Stuff

This Daily Mail  story caught my attention:

With most of us confused about when or if Brexit will actually happen, one woman told This Morning hosts Ruth and Eamonn today that she wasn’t frightened by the prospect of a Halloween Brexit.
Jen McEnhill, 36, from Stoke Newington, north London, said she wasn’t concerned as she’s stockpiled food and toiletries to see her through for six months, just in case there are important shortages when Britain eventually leaves the European Union.

I understand exactly how she feels, because I’ve had to do without in the past, and I don’t like it.

I’ve been poor several times during my lifetime.  When I was much younger, I lived in my VW panel van for a couple of months as I drove around looking for jobs, and even as I got older, there were times when the decision had to be made whether to pay this bill OR that bill.  We’ve all been there, I suppose, but the lasting effect on me is that I suffer from what’s called “shortage panic” — which is why I always have an overstocked pantry, why I buy in bulk rather than in the more cash flow-friendly smaller pack sizes, and so on.  I have far more clothes than I need — if I find a particular brand / type of shirt, for example, I’ll go back and buy half a dozen of them, using one at a time and replacing it only when it starts falling apart.

I seldom let my car’s gas tank drop much below half-full — and I did this long before I started driving for Uber, by the way.

This shortage panic is why I have a shitload of ammunition stored in Ye Olde Ammoe Locquer, and it’s also why I advised people to start stockpiling food items in case the current Midwest floods should cause shortages in basic foodstuffs over the next year or so.

This condition, by the way, is common among Depression-era folks, less common among Baby Boomers, and (it seems) non-existent among the post-Boomer generations.

Am I the only one who has this problem?

24 comments

  1. I have the same problem. Living rurally, where stores are at least an hour away, it’s not feasible to jump in the ride and go get a loaf of bread. So there are several loaves in a freezer. We go to the big city about once a month and spend several hundred dollars restocking and backstocking everything. It’s comforting knowing no matter what we have food and supplies to last 6 months to a year in most things. If you buy stuff when it’s on sale it is much less expensive in the long run but there’s the key. You have to develope the long mindset all the time.

    As far as buying a lot of something you like. 15 years ago I bought a pair of hiker boots from LLBean that I liked. I went back 3 months later to get a few more pair and they had stopped making them. This has happened a couple more times so the point is, if you buy something and like it, don’t hesitate, go get more NOW while it is still available.

    1. ” I went back 3 months later to get a few more pair and they had stopped making them.”

      Bingo.

      I wore a certain brand of boot sock sold at Costco for a decade or more. They are gone now. Found a replacement (Silver Toe) at Sears. Have a half dozen pair in my sock drawer, another dozen in my closet still in the wrap.

      Used to be an outfit that made gun cleaning patches out of the trimmings from T-shirt manufacture. The patches were random sizes, in a bulk bag, and cheap. They have long since gone away. So yeah, if you find something you like, stock up before it is replaced by “New and Improved!” and “Whiter and Brighter!”.

      Come to think of it, “Whiter and Brighter!” might be an interesting slogan for a new political party.

      1. Yeah. I stopped buying from L.L. Bean when they stopped selling their “Snow Sneakers” (high-top sneakers with Velcro ties and lined with Thinsulate — best sneakers I ever had, and for the past two decades until very recently, the ONLY sneakers I ever wore).

        1. My wife got me a pair of those snow sneakers but in the high top model. Very nice, but a little too narrow for my wide ass duck feets. I put stretchers in em and that helped a little. Cause they are so warm I only wear em on the coldest days.

          15 years or so ago I got addicted to the Land’s End down vests which, at the time, were about $30. I bought 5 of them. Huge outside pockets with horizontal openings made for carrying lots of stuff, and about 5 snaps for the vest closure. 5-8 years ago I went to buy more and the price had doubled and the pockets were smaller with angled openings so stuff falls out and the snaps were replaced with a zipper. They ruined my vest. I haven’t been back to LLBean and Land’s End since. fukem ded

  2. You’re not alone at all. I’m 34, my wife is 35, and our garage, storage closet, and pantry look like the backroom at Wal-Mart. There are some things that we can’t stock up on in bulk (wife’s medications, because F*** cancer), but for the most part, we could go 6-9 months without NEEDING to go to the store. It’d be boring and repetitive eating after a while, but we’d be able to eat, have clean clothes, and generally go on with our lives. Losing mains power would put a bit of a dent in that, but I suspect that’s the case for everyone. We have a 7kW generator that will run off natural gas, some solar panels, and a good sized battery bank, so we’d still have the fridge/freezer and chest freezer for a good long while.

  3. Nope. My mother lived through the depression, lost everything, then lived through the last years and days of WWII in Germany, lost everything again.

