Chinese debate morality of stealing toilet paper

Featured - July 11th, 2012

The Chinese coastal city of Qingdao spent around 1.5 million yuan ($236,000) on free toilet paper for dispensers at public bathrooms in 24 locations, in preparation for summer tourists. But the local government ended up spending almost $10,000 per location in less than a month because of misuse.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the misuse has sparked mass debate on public morality. Chinese people use as much as two kilometers of tissue rolls per day. Zhu Xincong, responsible for maintaining supplies in Quingdao told Shandong TV, “Most people take some before they go into the toilet then grab some more on their way out”.

A citizen posted on micro blog site Weibo, “This is national tragedy. Whenever something is ‘free’, everything becomes a mess. And whenever you pay, the money disappears without a trace”

Another Weibo user pointed out that the Chinese are merely taking full advantage because they were deprived: “With the birth of these new public services, such as free toilet paper, the unavoidable reaction from the public is likely to be a ‘greedy’ one – in order to fully enjoy the government’s services to one’s heart’s content.”