Recently a friend called Hanif told me a story. I don`t know if it is a fiction of his imagination, or it is a great business case study as he claims. But, I don`t want to be a Super Hero anymore. Wondering why? Read on.
According to him, in the late 80s the sale of toilet paper in America had come to a stand still. After all, there were only so many asses to wipe. Just because toilet-paper companies like ‘Clean Wipe,` ‘Orange Stain,` ‘Smooth Operator,` ‘Man`s Friend,` and ‘As(s) It Was` were making toilet paper at a lesser price…there was no compulsion to buy more than the four hundred meters of the roll required for a family of five per month.
As the winter of `89 neared, the toilet-paper sales plummeted. Some blamed it on Christmas. During Christmas time (as I have understood from umpteen number of Christmas movies that I have seen) nobody even has the time to breathe. Leave alone, using the toilet paper.
Some of the companies decided that it made sense to give away the toilet paper for free because it cut down on their storage costs (warehousing costs, in pure play Business language) and anyways built a brand loyalty with the consumer. As a result, if you bought a six-feet tall X-Mas tree you got two rolls of ‘Orange Stain.` And if you bought the three-feet tall Teddy bear, you got five rolls of ‘Smooth Operator.`
Thus Christmas in `89 was totally different. One could not tell if the kids were playing in snow or the toilet paper. Early in the morning some of the kids had also found rolls of toilet paper in their socks. The kids thought Santa Claus had been rude to them, and vowed never to be good to anybody for the sake of Christmas gifts.
After the Christmas, it was the New Year. On the domestic front (read washroom) nothing had changed much. So much so, the people had started using toilet paper to wipe their utensils, to clean their TV-tops and/or to pack their lunch.
By the time the United States of America’s Independence Day neared (and that is July 4) toilet paper was everywhere to be seen. People had started using it instead of paper napkins. Now, toilet paper was being used for decorations in parties. The richer you were, the more toilet paper you had to show off.
With time, the toilet-paper companies could not keep up the pace. ‘As(s) It Was` closed down first. Next were ‘Man`s Friend,` and ‘Clean Wipe.` ‘Orange Stain` gave a bit of a fight…and proved a tough one. It would not go that easily….but as they say when a toilet paper has to go…it has to go.
Hanif said: “I think it was Labor Day, first Monday in September, when ‘Smooth Operators` came up with their idea.”
“What idea?” I asked.
“To print super heros comics on toilet papers!”
“So what is the big deal if we printed super hero comics on toilet papers?”
“Simple, the longer you sit on the pottie…the more comics you read…the more toilet paper you waste …because one cannot roll back all the paper on the spindle.”
“Indigenous,” was all I could say even as Hanif left me to bask in the glory of his knowledge.
Now, I did not want to become a Super Hero. I would rather be a normal human being with a roll of toilet paper in hand.