Laura Wilkerson

Laura Wilkerson
July 27


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JUNE 27, 2011 10:13AM

My Tiny Hypocrisy: The Quilted Northern Conundrum

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            I’m pretty good at boycotts. I haven’t had a Pez since they refused to pull their realistic, gun-shaped Pez dispensers from the market and I really like Pez. So when I came across a list of products manufactured by the Koch Brother I decided to boycott them too.

            I had long harbored a tremor of guilt over our choice of toilet tissue. Ninety-eight percent of all toilet paper sold in the United States is made from virgin fiber which is longer than recycled fiber and easier to fluff.  In contrast, 40% of toilet paper sales in Europe and Latin America are of brands made from recycled paper. Allen Hershkowitz, senior scientist for the Natural Resources Defense Council, stated that due to the harvesting of forests and the chemicals used in the production of pulp manufacturing and using toilet paper made from virgin fibers, “is a lot worse than driving Hummers in terms of global warming pollution.”

            I had not acted on this tingle of guilt because it was a small tingle and laziness of both the moral and bodily kind, along with my husband’s hemorrhoids, kept me from searching out the 2% of toilet paper made from recycled fibers. I really think I would have to travel over twenty miles to find such a thing. It wasn’t until I saw our preferred brand, Quilted Northern, linked to the Koch brothers that I was spurred into action, which first took the form of a gentle statement.

            “I found out that Quilted Northern is owned by the Koch brothers,” I told my husband, “I really don’t want a penny of my money going to the Koch brothers. I think we should switch brands.”

            “I don’t know,” said my husband, “It’s a really good brand,” and he continued to bring home packages of Quilted Northern as needed.

            I didn’t press the issue but when I found myself at the grocery charged with buying toilet paper I chose Cottonelle.

            “You got Cottenelle?” my husband asked when he spotted the package perched on the landing, “Oh, I know, you don’t want to give any money to the Koch brothers.”

            “That’s right,” I said and the next package, which he bought, was also Cottonelle.

            “Do you want to walk with me to the bank and then go to Babb’s to get toilet paper?” My husband asked my son, Max, as he was headed out to the bus stop.

            “Sure,” said Max and he brought home a doulbe roll twelve pack of  Quilted Northern.

            “Why didn’t you get Cottonelle?” I asked him, “Quilted Northern is made by the Koch brothers and I don’t want my money going to the Koch brothers.”

            “I don’t care,” Max said, “The Koch brother make nice toilet paper. The Koch brothers wipe my ass real soft and good.”

            “Max bought Quilted Northern,” I said to my husband when he returned later in the day.

            “Well,” he replied, “have you noticed how Cottonelle doesn’t seem to want to tear, even at the perforations?”

            “No,” I replied, “In fact, I find Cottonelle to be superior to Quilted Northern in many respects. The only problem I find with Cottonelle is the width of the sheets themselves.”

            “So you don’t mind if I try other brands?

            “No not at all,” I said, as long as they aren’t Koch brands. This also includes Angel Soft and Soft ‘n Gentle. The Kochs own those too.”

            “That kind of limits things,”

            “Yeah, especially because Charmin is out. It’s gotten so powdery you walk away with it all over your clothes. Mr. Whipple must be spinning in his grave over that one. Scott’s out too. It has zero absorbency. Also, no Brawny towels, Sparkle towels, no Vanity Fair paper products, not counting the magazine, and no Lycra. Lycra will be hard to avoid. It’s in so much clothing.

            “Not in wool,” my husband added helpfully.

            “Yeah, but people generally don’t wear wool underwear,” I said.

            The Koch brothers. They wipe your ass real soft and good.

            Right before they ram it to ya.


Pez Shooter 


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Good post.

Actually we should forgo t.p. and use bidets. O wait a minute, they encourage more use of precious water resources. But I liked the one in a hotel in Turkey that produced a shot of cold water to the exact spot - excellent engineering! Being as it was, um, refreshingly cold, there was no temptation to use more water than necessary. Hmm...but then some mopping up is required and we're back to the paper dilemma...

Anyway, funny thoughtful post. (Has your husband tried Prep H?)
My husband has a thing for Quilted Northern too. Although I didn't know about the Koch brothers connection, I brought home Cottonelle one time when it was on sale and I got pretty much the same reaction that you got. I don't have the sensitive tush that my husband does and I would buy most brands. But to avoid conflict, we stick to Quilted Northern.
Wish I had a wheelbarrow load of those gun Pez shooters. One in the package sells for hundreds of dollars! LOL! For collectors only. I can see how boneheaded the idea was. I wonder how many kids went to the hospital with eye injuries or choked on one that shot too far into their throat. I remember they had a pretty good range!
We too debate toilet paper but we've never introduced the Koch Brothers argument. Mainly what we scoff at are the incessant ads on TV featuring bears and other critters. For Christ sake, it's butt wipe! As long as it gets the job done and you don't poke your finger through. But, this whole thing of longer fibers for softer paper has me wondering. We really need to be using 2nd growth and recycled paper for butt wipe. It's so damned incredibly wasteful.
Nice PEZ dispenser!
You are all very lucky to not have any real horrors to worry about.

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