Not withstanding the title of this study, it is definitely not about the stolen shit that was in a protest in Cape Town in December 2013. Neither is it about the man who smeared shit on his face to avoid being arrested by police in March 2020, also in Cape Town. Instead, I have spent most of the past 30 days alone, in Cape Town. I used part of the time to take another look into shit, following this author’s work on the same subject in 2010, see references.
I initially thought I could measure how long a roll lasts. But after a few days, I realised that time is not a useful variable. So I switched to counting shit moments per roll. What matters is the number of shit sessions you eke out from a roll than the number of days the roll sits in the toilet.
The packaging suggests that one should use 3-4 sheets per wipe. I am very doubtful that anyone uses that measure, probably not even the person who wrote it. Using 4 sheets may result in unpleasant accidents, reminiscent of those that have been reported in cases of generous acrylic (citation missing). But shitters are welcome to prove this author otherwise.
Counting sheets per wipe seems onerous, especially given that one could later get an estimate by diving the shits-per-roll by the number of total sheets per roll, so I relied on that. Another consideration is that the use of shits-per-roll as a unit of measure is more elegant because counting wipes would distort the data, due to that some shits require more wiping than others, plus there are shit moments that never were because of occasional constipation, but may warrant some minimal wipe nonetheless for cleanliness. Mzoneli (2010) previously provided insight on the shit wiping habits that favour environmental conservation (see spoken.co.za).
It’s worthwhile to mention that the results are based on 3 rolls used from start to finish. It’s a small sample size but it’s worthwhile given that this probably the first ever study of its kind.
The results indicate that a roll of 350 sheets gives about 9-11 shits per roll. That means each shit used approximately 35 sheets. It worth mentioning that the 35 sheets per shit session might be made up of smaller pieces of around 11 sheets per wipe, meaning the first wipe piece left enough to warrant rolling out a second, or third piece.
Lastly, using the price from Checkers for 1 roll of Baby Soft® SA Toilet Tissue, we can conclude that each shit session costs about 99c, if we use the median of shits-per-roll as the denominator. Obviously, that pricing is in the upper quartile since buying a set of 4, 9 or 18, would result in the lower unit price. But it is a useful estimate.
The researcher invites peers in shit to replicate the study and contribute to shit literature. It’s an important contribution to knowledge given that no matter the technology, humans are unlikely to stop shitting, though they may explore more efficient and cleaner wiping methods such as those common in the Middle East and in Japan.
Footnote: The author is aware of the 2-ply elitist privilege. The study was not a Marxist-Leninist critique of shit wiping.
Mzoneli, BQ. (2010) Good quality shit is healthy. Available at https://spoken.co.za/…/08/22/good-quality-shit-is-healthy/ [accessed 25 May 2022]
News24. (2020) Cape Town man smears faeces on his face to avoid being arrested. Available at https://www.news24.com/…/cape-town-man-smears-faeces-on… [accessed 25 May 2022]
The Daily Maverick. (2013) The man behind Cape Town’s poo protests. Available at https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/…/2013-12-04-the-man…/ [accessed 25 May 2022]
Missing citation, undated internet meme