Hoarding or practicality?

Let’s get something straight here: preppers have, for years, been ridiculed and mocked simply for being ready for an “event,” such as COVID-19. Or the zombies. Whichever. Now, many of them are being lambasted in the media, social included, for having those same supplies.

Yes, it’s true that some people have grabbed every item on its respective shelf, either out of panic or with plans to re-sell and make a profit. Either of those is wrong, although panic can be forgiven much easier.

I asked, on my personal Facebook page, what people considered “hoarding.” Answers included such things as “having more than you need” and “excess items with no plan.” Seems like regular everyday people aren’t exactly buying into that media hype about the bad, mean, evil douchebag preppers.

COVID-19 happened to coincide with my annual purge/inventory/re-supply schedule. I normally have supplies for a six-month period—some may call that excessive, as I know no one expects this to last that long. Expectations often fail; however, there could well be other supply issues that arise in the aftermath. Or not. No one is psychic, no one really knows.

Another thing no one really knows is “how much” a certain person or family actually needs. I read a column in the Post this morning, and the writer asked “what was your most random purchase recently?” One of the answers was “chocolate chips—but I didn’t buy anything else to make cookies, just the chips.” Well, geez, who doesn’t have butter, flour, sugar, eggs, etc. in her dang kitchen? Really?

My point is that, yes, I have a couple bags of chocolate chips, but they weren’t random. At some point during my six-month period of prepping, I will sure bake cookies or use them for something else. Maybe a cheesecake. I don’t know, but I know I’ll use them.

And what about these other panic buyers? They see “wash your hands a lot” and grab all the soap they can, just in case. But here’s the key: you should KNOW how much you use and KNOW how much you need. For instance, I have three large bottles of hand soap—that is how much we use over six months; and that means ONE of those would last a couple months for two people. Do the math, folks, BEFORE you shop.

Yes, I keep a running list of inventory and at least once a month I physically COUNT everything. Too much trouble? Fine, than risk running out of something that either you can’t go buy or isn’t available.

THAT is the crux of prepping. Not hoarding.

A friend posted a link of pics of crazy shoppers—an entire cart full of milk? Or eggs? WHAT are they going to do with that? Now, I suppose it’s possible that these people were part of a group or very large extended family, and they all took part of the list and went shopping. Maybe. I did see a lady here with an awful lot of toilet paper, but it turns out she was buying for three or four families; sometimes you just have to ask…

And I try to be considerate. Yesterday, in Walmart, there were two large bags of sugar on the shelf—and that was it—and it was on my list. I took one, left the other, and someone snagged it right away. I also ran into a young girl who apparently was there only to buy cheesecake ingredients. Well, okay…I mean, I’m all about cheesecake! She was disappointed that they were out of brown sugar, so I told her she could make her own; similar convo with another lady who had been looking for powdered sugar.

Now, you may not agree with our having a six-month supply, but I guarantee that what we have will be used. And if everyone would plan ahead and take care of themselves and their own families in any emergency situation, the government would be a lot less involved, which means that the situation will be much better managed by the people themselves.

Think of it as being on a plane and putting on your oxygen mask BEFORE helping someone else. This doesn’t mean we’re sitting here for six months, guns at the ready, it means we don’t have to think about shopping during a pandemic or finding the things we need. You might not need or want six months’ worth of anything, or have a place to store it even if you did, but you could certainly plan for one month—and considering the situation right now, that would be a smart move.



This morning, someone posted that the CDC kept warning us about COVID19 but hadn’t told us what to do—she wondered if we should buy masks or stock canned goods. And of course, she “thanked” Trump for slashing the CDC budget so they couldn’t “protect” us. She also mentioned that the CDC was responsible for “confining” the virus.

Naturally, I responded with “what exactly are they supposed to do that they aren’t doing or can’t do? They’ve already said to wash your hands, stay home if you’re sick, etc.” and her reply was “Okay, I’ll just listen to Trump and not worry about it. The CDC is probably making a big deal about it anyway.”

I have a lot of problems with this conversations.

First, yes, the CDC has told us to up our handwashing game, that masks don’t work, COVID19 is likely to get to the point of community spread.

Second, no, they haven’t said to stock food and supplies but to me, and to many, that’s a common sense approach even for a wait and see problem—in other words, before it becomes an emergency.

Third, any budget cuts do not prevent the CDC from expanding on their list of precautions—money doesn’t limit their words in a press release or interview, they could certainly add to their list if the situation warranted it.

Fourth, while the CDC’s purpose IS to control the introduction and spread of infectious diseases, in point of fact, both of these things are impossible for a government agency. The CDC can become aware of a disease, the CDC can make recommendations to slow the spread of a disease, and the CDC can research and concoct a vaccine or a cure. Many people make the mistake of thinking the CDC can actually control these things. And saying so, honestly, makes you look kind of naïve.

Fifth, her last comment of “okay, fine” was the equivalent of another dig at Trump and a blatant willingness to overlook any other single thing I said which, in essence, was “It’s not a bad idea to stock up on a few things just in case, and to do so for any potential emergency.”

Some people refuse to take care of themselves at all, relying on the government to tell the truth, in a timely fashion, and for SOMEONE to make sure they’re fed and medicated and so forth. Don’t be that person. Use common sense—I promise, it won’t hurt you.

Here are my recommendations:

Avoid places with large numbers of people—those people could have been anywhere in the last month, maybe even China; or sat on a plane next to someone who had; or—there are plenty of scenarios.

Have enough food, water, medicine, and other supplies to last you a month—and that’s conservative. You might feel well, you might BE well, and you may still be able to go out and shop; but will there be anything in the store? Those who package the food may become sick, or those who deliver it, or those who work at the stores. Yes, even the almighty Amazon may be effected.

Keep your gas tank full, in case maybe you need or want to go elsewhere, particularly if you have a welcome destination and you live in a large, heavily populated area. Keep all your important papers in one accessible location so you can grab those too, if it comes down to that.

And finally, read about COVID19. It doesn’t help anyone to bury your head in the sand. Read different points of view, listen to different announcements, and draw your own conclusions. Depend on yourself.