A Tale of Two Places: The Virus, The Economy, and the TP

It’s a tale of two places, really: the big metropolitan area of Des Moines and small towns. They are being riddled with the same virus, and yet the reactions, not to mention. the toilet paper situation, are different. The Coronavirus began in China in December of 2019 and since then has caused large economies to shut down business after business, leading to a worldwide economic crisis. In many of the reports given, the news talks about the pandemic people don’t talk about the small towns that are being hit, places like my town.

It’s a point of view that needs to be shared.

My town has a population of about 3,500 people, and right away I will admit that besides the state government enforced closing, business wise, not much has changed here. Sure, people are not quite as willing to come over and talk to me when I’m out walking the dog, but the traffic still ebbs and flows as it did before the virus. People are concerned about the virus here, but many people in small towns like mine don’t have the luxury of not going to work because of the virus. The people I have met here are nurses, grocery store employees, and hourly employees that don’t have the ability to work from home.

In the Des Moines areas, some companies have been voluntarily shutting down for the health of their customers. I could list a whole list of places in the Des Moines metro that closed down before they were required, and people should be thankful, but businesses in small towns don’t have that luxury. The small businesses that reside in my town aren’t like Target or HyVee, a lot of these businesses are mom and pop shops that need every customer they can get to keep their businesses open. This is me asking you to do what many people have done, please support small businesses and buy what you need from them.

Speaking of buying and purchases, let’s talk TP and shed some light on this shitty situation. I was at Target in the metro the other day and I saw the unspeakable…a roped off line to the TP section of the store. This is ridiculous and makes me concerned. It is the butt of most of the virus jokes going around… pun intended…but the lack of toilet paper isn’t just a problem in the metro but in small towns too.

The difference between what is happening with TP and other important supplies in the metro versus small towns is the ability to restock. Mom and Pop grocery stores don’t have the ability to restock like the big chain stores and that is forcing people to drive 20, sometimes 30 miles in order to get necessary supplies. That does not allow people to be safely social distancing if you have to travel that far. No one needs a year supply of toilet paper in order to survive this pandemic, but we all need to be a little more rational.

In a time like this, we as a country must work together in order to flatten the curve, and remember that not all of us have the ability to distance themselves in the way that we’d all like for economic reasons. The news talks about the global pandemic in terms of the big cities and metropolitan areas, but please don’t forget about the small towns. We are trying our best.

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