We’ve all read about it, talked about it, watched videos on it and even imagined it, when the poop hits the fan, many preppers believe it is going to come at NASCAR speed and send the nation into a panic. It could happen that way, but then it could come a lot slower and pick up steam as many realize the severity of the situation. I believe it will depend on the nature of the event.
A Tale of Two Hurricanes
Back when Hurricane Rita was projected to hit Houston, my wife and I learned very quickly how fast things can fly off the shelf. This was pre-preparedness for us. Hurricane Katrina was fresh on everyone’s mind. My school district canceled school that Friday so that we could make preparations and even evacuate if we wanted. Since I was going to be off on that next day, I decided to sleep in and go to the store mid-afternoon. Yeah, you guessed it! Everything was gone! I picked up what I could find and came home to share it with my wife. Luckily, we always planned a menu a week in advance, so we had food. We know that Rita didn’t come to Houston, but we learned our lesson. Again, this was pre-preparedness.
When Hurricane Ike was projected to hit Houston (and it did), we did things a little bit differently. This was still pre-preparedness, but we decided to go to the store the minute the models showed the hurricane was coming to Houston. Still, the false alarm of Rita had a lot of people unprepared. So even though many experienced the empty shelves during Rita, many Houstonians were still unprepared for Ike.
Many of us still remember the pictures of those on the East Coast dumpster diving because they were looking for food. They had very advanced warnings that Hurricane Sandy was going to hit. But they still were unprepared!
Here’s my point – Just because preppers live in an understanding and climate of preparedness, doesn’t mean the rest of the nation is going to instantly become preppers when an “event” happens. Many will be stunned, shocked, waiting on the government, not realizing the severity of the situation. In those hours and maybe even days of an approaching event, it will be a good time to top off or get those items that you still might need.
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I believe that the “event” will play a big part in how quickly people react and respond. For example, let’s look at a stock market crash. The general population (meaning non-preppers) will not really know what to think if there was a full blown stock market crash. We haven’t experienced one in our day and age. The fact is many will not even know anything has really happened until they read about it on Facebook or their parents call them to talk to them about what is on the news. Many people think that the stock market is for rich people and that they are probably getting their due. Many don’t realize that the stock market is tied to many other facets of our economy and will signal some serious issues.
To contrast, many preppers stay informed and are reading blogs, alternative news sites and monitoring things like the stock market. As preppers “see” thinks go south, they can act! Before the stock market “crashes,” or as they see big negative days right after another happen, they can stop at their bank and withdraw money before the “run on the banks.” If not, they could visit their ATM and withdraw the maximum amount – before they place limits (like in Greece). They could get their items out of their safety deposit box, if they use them. etc…
Maybe a stock market crash isn’t a good example. Let’s look at a major power grid failure! You are at work when the power goes out. You grab your phone and realize that the power has gone out in a good chunk of the United States. You tell your boss you have to leave since you can’t do any work, grab your things and head home. On the way home, you stop at the neighborhood grocery store to stock up. Yes, they don’t have electricity to run their registers, but you have cash. You convince the manager to sell you groceries because you have cash and well, the company would want them to stay in business if possible. Once the manager has gathered his thoughts, he allows you to purchase items. You can walk up and down the aisles because you have a flashlight. You stock up on all the canned food you can afford. You pay for it and are home before the world really understands the gravity of the situation.
Of course, all of this DEPENDS on your situation and the event. I work very close to home, so I can imagine the above scenario happening for me. But, there are a ton of different events and scenarios that we could discuss. I would rather spend the rest of this article sharing my reasons why I think there might be some time at the beginning of an event before all HELL breaks loose!
Some Reasons Why You Might be Able to Make that Last Run
1. People just aren’t as informed as we might think. – We tend to view people the way we might respond and react. The fact is that many people are buried in “Dances with the Stars” and Facebook. Many of us know that the main stream media doesn’t report everything accurately. We know that we have to depend on alternative media and even at that, we need to filter what we read.
Non-preppers don’t realize the inter-connectedness of all of our infrastructure. They think that if the stores shelves are bare today, that they will be full tomorrow. They believe if the lights go out, the electric company will get them back on ASAP. They believe that there will always be someone there to lend a helping hand. I understand why they believe this, because that is the way things have mostly happened in the past. Even in Katrina, the government “eventually” came riding into town. But we know that there might be a time when no one is coming!
2. Suffering from the “Cry Wolf” Syndrome. – Just like when a hurricane doesn’t do the damage the “experts” said it would or 2012 or Y2K, many people are suffering from the “nothing is really going to happen” syndrome. We saw it during Hurricane Sandy. We’ll see it again during this winter season! People hear the warnings, but they don’t HEED the warnings. Why would anything change if there was a major event about to unfold?
3. People won’t understand the severity of it all until it’s too late. – As preppers, we know how long the power can be out if terrorist take out a substation or hackers deliver a nasty virus to the electric company’s computer networks. Because many people haven’t had to deal with a lights out scenario, they will just “live it up” until all the beer is gone!
4. People will be depending on the government and take a “wait and see” approach. Since the government has ALWAYS been there and most people believe that the government is their sugar daddy, people might take a wait and see approach before they start to panic. This will give the prepper a few hours and maybe even days.
5. People will be glued to their smartphones, internet or TV trying to find out “What does this all mean?” Come on, you’ve seen it! People about to walk in to a car because they were texting on their phone! People can’t do anything anymore without their phone and internet. If something serious does go down, people will be “talking” about it online, but not necessarily doing anything about it.
Which Store Do I Go To?
Again, it all depends on “the event.” So you need to stay aware of what is going on. But that is nothing new for preppers. We are always on the look out and aware of what is going on.
So, what would you do if you knew that you could make a last run to the store or whatever….?
1. Go to the grocery store and top off or fill some of the holes in your supplies. You might want to splurge and pick up some steaks or other fresh meat and vegetables. You might want to stock up on canned food or hygiene supplies.
2. Go to the Sporting Good store. You might want to stock up on some heavy duty shoes. Or, you might want to buy some extra heavy duty socks or even see what is available in ammo (yeah right).
3. You might want to fill up your gas tanks. If you have a generator and have empty gas tanks, you will want to fill those too.
4. Visit the bank. If you can get to the bank, although I think they will be one of the first to close their doors, you might want to withdraw cash (in small bills) from your account. Of course you should walk up to the counter excited because you “found that used car that you’ve been looking for your son to drive.” (wink wink)
Taking a Risk?
Of course, the best thing to do is to be so prepared that you don’t have to make any runs at all. In an “event,” you might want to make it home and make sure the whole family is there and go through any family related plans. Going out could be too risky. Again, you need to stay aware!
Then again, the collapse could be so slow that people don’t even know they are in a collapse. The normal American might just limp along, becoming poorer and poorer, wondering where the “good times” are. And the prepper would continue to prep, be frugal, make good decisions and build community with like-minded people.
Again, I know that I’m going to get flack for this, but just imagine for a second…. if you could make one last run, where would you go? I would love to hear your thoughts….or flack in the comments below!