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Why Are We Buying So Much Toilet Paper?

Brian Albers


History is full of moments when humans as a group react to difficult events. Now that we are a month into the coronavirus quarantine, we’re taking stock of our own reactions to this time.

We’ve been hearing stories from around the country about panic buying -- especially people hoarding toilet paper -- and when we looked at the numbers, Utah is at the top of current grocery store spending. We’ll talk about the psychology of pandemics, as well as the history and culture of Utah’s own impulse to, well, buy a lot.


  • Dr. Damir Huremovic, a psychiatrist at Northwell Health’s North Shore University Hospital. Editor of Psychiatry of Pandemics: A Mental Health Response to Infection Outbreak.
  • Dr. Christopher Blythe, research associate with the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship, author of the upcoming book Terrible Revolution: Latter Day Saints and the American Apocalypse.
  • Dr. Matthew Bowman, associate professor of History and Religion at Claremont Graduate University, where he is also the Howard W. Hunter Chair of Mormon Studies.
  • Brad Plothow, VP of Brand and Communication at Womply.
Doug Fabrizio has been reporting for KUER News since 1987, and became News Director in 1993. In 2001, he became host and executive producer of KUER's RadioWest, a one hour conversation/call-in show on KUER 90.1 in Salt Lake City. He has gained a reputation for his thoughtful style. He has interviewed everyone from Isabel Allende to the Dalai Lama, and from Madeleine Albright to Desmond Tutu. His interview skills landed him a spot as a guest host of the national NPR program, "Talk of the Nation." He has won numerous awards for his reporting and for his work with RadioWest and KUED's Utah NOW from such organizations as the Society of Professional Journalists, the Utah Broadcasters Association, the Public Radio News Directors Association and the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.