases on various “disposable” paper products out there. But they are not reliable, and should NEVER be used to determine VALUE.

There is only one way – PRICE PER SQUARE FOOT

I’ll say this now – bring a calculator (free on every phone) and simply calculate the price per square foot of product.

The formula is as such:

Price / Square Feet. (i.e., 14.99 / 480 = 3.1 cents per sq. ft.)

Rolls or sheets or whatever are irrelevant.

Quality plays a role

There are premium brands – and shoddy brands. The “Scotts” brand has some really crappy (no pun intended) products – but they do have “1000 sheets.” Okay for practical purposes, but not good for “comfort.” The brands we prefer are Contonelle and Charmin.

Always buy the “strong” over “soft” if you want to get more life out of your product.

They are both extremely soft compared to the substandard brands.

Cottonelle reduces (shink-ray) product by over 10%

Below are two photos we took recently over at the Shoprite of Clinton, NJ. We saw two different Cottonelle Toilet Paper products on the same shelf. Same UPC symbol. But different contents!

  1. The “old” one has 480 square feet.
  2. The “new” one (with the same UPC) had only 429 square feet. But a new “ultra” label, as well as a new “paper pattern” for better wiping and clean up. Yeah. 10% less.

I’m telling you right now – these products are technically identical. Except for the fact that you’re getting a crapload less (no pun intended).

Old Product:

New Product:

Anyway – calculate – and take advantage of sales

Okay – we’ve determined the toilet paper racket is real. The marketing and packaging stinks (no pun intended).

So your reliable rule of thumb should be:

1. Always calculate the price per square foot (within competing products).
2. When your brand (or the “best” brand) goes on sale – STOCK UP.
3. Never fall for the “This equals = That” nonsense. It’s a racket.

I’m just really surprised that not more people are talking about the whole marketing shenanigans that are taking place in this industry. I know for certain I can find similar publications writing about this – but they seem to be squelched.

Most folks I encounter (in person) at the markets – are completely unaware of how to determine value for pretty much anything. Or using a calculator to figure out unit cost for real.

Maybe people just don’t care anymore – or they have a lot more money than we do. But I don’t think that’s the case. They just don’t know. I’ve advocated for a new pricing unit for a long time – not price per roll, or per 100 sheets or whatever. But simple raw cost of price per square foot. And I can gaurantee that will NEVER happen. But if it does, and takes off – everyone will folow suit – and it will become the norm. Just not in my lifetime.

About the author


NJroute22 (site admin) is an avid traveler along NJ Route 22 (and almost all of central New Jersey!) Family man, pet lover, and property owner who has a natural curiosity for everything around.