Friday, June 26, 2009


At first I thought the Bunwad-Merchants were pulling a Hershey Bar Scam on us.

The Hershey Bar Scam, for those who are not pruned-up enough to remember, is how the chocolate people dealt with fluctuating raw material costs. For many years, you could buy a Hershey milk chocolate bar for a mere five cents... but it wasn’t always the same size. In 1930, that nickel bar weighed two full ounces, but by 1968 it had shrunk to ¾ ounce. It’s simply a hidden price increase, and it works because people pay way more attention to the price of the package than they do to the amount they buy. But it’s the unit cost that really counts.

For a moment, I suspected that the Asswipe Boys were taking a page from the same book. Or pulling a sheet off the same roll, to customize the analogy.

Most of us are accustomed to using two-ply paper, except on boats and in cheap hotels, where single-ply is the norm. (Ecch. Ouch.) Two plies seem to provide the perfect balance between softness and durability: You want to get the job done with a minimum of irritation and chafing, while at the same time not generating a “bush full of berries” (so to speak).

Technological advance continues apace, however, and the World o’ Bunwad is no exception. Quilted Northern has introduced their “Ultra Plush” line, with three (count ’em) plies of tush-friendly paper. Hey, the razor-blade people are doing it... why not the Asswipers?

When I first heard about this Wonderful New Invention, I was skeptical. I’m not a fan of overly soft Tee-Pee, mainly because it tends to form those nasty dingleberries, the existence of which has now been officially acknowledged by the Charmin Bears:

(That’s right! Bears got dingleberries!)

But a couple of weeks ago, when the Missus and I were on a Bunwad-Hunt, we found a great big package of this Ultra Plush stuff and decided to give it a try, thanks to its being heavily discounted.

It was the Missus who first noticed the difference.

Never mind that the paper was, indeed, both softer and more prone to berrification. That was bad enough... but the clincher was the dimensions of the roll. The three-ply rolls are a half-inch narrower.

It’s not so much that the roll looks weird on a standard Tee-Pee Dispenser. It’s that I’m used to having a certain amount of papery real-estate in my hand when I commence to wiping. I like the roll to be at least as wide as my hand, for obvious reasons.

The package, of course, tells you how many sheets per roll you get, how thick they are, and the dimensions of each sheet, as well as the total area on the roll. But I suspect that a vanishingly small number of people actually look to see the dimensions of the sheets. The Quilted Northern Ultra Plush sheets are are 4 x 4 inches, compared to 4½ x 3½ inches for the traditional products. Narrower but longer.

So it’s not really a Hershey Bar Scam after all. The narrow sheets actually have 1.5% more area. Wheeee!

But I still prefer the traditional Roll Dimensions. I mean, let’s pull an extrapolatio ad absurdum, shall we? If this trend continues, in a few years we’ll see twenty-ply bunwad with individual sheets measuring ½ x 36 inches. They’ll be really soft, but you’ll have to use ’em like Rectal Floss. Oy.

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