Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Issues With Tissues

Are paper towels a better deal?

Mr. See loves his tissues.  He keeps boxes all over the house - by the bed, by his chair, in the car, you name it!  And for some reason when he uses a tissue, he leaves it next to the box.  So every morning, I go on tissue patrol and pick up the used tissues and throw them all away.   Why he saves them, I do not know.

I have issues with tissues.  They are flimsy and fall apart.  So if I have to sneeze, I grab two.  Good luck with that.  Tissue boxes seem to have two modes of operation.  When new, they begrudgingly let you have a half a torn tissue, as the box is packed tight. As they empty, they tend to make you pull out a wad of 15 tissues or so - forcing you to separate out two and stuff the rest back in.  In the meantime, you have already sneezed.

They are expensive, too - and deceptively marketed.  You have to look at each box carefully, as a "large" box may hold fewer tissues than the smaller ones.  The worse at the "boutique" boxes, which are square.  Cute to look at, but they generally hold half as many tissues as the rectangular boxes.

Then there is the texture - soft.  Too soft.  They leave tissue lint all over your face and make you sneeze yet again.  The whole concept is so poorly thought out, really.

Mark wanted me to find a tissue box holder for the camper, so the tissue boxes aren't floating around.  Good luck with that.  In addition to the various sizes (boutique box, large rectangular, small rectangular) there are few choices to be had - and they are expensive!  $35 for a tissue box holder?  Be serious.  And the cheap plastic kind from China are metric and designed to fit metric sized boxes - measure before ordering!

So, what's not to like about tissues?

I read online a few years ago that "Millenials are ruining tissues!" - yes, everyone's favorite whipping boys (and girls) have gone and ruined yet another thing.  It seems that, according to the article, broke Millenials are making the logical decision to just use paper towels - as paper towels, tissues, and napkins (no word on toilet paper - you have to draw the line somewhere!).  Fold a mini-sheet in half, it even makes a nice coaster!

In a way, it makes a lot of sense:

  • One less thing to buy
  • Better strength and texture
  • Small-sheet paper towels are about the same size
  • Handier to have around - multiple uses
  • Better selection of towel holders.

If you go to a wholesale club, you can buy a package of paper towels that is so large, it won't fit in your car - and for not a lot of money!   And they come in variable sizes - about 1/3 the size of a "traditional" sheet.  Clever, those Millenials!

And in a way, we are already using them as tissues.  When you have to sneeze and the tissue box is not around, but the paper towels are, you can use those.  They are nice and thick, so they don't fall to pieces when you use them.

But are paper towels cheaper than tissues? Let's "do the math!" on this.

We bought a giant package of paper towels at Sam's Club for $18.98 for 15 "mega-rolls" of 150 (mini) sheets each, or about 0.843 cents per sheet.  Down at the Dollar Tree, a box of "Scotties" 2-ply tissues contains 128 sheets and costs $1.25 or about 0.97 cents per sheet.  Clearly the paper towels win, mostly because they don't come in a box.

By the way, it pays to look at tissue boxes - and paper towels as well.   The number of sheets can vary considerably, even for the same sized box or roll.  And it goes without saying that prices are all over the map - with some name-brand paper towels selling for nearly twice that of store brand.  And by the way, buying single rolls of paper towels at Dollar Tree is probably the worst bargain.  They are not very good quality, they don't come in the mini-sheet tear size, they are small rolls, and they are $1.25 a roll, whereas the "mega-rolls" at the wholesale club are under a dollar.

So what does this mean?  Maybe I will buy Mr. See another paper towel holder for the camper, instead of a tissue box holder.  Yea, I know, the tissue people advertise how "soft" their tissues are (one even promotes a brand that is pre-moistened! Disgusting!).  But quite frankly, my schnoz is not that sensitive, and actually, the "soft" tissues tickle my nose and make me sneeze, and since they have such fine dusty lint, that makes it even worse.

Of course, there are aesthetics to consider.  Your friends and neighbors are not going to be impressed if they come to visit and there is a roll of paper towels on the coffee table.  A box of tissues in an attractive holder, such as this Longerberger basket tissue box (yes, we have one, a friend was into it, and yes, it is an MLM scheme, and yes the company went bankrupt, and yes, their office building was shaped like a basket, and yes, I hear they are back in business again).  After all, you want to be stylin' and you care what the neighbors think!  Of course, there are cheaper tissue box covers available.  Check out the thrift store or local garage sales.

So maybe the tissue is not extinct.  But then again, I find myself reaching for paper towels more and more, when I need a tissue, napkin, or coaster.  Of course, paper towels as we know them, are a relatively modern invention that became popular in my lifetime.  What did we do before thenWell, we had old kitchen rags laying about (germ nightmare) and the "pocket handkerchief" which was also disgusting.  I am not sure we are going back to those anytime soon - although our kitchen is well-stocked with tea towels and we don't use paper towels for plebian things like drying our hands.

But tissues - I have issues with them, beginning with how they all come out at once from the box (or not at all).  I don't recall the packaging fighting me so much back in the day.  Perhaps it is a scheme from Big Paper Towel to get me to over-consume.


NOTE:  I have not called tissues, "Kleenex" here, as that is a registered trademark of Kimberly-Clark, and not a generic descriptor of tissues.  You can spot a Boomer or "Greatest Generation Ever" person by the way they throw trademarks around like that.  "Let me Xerox that for you!" they say, or "Let's Simonize the car!" or "hand me a Kleenex" or "Put a Band-Aid on that!"

It is quaint, and back in the day, companies encouraged people to use their trademarks as verbs or as generic terms - until they risked losing their marks by becoming generic. That's why the Johnson&Johnson people refer to it as "Band-Aid® brand adhesive strips" - in an attempt to claw-back their trademark rights.

As for Xerox - are they even still in business?