top of page

The Legend of the TP Bandit

For more than 20 years, my father acquired all of his toiletries--shampoo, soap, toilet paper, mouthwash--from whatever cheap motel he stayed in while traveling on business (and occasionally a more upscale place when traveling with my sister). It was a running joke in the family. He'd call me to brag about getting a room in Wells, Maine for $37 a night plus two rolls of toilet paper and a bar of soap. His shower at home had tiny bottles of shampoo and conditioner lined up from one end to the other. Some people keep a journal or photo book of their travels; my father tracked his travels via 2oz bottles of Prell. Staying in cheap hotels leads to the acquisition of cheap toilet paper. For his 68th birthday, I bought a giant 30-roll pack of Ultra Charmin and gift wrapped it, with a card that said "I hope you and your ass enjoy this for months to come." The Ginsburgs have always shared a distinct sense of humor.

In the summer of 2003, my girlfriend (at the time) and I stayed at a rustic inn along Route 1 on the Ogunquit/York line. For $100, we stayed in a throwback New England parlor suite, with a 4-poster bed, clawfoot tub, chintz, all of it. It was fabulous. The two women who ran the place had taken a liking to us, so we got this sweet upgrade. I told my father about this place, how there were little cottages on the property as well as the main inn. He knew of it, having driven by a thousand times (usually after stopping at Flo's for the hot dogs).

A week later, he calls and tells me he stayed in one of the cottages. "I paid $92 and got three rolls of toilet paper!" (If only he could be here to write reviews). "I'd stay there again."

The following Sunday night, he calls and opens the conversation with "LISTEN TO THIS!"


"I stayed at that place you liked again. When I got there and asked for a room, I told those two lesbians I was there the weekend before and really enjoyed it. They said 'you're the guy that took the toilet paper!' and charged me an extra $10! You believe that?!"

Thus, the legend of the TP Bandit was cemented.

Traveling the country and staying in mostly mid-grade hotels along the way--I'm looking at you, La Quinta--there's a sameness to every room. Most have been clean and comfortable, though I'm not sure upon which continent the all-carbohydrate "Continental Breakfast" originated. Every room has some version of the hygiene kit: shampoo, conditioner, lotion. I have no use for any of this, yet at each hotel the temptation to grab it all, plus the extra roll of toilet paper, is present, a silent tribute to my dad.

The TP Bandit travels with me in spirit. I am my father's son.


You Might Also Like:
bottom of page