Life is Too Short for Bad Toilet Paper

Can you relate? I bought a humungous package of toilet paper which cost nearly $20, and it turned out to be one ply and totally awful. (I know, another first world problem.) I was stuck with the remaining twenty-three crummy rolls I didn’t want to use.

Has this ever happened to you? Okay, not necessarily with TP but with any product or service that wasn’t easy or even possible to return? Do you trudge back to the store and explain your way into the better TP? Or do you give it away and start over?

Perhaps you just get over it, use it up and move on … without making a big deal about it? What? Are you saying I don’t get to complain, moan and groan, or be pissy about my purchasing mistake?

Handling life’s little foibles?

I’ve always felt if I did my part as a good consumer (make sure my check didn’t bounce, followed any product usage rules, etc.), the seller should do theirs. When you’re a large company or another person of power and you don’t do your part as a product or service provider, I can get all weepy and wonder what I did wrong or why you aren’t keeping up with your part of the bargain.

Recently, when I was trying to get my last book published via Amazon, I ran into a huge problem that prevented the book from getting successfully uploaded into the software program provided by the company. Immediate visions of falling down the techie hole of despair and lack of understanding or the ability to resolve the issue bounced around in my head. The email request for assistance from Amazon notified me they’d respond within 72 hours. I saw that and thought, “I’ll never hear back and when I do, it’ll be with a list of light blue links to automated responses to what they think might be my problem.” None of the links would apply, I was sure. And, if I did get to work with a live person about what was going on, how could I begin to explain a situation I couldn’t figure out? [Read on for the ultimate outcome to this problem.]

It doesn’t have to be TP or dealing with a large company

Dealing with people – friends and family – can create the same kinds of disappointments and frustrations. It can be almost weekly when someone says something that hurts or that doesn’t come off as the joke it was meant to be. People can make us feel momentarily crushed, or wanting to retaliate, or exasperated by their thoughtlessness. This happens in our lives frequently, that is, unless you’ve entirely given up and don’t leave your home anymore in the hopes of avoiding all possible real world scenarios.

Cheap, concrete, civil advice when things don’t go right

Please note: eating that sugary cake, having a dirty martini, or shopping for yet another pair of black pants won’t do anything positive to help you feel better when the TP is too thin and you have a ton of it or when the manuscript won’t load into the mega-company’s software and they’re not responding to your cry for help.

There is something you can do right in that moment whether you’re at your computer and the back of your neck is throbbing in time with your headache or when you use a Kleenex box’s worth of TP every time you pee.

Look around.

In that moment when I sent off the email off to Amazon, which was right after I tried to find a place to store 23 rolls of unsatisfactory TP, I looked around in my apartment. There was that perfectly ripening banana on the counter that I would enjoy in a day or two. There was a package with a product I was returning to a retailer that didn’t require any postage or a trip to the post office. There was my loving, smoochy-smoochy girl, Kali, loving me up in spite of my being pissy. There was the beautiful view out my apartment window of trees in full fall foliage. And there was a delicious cup of coffee I was going to consume shortly. All these small and silly things sound too simple, right?

But they weren’t. They reminded me of a larger sense of life’s enjoyment, devoid of problems and hassles. It didn’t make them go away, but it felt like I was being bathed in the goodness of the simple things in my rich life. I wasn’t going to let anything take those good feelings away from me.

I took a break from the hassles, put on headphones, worked on some origami Christmas ornaments and listened to classical music. The hassles will still be there but my perspective improved.


When life gives you disappointing toilet paper, look around to see what goodness there is in the small things that surround you. I promise you that you’ll find lots to celebrate that overshadows life’s little foibles.

[Amazon problem resolution: they contacted me within 12 hours and made one quick suggestion that resolved my problem and allowed the manuscript to be uploaded immediately. So much for all my complaining! Oh, and I gave the one-ply TP away and bought the better stuff.]