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Coronavirus secrets: ‘I hoarded 392 days’ worth of toilet paper!’

Toilet-paper hoarding was among the shame-inducing, reader-submitted coronavirus confessions.
(Ross May / Los Angeles Times; Getty Images)

Earlier this month, we put out a call for readers to anonymously share some of the shame-inducing, rule-flouting behavior they’ve engaged in since the coronavirus pandemic turned us into a work-from-home, distance-educated, socially distant nation. A whole lot of you promptly obliged, candidly confessing all kinds of transgressions from the expected (the well-documented hoarding of toilet paper) to the jaw-dropping (the car has become, ahem, a vehicle of intimacy for more than one of you out there).

Given the number of responses, we grouped these coronavirus confessions thematically and are offering them in a three-post series.

Here, you’ll find admissions from the hoarders, those who “work” from home (you’ll realize those quotes are for a reason), the mask-averse, the Zoom-averse, those who have developed an affinity for particular foodstuffs and a handful of folks ashamed of their in-home entertainment choices.

Enough is enough, says a growing number of creatives from the fashion industry, including designer Kimora Lee Simmons, stylist Jeanne Yang and designer Prabal Gurung.

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In sharing these, our goal is not to shame or judge but to underscore that, while you may be at home alone right now, you’re certainly not alone in the occasional lapse into shameful behavior as you navigate this global pandemic. We also want to stress that we’re not condoning or encouraging any behavior that heightens the chances of contracting or transmitting the novel coronavirus.

Now, on to the confessions, which have been edited for clarity.

Chairmen of the hoard

  • Hubby and I got caught in Auckland, New Zealand, as quarantines were being imposed. We’d heard about [toilet paper] hoarding in the U.S. and knew we were about out at home. So we bought 8 rolls of TP and stuffed them in our suitcases — our only souvenirs from a very short-lived trip.
  • My community knew about COVID-19 early. In late January/early February, I went to stores all over L.A. and bought a huge amount of masks and sanitizer to keep for my family and send back to Asia for other family [members]. I purposely went to neighborhoods that didn’t have a lot of awareness of the coronavirus at the time since stores all over the San Gabriel Valley were already sold out.
  • [I’m] hoarding Kleenex.
  • I am hoarding toilet paper and did a happy dance when I finally received my favorite brand. How sad! I have also discovered the ease of takeout. No dishes. Hehe.

‘Working’ from home


  • I’m on the computer pretending to Zoom but not. I just don’t want to play house or school with my daughter.
  • I am an elected official whose community services district has been having virtual meetings online. I wear business attire on top and jeans and slippers on the bottom. It’s been great and comfortable!
  • [I] love not having to dress up for work, wear[ing] shorts and T-shirts all day [and] order[ing] DoorDash for lunch. It’s great!!

  • [I’ve been] waking up at 10 a.m. instead of the normal 4:30 a.m., going downstairs to make coffee, watch some news, read a bit, then going back upstairs to crawl back into my big, comfy bed for a long, nice nap. Pure heaven.
  • As an educational therapist, I’ve been teaching an alien to read on Zoom. My 8-year-old student prefers to be an alien or in space while we work, but why should I care? He’s writing great stories and learning to read!
  • I am “logged in” all day for work but am truly working about half that time. I don’t even feel bad. I’m doing the best I can right now.
  • [I’m] starting work later in the morning because I’m sleeping nine hours every night!

Of masks and masquerades


  • I bought all 10 N95 masks on the shelf [during the] first week of March because I could. Now I am ashamed to wear one out, so I cover it with a colored cloth mask so nobody knows.
  • I know a guy who has N95 masks. I bought 10.
  • I haven’t worn a face mask once while I am out of the house.
  • [My] morning workout [is] in [a] public place with others. [I] walk to [the] area masked. Once there, [it’s] mask off for 90% of those around. Push-ups, dips, stairs and then a nice 30- to 40-minute run. Done. [I] put the mask on [and] walk home. [It’s the] only part of day that feels “normal.”

