Loretta LaRoche: Leave no behind behind

Loretta LaRoche

I love statistics, but the latest one about bath tissue really got me laughing.

Did you know that we spend more than $3.7 billion a year on toilet paper? It may seem like mundane information, but not to companies who make the stuff to boost their "bottom" line.

The makers of toilet tissue appear to be on a quest to sell more by make it more user-friendly. The companies feel that Americans are ready for products that have more variety.

I don't know about you, but I really don't want to have to stand in the toilet paper aisle and try to decide which one is going to be more appropriate for my butt. It already takes me a half-hour to choose a deodorant that fits the profile of my armpit.

Why can't they leave well enough alone? After all, the one bastion of simplicity has been toilet paper.

Well, hang on to your seat because coming soon are ultra strong, extra soft, aloe and vitamin E slections. One kind even promises to make your skin soft and smooth.

How strong does toilet paper have to be? Is it going to double as a carry-on for an overnight? Vitamins in toilet paper? I guess it makes sense for individuals who don't take vitamins with their morning orange juice. They will have another opportunity when they go to the restroom.

Does it work through osmosis? And how soft and smooth does my rear end have to be? I love smooth hands and feet, but I really haven't thought much about my behind.

According to a top executive for one company, the rationale for all this new hype - beyond profit - is because bath tissue should be more than just a necessary commodity. It should become a "personal care" product.

Alan Loux, vice president of brand development for of Kimberly-Clark, says people have different needs, so they should have different products.

Well, I have yet to have one conversation with any friends who are going through toilet-tissue trauma. But you know as well as I do that this is only the beginning. I guess the new mantra for the industry will have to be "leave no behind behind."

Author, humorist, PBS star and Fortune 500 trainer Loretta LaRoche lives in Plymouth, Mass. To share your pet peeves, questions or comments, write to The Humor Potential, 50 Court St., Plymouth, MA 02360, send e-mail to, visit the Web site at, or call 800-99-TADAH (82324).