Friday, November 6, 2009

Talking About Prepping

To me, it’s important to talk about preparedness with neighbors, family, and friends. That’s because, the more people are prepared, the easier my life is going to be when we have to actually use those preps. There will be more people taking care of themselves, so there won’t be as many panicking, clueless folks running around. Those of us in the survivalist/prepper community will have more allies, too, which is usually a big plus. I’m thrilled whenever I hear about another prepper joining the “movement,” even if her progress is limited to buying an extra five bucks’ worth of groceries each week, because that’s one more person I don’t have to worry about when things go terribly wrong.

However, I don’t run around telling people, “Hey, the world’s going berserk – let’s all stockpile a year’s worth of food and other stuff!” Frankly, I don’t want the rest of my small community to know that they could, in theory at least, drop in on my family and me when things finally go completely insane and there isn’t easy, affordable access to essentials like food. If God sends someone my way, I’m happy to help – but I don’t want half the county knocking on my door when things go terribly wrong.

However, I encourage people I know to be prepared for other, lesser situations. Most of these folks are very receptive to the concept of shopping grocery-store sales and buying extras, for example, because they see rising food prices and know, intuitively, that crap’s only going to get worse. They aren’t convinced that everything will be just fine, so they’re happy to follow my family’s example of getting extras when they’re cheap and putting away as much of that food as we can.

Everyday situations are fantastic things to discuss, by the way. I tend to focus on rising food prices because my part of Texas is rather poor. Lots of us are at or below poverty level, and grocery-store bills are not always easy to afford. Even neighbors who don’t have much to worry about re: basic bills nod their heads when we talk about how everything is getting more expensive – and some of these people are starting to show concern because they’ve figured out that, at some point, the rising prices will become real problems for them, too.

However, I’m not a doomer when I talk about this stuff. I don’t segue into my, “the world’s going berserk” speech because I’m trying to avoid a) causing panic, and b) earning a reputation as the community’s chief nutjob. Sorry, folks, but a lot of our neighbors and friends aren’t going to believe us right now when we talk about end-of-the-world scenarios. They’re struggling to accept the reality of higher grocery bills…and some of them are still fuming over having to drop to a basic cable package several months ago. If they haven’t yet processed the everyday problems, they’re not going to have an easy time grasping the huge things that some of us are so concerned about.

I also talk about situations that my family and I have actually faced. A creek crosses the only road leading in and out of The Homestead, and said creek floods when there’s enough rain. This year alone, we’ve been stranded here at home more than five times because of flooding.

When I talk about the flooded road, I always add that I’m glad we have plenty of stuff at home to keep us fed, clothed, warm, etc. despite not being able to go to the store. Even when we’ve been stuck here for two days in a row, we’ve never missed a meal or gone without any of the other essentials. There’s always plenty in the house to get us through even the longest flood.

People tend to react positively to all that because they see that being prepared for these situations really does pay off, at least in my family’s case. They can see, for themselves, that we’re right to always have plenty of groceries at home: we’ve actually had to use the provisions, so our preparedness paid off.

But try telling these same folks that you’re stockpiling against the possibility of the Antichrist showing up while you’re still alive…or that you’re convinced that hyperinflation could hit this country…and, well, you’re a nutter.

So…I’d suggest sticking to basic, real situations that actually happen, like natural disasters and short paychecks. However, we also have to accept that some people simply will not listen. I recently spoke with one guy who is convinced that, regardless of what happens, he can just take his debit card to Walmart and grab anything that he needs. He does not understand that a whole bunch of other people will get the same idea; the shelves could be empty by the time he gets there; the debit card may not work when he swipes it; roads might be impassable when he decides to get off his butt and go shopping…so forth and so on.

I just leave those folks alone because they aren’t going to listen no matter how reasonable and logical I am when I present my point of view. Even when I offer solid evidence for prepping – like being stranded at home with a flooded road – guys like that have the, “It can’t happen to me” attitude. This guy in particular is convinced that his road could never flood because he lives in a city, not the middle of nowhere, and therefore has better maintenance as well as city workers who can fix the problem.

Whatever…I hope that he can take care of his family should something go wrong, but I doubt that he’ll have that ability. He doesn’t want to take even simple, reasonable steps, and that’s his choice and problem.

Fortunately, most of the people who hear what I have to say are more receptive than that. Many will agree with the basic, simple things that I talk about, and some will actually go out and start doing them – like getting extra food, or making sure that they know where their flashlights are in case of a power outage. That’s why I’m so optimistic about discussing the ideas: they’re well received more often than not, so there’s hope that we can continue spreading the ideas and helping more people take care of themselves.


  1. True about the fellow who thinks he can just go to Walmart. Chances are the shelves will be barren within half an hour of some major emergency. Not a good Plan B by any stretch of the imagination. I hope your community appreciates your approach to prepping. The reasons to prep aren't JUST related to emergencies. Everyday plausible scenarios like job loss, accidents and the such can be use for prepping also.

  2. Yeah...inventory systems aren't designed to handle an onslaught of demand, so the chances of being able to find what you want after half the community decides that they, too, want it are...slim at best.


“All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”
-George OrwellAnimal Farm