  • I go shopping almost every Friday [to] Sunday and sometimes during the week. I don’t wear [a] mask when I exercise, but it’s because my overwhelming anxiety makes me feel like I can’t breathe, especially if I’m walking.
  • My son, who was at university at the time, bought a box of several N95 masks before things went really bad, and we’ve kept them for ourselves. My daughter and I feel bad about wearing them, knowing front-line medical workers and first responders are still in need — but apparently not bad enough to give them away.

Zoom and gloom


  • [I] have never liked FaceTime and actually resent FaceTime and Zoom invitations now. It makes me feel like I should dress up a little, put on makeup and take a shower, none of which I really feel like doing these days!
  • I hate Zoom. It leaves me exhausted. Everyone is always talking over each other. I look terrible (or maybe that’s how I always look, but now I see myself). Plus, it’s nearly impossible to come up with an excuse to not participate in one of these sessions. I like these people, but do we have to do this every darn week? Ugh!
  • During my FaceTime workouts with my softball team, I fake doing wall sits. I act exhausted and in pain but, off-screen, I’m just sitting down.
  • I hate Zoom and I’m lying to get out of Zoom gatherings by telling people I already have a Zoom happy hour scheduled.

Eat, drink, smoke and be shame-filled


  • I bought a particularly delicious stash of Belgian chocolate and then hid it for myself. When my family asked where it was, I told them it was gone. And it was ... eventually.
  • I’m enjoying a lot of edibles under the stay-at-home order.
  • I am working from home, and my husband is still going into the office. I eat a lot of fast-food lunches in secret while my husband is not home.
  • I’ve been drinking a lot more. My wife is incapable of being quiet. She bustles and bangs around with nervous energy all day. The virus was bad enough, but quarantine is killing me. The day before yesterday, she was gone to work four hours, and I drank enough to black out.
  • I am a secret occasional smoker of organic cigarettes, which I always felt ashamed of as a single parent. [I] would have a pack stashed away for a few weeks. When I have to go out for necessities in my mask a few times a month, I stop at different gas stations and purchase [two packs] from each [one]. I am not only a secret occasional smoker now. I am secretly stashing many, many, many packs. The shame and guilt is awful. I can’t buy a carton because I am too embarrassed and, in my mind, a real smoker. I have turned into a secret real smoker and hiding the evidence. Wow!!!! This felt good to admit! LOL!
  • [I] bought and ate an entire Oreo ice-cream cake by myself.

If the worst thing that happens to me during this global pandemic is that I have to buy new pants, I will weep with gratitude.

  • After we ran out of lemons, I’ve been taking some from my neighbor’s tree every time I need to season my fish.
  • The friend who shops for us sneaks me chocolate bars, and I hide them and eat them out of sight of my husband, who is diabetic.
  • I’ve stopped telling time with clocks and calendars. It’s now bars of soap and bottles of whisky since lockdown. Interestingly, they align pretty closely, and it’s currently “a quarter to four” in our household.

Now that’s entertainment ...


  • I watch “Big Cat Derek” with Trader Joe’s Java ice cream every night around midnight. His conversations with the lions and tigers (but no bears, sorry) are really a hoot and always cheers me up.
  • [I’m] binging on episodes of “Dr. Pimple Popper.” [It] takes my mind off of everything else.
  • I wait for my boyfriend to leave the house to watch trashy, reality TV by myself without his judgment.
  • At 45, I have downloaded TikTok and Snapchat. #noshame
  • I read 2,500 pages in three weeks ... of an absolutely horrible (and addicting) YA vampire fiction series. And I loved every second of it.

In the next installment on Monday, readers confess to all kinds of sexual shenanigans, getting their forbidden grooming done on the sly and engaging in a little bit of retail therapy. If you have some pandemic-era bad behavior to confess, we’re still taking submissions here. We can’t guarantee we’ll publish them all, but we’re pretty sure you’ll feel better getting your thoughts off your chest.


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