Paper Towel Madness

Paper Towel Madness needs to stop – STANDARDIZE!

I’m a big fan of understanding what I’m buying. In a clear and straight-forward manner. To make qualified decisions. And I have to say that the paper towel madness has reached an all-time high.

What do I mean by “paper towel madness?”


paper towel madness

Wake up – they’re confusing you purposely!

In case you’re not following me, that’s a bad sign for starters.

If you suspect something is up – then good – we’re getting closer.

If you are equally maddened like I am, great – we’re on the same page.

Paper towels are purposely packaged in such a ludicrous way – they make it hard for you to determine the “best value.” Does this ring a bell?

  • “6 regular rolls”
  • “6 regular select-a-size rolls”
  • “6 big rolls = 8 regular rolls”
  • “8 giant rolls = 12 regular rolls”
  • 12=15, 8=12, 12=18, and I’ve even seen “12=30!”

Not to mention “select-a-size” rolls are different than regular rolls, and “regular rolls” are different amongst manufacturers. So fucking confusing!

They give you the specs – you have to do the math

Luckily – I think paper towel manufacturers are required to put the total square footage of paper you’re getting in any package. Most dimwits don’t realize this. And they often use mathematical abbreviations like (641F2) hoping that a majority of the idiocracy forgot what “square feet” means.

But that doesn’t mean you and I cannot find which is the “best deal” per square foot.

WTF is up with paper towel sizes

Weight your brands, do the math, make your decisions

Here are some tips to truly get the best deal.

  • For starters – you really ought to “rank” your preferred brands. The best way is based on performance. Absorbency, “ease of peel,” softness. Whatever floats your boat. (Ideally, you’d want to do a scientific test, like how many ounces does a sheet absorb, or how many sheets required to effectively clean up a 6oz. spill – but that is too technical for the average person).
  • Alternatively – If you’re analytical and good with math or ratios – figure out a way to “weight” the performance / price / value for your available brands. Is paying 25% more for Bounty worth the investment?
  • If you’re really anal – you can form a (performance) weighting system (i.e., Bounty = 1.0, Brawny = 0.9, Scott = 0.85, Sparkle = 0.8) you can determine the “value per square foot” by adjusting the cost and the multiplier. However, you’ll most likely find that the difference is negligible. As the lower cost paper towels will no doubt require “more product” to do the same job. So stick with the best performing products.

We happened to find a nice sweet spot with the Brawny brand. They’re almost on par with Bounty, at a significantly lower price.

And of course, your best bet is to buy the largest volume you can afford (the Bounty “12=30” deals are good if you can find them on sale. Stock up!)

Either way – the ONLY method for figuring out “best value” is to bust out your calculator and figure out “price per square foot.” They can range from as low as 1.7 cents per sq. ft. all the way close to 5.0 cents. So do the math!

Why can’t they just standardize?

Like I said before – the “units of measure” vary greatly between brands – and between products from the same brand. Sheet sizes vary slightly, and the “select-a-size” are the worst value.

They trick you into believing you can use less – but in the end, you’re paying more per square foot. Why not just rip a sheet? (Don’t tell that to my S.O., she’s a perfectionist).

But for real – “sheets” and “rolls” are useless when there is no standard.

Those tags on the supermarket shelves typically list “unit price” (i.e., per oz. per each, per whatever). But they cannot achieve a standard except for “per roll,” which is moot since each roll is different.

I told Hoboken-based to “break the mold” by offering a standardize unit of measure for paper towels so consumers can make quick and easy decisions. They too, refuse to buck the trend of purposely confusing the customer.

I guess I’m a dying breed that stands up for things. Most people just bend over and take it. Perhaps since I don’t have 100’s of hours of entertainment programming calling my name, I have the time to point out these facts.

Then again, how much will I really save over the course of a year by being prudent? $100?

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3 Comments on "Paper Towel Madness"

1 year 26 days ago

Don’t knock just a 100 dollar annual savings on these products alone. You do that in several other areas of routine expenditure you get closer to a free month of rent. We cut back our expensive beverage consumption costs like alcohol and coffee and got a free five-star vacation for 10 days with the savings.

1 year 26 days ago

If you think paper towels are confusing, try comparing mattresses

Mrs. L
Mrs. L
1 year 26 days ago

Glad I’m not the only one annoyed by the jargon. I think it’s more the competition between brands that has caused the confusing marketing. Now they all need to do it.