Sam's membership leads to "insane" paper purchases 

"Sam's Syndrome" studied by local psychologist

"Sam's Syndrome" studied by local psychologist

Madison resident Fran Conway has stocked up on paper products to an "insane" level since purchasing a Sam's Club membership several months ago, family members say. The warehouse store division of Wal-Mart is known for selling bulk quantities of staple items.

"How many rolls of paper towels do we need?" Fran's husband Ron said last week when he discovered what appeared to be a barricade of towels in a utility closet in the kitchen. "There must be a couple of hundred rolls here. What is that? Five years' supply? This is insane."

The couple's children, William, 13, and Valerie, 16, had also noticed a similar surfeit of toilet paper in each of the two and a half baths of the Conways' house.

"Mom must think the whole family is going to get some debilitating three-month attack of diarrhea," Valerie said, noting that both the closet and the undersink storage areas in the hall bathroom were jam-packed with rolls of Sam's house brand of tissue.

Making large bulk purchases is a new area of study in psychology, says Professor Douglas Salazar of Tennessee State University.

"We're just now beginning to understand what the ability to buy in bulk does to the human psyche," he says. "Sometimes people fill their entire houses with large cartons of household items."

In a paper last year in the Annals of Psychology, Salazar dubbed the purchasing of huge amounts of products "Sam's Syndrome," and recommended that out-of-control bulk purchasers seek treatment.

But Fran Conway insists that the purchases she made were not only reasonable, but also economical in the long run.

"Toilet paper and paper towels don't go to waste. You always use all that you buy," she said, her voice muffled from behind a stack of 48-roll Bounty towel cartons.

(The Fabricator is satire. Don't believe everything you read.)

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