Author of The Blackout Book and the online course Bloom Where You’re Planted
With the Covid19 virus popping up across the country, people who are preppers are adding a few last-minute things to their stockpiles. Those who aren’t preppers are starting from scratch to get what they think they might need to handle a potential quarantine at home.
While most of the folks on this website would read this and think, “Of course they are” there are a few who think, “What a bunch of selfish people, hoarding supplies instead of only taking a little and leaving the rest for other people.” Often the people with this mindset are those “other people” who failed to prepare and who are upset that they missed their window of opportunity to get the necessary supplies.
But the media and government certainly aren’t helping paint those getting prepared in a good light with headlines about “panic buying” and “hoarding.”
An article on USA Today starts out:
Keep calm and stop hoarding. The spread of coronavirus in the U.S. won’t wipe out our toilet paper supply. Or supplies of hand sanitizer, bottled water and ramen.
That is, unless the frenzied stampedes for hand sanitizer and bottled water continue at their current pace. (source)
The article goes on to use phrases like “impulsive buying binges,” “air of aggressive competition,” “stripping store shelves of toilet paper,” and “the crush of humanity” at Costco.
The entire article dismisses stocking up as ridiculous and even irresponsible, blaming shoppers for causing shortages.
Experts say not to worry and to stop “hoarding.”
The USA Today article blithely reports:
Supply chain experts say to stop worrying about hoarding basic necessities beyond having on hand the recommended 14-day emergency supply of food and necessities.
Perishable food such as fruits and vegetables are unlikely to be limited in the short term. Supplies of imported frozen meat and fish are more at risk but were already curbed by trade sanctions.
Packaged goods such as cereal and toothpaste and dry goods won’t be affected in the near term, either. For items that are now in shorter supply, such as hand sanitizer, plenty of substitutes exist such as soap. Some people are even making their own…
…Even with images of all those empty shelves flooding social media feeds, supply chain experts urged people to stop, well, freaking out.
“We don’t have a shortage of toilet paper in this country. We have plenty of toilet paper to go around,” said Per Hong, a senior partner in the strategic operations practice at Kearney, a global management consultancy. “Those supplies will be fully restocked and my ability to go to the store to get those supplies isn’t going to go away anytime soon.” (source)
I don’t know about you, but I certainly wouldn’t feel comfortable facing a possible lockdown like the one in China with only a 14 day supply of food and necessities. And if what’s happened in Italy is anything to go by, your ability to pop out to the store to get more toilet paper absolutely could go away sometime soon.
An article on Los Angeles News Today continues in the same vein with its own experts chiming in.
Los Angeles County health director Dr. Barbara Ferrer said residents should be prepared just as they should always be for a natural disaster or other emergency.
“That means having some water in your house and some food and your medications that last for a few days,” Ferrer said. “You don’t need to rush out and buy out weeks and weeks worth of supplies, but you (do) need to have what we always ask you to have — enough supplies in your house to get through a few days.” (source)
So according to them, you only need to be prepared for a few days. No biggie.
Stocking up is occurring around the world.
Wise people around the world are gathering up supplies. According to the Nielsen consumer market research agency, the spread of the coronavirus has folks everywhere “actively stockpiling emergency supplies.”
“They’re also starting to think beyond emergency items, such as basic foodstuffs, including canned goods, flour, sugar and bottled water,” according to Nielsen. “Concerns are having a ripple effect into non-food essentials as well. In the U.S., sales of supplements, fruit snacks and first aid kits, for example, are all on the rise.”
The agency noted “significant spikes” in hoarding of emergency supplies in China, the United States and Italy, “where consumers are rushing to build what are being labeled ‘pandemic pantries.”(source)
Of course, what they call hoarding, I’d call preparing for the worst.
Did you notice a word being repeatedly used?
The word “hoarding” is being repeatedly used throughout news reports. They’re already working to paint preppers as bad and selfish people. They’re already vilifying those who hurry out to fill any gaps in their supplies. They’re making it seem like a mental illness to get prepared for what could potentially be a long stretch of time at home with only the supplies you have on hand.
This is a frequent trick of propagandists everywhere. Repeat a word often enough and suddenly everyone begins using it. Everyone begins to believe that the people labeled with an ugly word are terrible, selfish, and threats to decency.
A friend of mine wrote about an article she had read:
There’s a single quote that sticks out to me:“The government ended up subsidizing masks so that every family could have them after people decided to hoard them like they were bottled water in a storm.”Do you see what happened there? Those who prepared ahead of time are being vilified. This theme is being repeated over and over again if you start reading what the experts are writing. History tells us that those who are prepared are either hailed the heroes (when they have enough for everyone) or the villains (when they have enough for themselves).
Keep listening because you’re going to hear words like “hoarding” and “selfish” a lot more often as this situation continues to evolve.
State governments and the CDC are at odds
State health officials in places like Hawaii and Minnesota have recommended that residents get prepared for what could be a bumpy ride. Residents of those states are paying attention and stocking up.
