Theft of toilet paper has gotten so severe in Beijing's Temple of Heaven Park (a major tourist destination) that the authorities have installed facial recognition software on the TP dispensers; anyone wanting more that his proper allocation must sit tight (as it were) for nine minutes before being allowed another two sheets. (Here's the full CNN article.)
It seems that China does not usually offer said necessity in public restrooms - one must bring one's own. So perhaps folks have not gotten used to an economy that provides abundance, at least of necessities. (Or perhaps, the economy does not provided necessities as effectively as we might assume - just reading "The End of the Asian Century" by Michael Auslin - interesting stuff.)
The prime perpetrators are "older people - those born in the 40s and 50s" (I'm insulted); they grab big wads to take home.
On the other hand, I can't help recalling a high tech manufacturing facility we had as a client down in Chandler, one of Phoenix's suburbs (we provide commercial janitorial service in the whole metropolitan region). They had a small locked caged area in a back corner of the shop. Much expensive tools, material and product scattered around the facility, but what they kept in the locked cage was....the toilet paper. Maybe cultures are more alike, at the necessity level, than we appreciate.
I also can't help but think of the media coverage given to an indicator of the severity of Venezuela's current economic crisis - their inability to either produce or import sufficient TP. Perhaps, years back when they might have afforded the gadget, they should have done a better job rationing the stuff.