Updated: Sep 17
Interruptions in the availability of supplies are nothing new. They tend to come and go over time. We've all seen the footage of people panic buying bottled water and other basic supplies once a problem is imminent. Starting in 2020, however, they have reached unprecedented levels, and continue into 2021, with little sign of alleviation.
Becoming prepared can seem overwhelming at first; some might be hampered by family members who don't believe preparedness is necessary, as goods, services, and even help will always be available. I find this mentality perplexing, as every year we witness the devastation natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, and both heat and ice storms cause. Social unrest and a global pandemic have taken over headlines for the past several years as well, and I don't anticipate those issues going away any time soon, if at all.
As news of a new virus emerged, the media and internet were rife with images that put people around the world into a state of panic. Nobody really knew much as government agencies were unclear how to respond, and in light of conflicting information, people did what people do – panic.
Food, water and shelter are the three basic needs for self-reliance and preparedness. Unfortunately, when people panic buy, they don't have the clarity to focus on acquiring what they really need, and the next thing you know, there is no toilet paper to be found in stores. Shortages of food came next, notably eggs and poultry, as well as meat.
During a live discussion on the topic of acquiring supplies when trouble was afoot, a follower blamed me for the fact that he was not able to purchase toilet paper. I found the comment to be troubling, because it was based on the false assumption that I was a member of the crowd out panic buying. The truth of the matter is, I make it a point to purchase at least one item that will be part of my “rainy day” stock every time I shop. Toilet paper and other hygiene products were on the list of items I would buy and accumulate over time. So the stockpile I had consisted of items I had acquired over the past year, not when the news of the virus came out. While I understand this gentleman's frustration, it was misplaced.
When people act out of a sense of panic, they are not thinking about their situation and what their real, as opposed to imagined, needs are. Imagine buying 6 months' worth of toilet paper and not having a week's worth of food or even days' worth of water to fulfill your family's needs. Other items I purchase regularly are canning jars. During the summer of 2020, I saw many of my friends couldn't process their garden harvests, while, thanks to purchasing small quantities over time, I had all I needed. I did grab some canning jar lids when I found them suddenly in stock at our local grocer, but I only took a few boxes and left the rest for others. If you find yourself in that situation, be considerate of what others may need, and if you have to purchase all you see available, then you need to work a bit on tuning up your preparedness plans. By purchasing items slowly over time, and by having a plan ahead of time, preparedness can be achieved even on a limited budget.
The answer to the question “are preppers selfish?” we need to examine their motives. Preppers plan for the future; they would like to achieve a state of readiness that will further their ability to not just survive but thrive during troubling times. They are willing to forego short-term gratification so they can purchase goods or work towards a goal that will benefit them further in the long run. They are seeking to protect themselves, their families and friends from hard times They provide for their families and educate others.
We have learned that when readiness and self-reliance has been attained, we are blessed with a feeling of calm, knowing that we can weather through tough situations.
The panic buyers, often through no fault of their own, get caught up in day-to-day survival: getting kids to school, going to work, taking care of the house, and so on. Many don't have the time or the finances to prepare, or so they think. Some feel it won't be necessary; if there is an emergency, there will be relief organizations to assist them. The panic buyer has no plan other than to grab what he or she thinks they need, and there is no thought regarding storage or other considerations. Did you fill your cart with toilet paper? If you don't have a plan on where to store it, you may have made some mice very happy. A greater concern is that you may have created a fire hazard in your home.
The key to not getting caught flat-footed in a bad situation is to plan ahead. My older son races cars, and he frequently uses the term “eyes UP!” when it comes to avoiding collisions. The same hold true for our daily lives. Follow the weather conditions if you live in an area where weather can cause disruptions in your life. Prepare for an illness in the family, or loss of employment. We all want the same thing: to be unharmed by shortages when times get tough.
Rather than calling names or blaming others, step up and do what it takes to protect yourself and your loved ones. If you need help, ask a prepper: you will find we are very generous with our time, particularly when it comes to educating others and guiding them to their own paths of self-reliance.
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