The CDC (irresponsibly) couldn’t disagree more. (You know, the same CDC that’s been sending out a faulty Covid19 test all this time.) They are literally telling people not to stock up.
CDC Director Robert Redfield on Thursday told a U.S. congressional hearing that there was no need for healthy Americans to stock up on any supplies.
“We should have one unified message,” said Robyn Gershon, a clinical professor of epidemiology at New York University. “When there’s an absence of a good, strong and reassuring official voice, people will get more upset and start doing this magical thinking.” (source)
There, there. Don’t worry. The government will save you. Go order a pizza and don’t worry your silly little head about some virus.
Many see preparation as selfishness.
I’ve gotten comments on my own website and also in the group that I run on Facebook that preparedness is a “selfish” endeavor. And it’s always in the comments that you find out how people really feel, often using MSM talking points as their guides.
There was this rather naive comment on a mainstream article.
The thing I have with INDIVIDUAL preppers is that why not leave it in the store? Why don’t people see the grocery store as a prepper’s storage unit?
Prepping is inherently selfish IMO. (source)
Someone who is no longer in my Facebook group told us.
You people are part of the problem. You go out and hoard things when it wouldn’t hurt you to leave some stuff on the shelf for other people. If there aren’t enough supplies for everyone, it is selfish for you to only think of your family. What about everyone else’s family? Oh right, you only care about yourself.
A commenter on my own website said:
What a bunch of selfish jerks you all are. You don’t need 10 packages of toilet paper at a time. What about the other people who can’t afford ten packs of toilet paper?
The author of an article about being in quarantine finds those stocking up to be selfish too, which is kind of mind-boggling when you not this author is in the position in which we all worry about finding ourselves.
I was sorely disappointed by the amount of items that were out of stock after Singaporeans rushed to buy a whole plethora of goods (including instant noodles and toilet paper) when DORSCON Orange happened.
Given such uncertain times, I can empathise with the panic. But I couldn’t help but feel that this hoarding mentality is really selfish.
Because this means that a good portion of people–those on their weekly grocery runs or others like myself looking to get groceries delivered as I am unable to leave the house–cannot get their hands on essentials. (source)
Watch closely. You will see the word “selfish” getting thrown around right up there with “hoarding.”
These people are wrong.
Currently, thousands of people in the United States are spending weeks at home under self-quarantine. I’ll bet if you asked them, there are probably all sorts of things they wish they had on hand right now, and this is even with the ability to order things that can be delivered to their doorsteps. What would happen if all of us within a region faced the type of lockdown happening in northern Italy where there are potential criminal penalties for being out unnecessarily? Wouldn’t you then wish you had made that last-minute run to the store?
Stocking up is the responsible thing to do. It means that your family will not be dependent on government services. It means that nobody has to run out in the middle of a pandemic because there’s not any Tylenol and somebody has a fever. It means you don’t have to risk infection in order to have food for your children.
Stocking up to care for yourself means that you won’t be a drain on those limited government resources being dispensed and there will be more for people who did not prepare. It means you don’t need to order deliveries, causing some other person to risk their own health bringing supplies to you after things get bad.
Stocking up is practical. Whether you’ve done it over a period of years, as most of us have, or whether you’re topping up now (which I’m doing since I’ve been traveling for quite some time and I want to make sure my daughter’s place is well-supplied), taking the steps you need to be prepared is the height of personal responsibility.
There’s one really good mainstream article on Scientific American that talks about the wisdom of stocking up. Aside from that, the mainstream is studded with the usual mockery toward the self-reliant.
Panic buying vs. Prepping
Some folks have noted that what is going on right now as shelves get emptied across the country is not prepping – it’s panic buying. While there’s a little bit of truth to that, I’d still rather see people in the stores getting what they need than waiting for a handout.
Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve hit the stores myself to replenish a stockpile that my youngest daughter has been using. I’m certainly not panicking but I’d be a fool not to fill in some gaps.
Whether you’ve had your supplies sitting there for a year or you just picked them up over the previous week, I commend you for making the effort to get prepared for what could possibly be a lengthy period of quarantine. I know that a lot of people in the prepping world have spoken badly of those making last-minute purchases and I strongly condemn that. Please, if you’re new, know that all of us in the preparedness community are not smug and discouraging. Most of us welcome you and would love to help with any advice you might need.
Is it better to do this far in advance? Sure. Is it better to do this at the last minute than not at all? Also, sure. For those who have waited longer than might be ideal, check out this guide for panic preppers and this guide that offers substitutes when the merchandise at the store is picked over.
The media will try to make us look bad…again.
Regardless of how the Covid-19 outbreak plays out in the United States, rest assured that those who prepared will be painted with a dark brush by the media. This is one of those situations in which OpSec is of primary importance. You don’t want your unprepared neighbor to know you’re doing just fine with your canned goods and dried fruit after they failed to go to the store.
Our first responsibility is always, without fail, to our own families.
Don’t let the mainstream media try and tell you otherwise.