Sales of toilet paper, what the industry calls “luxury” rolls climbed to $1.4 billion outselling all other TP’s for the first time in almost a decade.

These sales have grown more than 70 percent since 2000, and are expected to grow faster than all other categories every year through at least 2018.It isn’t that we’re more ‘full of it’ than before but usage might have been a lot higher if the survey included Washington D.C. If this trend keeps up, we’ll spend more time on our butts than on watching Kim Kardashians.

Indicators are just that. They can give you a sign that something is happening in the marketplace.

Is this increased demand an indication that the economy is coming back? Unless you live in the Ozarks and never had a heated indoor john, the 2, 3 or 4 ply becomes a luxury item when you’ve got a little more discretion in your spending. Who wants to go into a strange bathroom and discover the TP has the consistency of fine grit sandpaper?

“Luxury” bathroom tissue may be quilted or rippled (embossed), perfumed, colored or patterned, chemically treated and infused with aloe. You may even special order some with your bosses name on it. If you really want to have that secure feeling knowing you’re utilizing the best, trade up to Georgia-Pacific’s Quilted Northern Ultra Plush bath tissue which recently earned the honor of “pacesetter” status from a marketing group. How did they reach that conclusion? Don’t ask.

Next year they may pull out all the stops with one that’s called, ‘Ultra mega super plusher than a baby tush plush, infused with pomegranate green tea essence and a free radical acai wrinkle eraser!’

Who makes the best? Charmin bathroom tissue plus a touch of lotion with aloe had the best ratings. The best, that is, until one day in 2009 the ratings went from the top to the bottom. From 5 stars to nada! From aaaaah to ow! Procter &Gamble had apparently downgraded their quality and people started to squawk! They were lodging complaints as if their 5 star hotel had turned into a flop house. We need comfort where it’s needed the most! We don’t need the sandpaper scraper caper!

So what’s a reliable indicator for emergence from a recession? The BTI or bathroom tissue index will tell. Please don’t squeeze the consumer.