Where did all the paper towels go?

In March and April, store shelves throughout the Hudson Valley were completely bare. Long lines of people snaked around stores in hopes of being able to buy toilet paper, ground beef, cleaning supplies and paper towels. Many disappointed customers soon realized that these items were completely sold out, and were not expected to be back in stock any time soon.

Since then, most products have returned. Customers are now greeted with bins that are overflowing with hand sanitizer. Stacks of toilet paper are clogging aisles and there's more than enough beef and chicken to go around. Clorox wipes and some other cleaning products are still hit and miss, but as of last month, it looked like we were heading back to normal.

And then the paper towels began to disappear again.

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After returning to stores with a vengeance, paper towels are now almost as scarce as they were in April. I visited several Hudson Valley supermarkets, big box stores and price clubs this week and found that paper towels were in very short supply, if not completely missing from shelves. Just like during the height of the pandemic, finding paper towels, especially your favorite brand, has become a difficult task.

So, why are paper towels suddenly disappearing in the Hudson Valley? It's most likely a combination of things. But many people are blaming mob mentality. As the weather begins to cool down, customers are now in nesting mode. As they plan to hunker down for the winter, shoppers are now, once again, restocking their basements with necessities. Shelves that once held a huge supply of paper towels have begun to thin out, and that has put people in panic mode.

A. Boris

Many shoppers haven't forgotten the feeling of running out of daily necessities last spring, so when items are found in short supply, the natural instinct is to stock up. This, coupled with strained supply chain issues due to outbreaks throughout the rest of the country, is most likely to blame for the current shortage of paper towels in the Hudson Valley.

Are you having a difficult time finding paper towels or any other products? Let us know about it in the comments section below or on our Facebook page.