    When I was a kid she had a Trumpian pantry/cold room in the basement. When I asked her why we had all that useless crap she answered, only half jokingly, “in case the Russians come again”. We lived in western Canada which was then and still is one of the world wealthiest and peaceful places.

    She apparently infected me because I built a pantry cold/room in our basement and drive my wife crazy by buying plenty of stuff for it, telling her it’s in case the Russians come. Mind you, a substantial portion of my stuff is red wine which perhaps cycles through rather more than it ought.

    My Dad never had the supply bug, but he was from a German urban family, feckless lot I fear, and spent the last 2 years of the war and most of 1946 here in Canada living an extremely good life as a POW on parole working as a cowboy. Really. A German Nazi cowboy. Manpower shortage, all the Canucki cowboys were in Europe. Anyway, no hoarder Dad, he had good luck instead.

  4. Both my wife and I are big on storing up. My problem is that I have to move every two to three years, and so I can’t store up nearly as much as I’d like.

    Retirement soon, then the hoarding can begin. I figure that if it doesn’t take people at least a month to parcel out my stores when I die, I didn’t do it right.

  5. I love the quote that I stole from I don’t remember where, but I use it for an email tagline:
    “More tools and equipment for the road ahead than road ahead.”

    That’s scary what you said about the shirts as I do exactly the same thing, much to the head-shaking amusement of my wife.

  6. I grew up with parents that came of age during the Great Depression. So we always had a garden, always spent the summer canning and freezing food. You might say it’s had an impact on me.

    My sons give me the whibblies on this matter; they’ve got at most two days food in the house, one in relatively benign Knoxville, TN and the other in the shithole known as Oakland CA.

    I might have rattled their cages a couple of election cycles ago when one of them asked me how much ammo I had. My reply was that “I had enough to last me the rest of my life or till the end of the Obama Administration, whichever came first”.

  7. I suffer from this “problem”, but I never have enough stores. I even store water. I have a bunch of those “water bricks” you can make walls, stairs, or anything else you can think to make out of. Can’t have enough of anything except fresh produce. That’s what a garden is for.

  8. Those readers with long memories may remember a comment I made here ~6-8 months ago RE: moving in which I suggested palletizing everything and using pallets trucks. There’s a reason I know about that stuff.

    My house has not had a “spare bedroom” for quite a while. It’s known as “the north warehouse” because it’s at the north end of the house. The “guest room” has – barely – room for a couple guests. I have this awful temporary amnesia about what’s in those rooms, I’ll have to look in one of these days and see….

    One reason is what you and several commenters have already mentioned – first, consumables – in a recent email exchange with Remus I mentioned “too much food is a storage problem, too little is a death sentence.” That can also apply to water and ammunition. Second – stuff the @&*#$% bastards stop making. If I find a good price on something I use I’ll go into debt to stockpile as many as I have room to store because I know the fucking bean counters will either: 1) start making it as cheaply as possible which destroys the quality I bought it for originally, or; 2) stop making it altogether. I’ve seen several favorite items converted to worthless Chinesium manufacture and had to spend months finding a suitable replacement.

    I buy for future need, and the old saw “two is one and one is none, and if it’s really important why don’t you have three” is still valid, and if it’s really important 6-10 ain’t too many. Really good boots, for example, last a long time, but if you’re consigned to the Ankle Express for years you will walk them into pieces. Have spares, and spares for the spares (the old adage that 3 pair worn in rotation will outlast 5-6 pair worn to failure one at a time is about right, and that applies to more than boots).

    Look at it this way: If you have self-equipped sufficiently not only will you not be dependent upon others – like government – you get to ignore them completely. Just be prepared to deal with them being overly interested in you because you’ll be a dangerous outlier.

    1. Yep.

      I can imagine the new neighbors just moved-in from California… coming over smilingly to pleasantly inquire:
      “How come we never see you at the F.E.M.A. hand-out truck? Hmmm? Is there something we should know?”

      1. If you greet them saying, “Sorry I’m a mess, I was just cleaning my shotgun”, that should shut them up.

  9. I wished I had stocked up on more of Cabela’s Safari Shirts before they discontinued them. I did buy as many as I could of the limited sizes on clearance.

  10. I, too have this “problem “ after being very poor at certain times in my life. Your condition is totally understandable. I, however do not hoard food, as I have somehow always been able to obtain it. I hoard valuable objects- old firearms, watches, antiques, etc. and ammo! , thinking I will sell them when times get tough again. Of course this never happens because what happens when or if it gets “even worse than this “. So yes, it can be a problem, but I still have the stuff!

  11. @SeanF – I hoard valuable objects- old firearms, watches, antiques, etc. and ammo! , thinking I will sell them when times get tough again.

    Not necessarily a bad philosophy, but perhaps subject to slight modification: I make the presumption that such items as I place at great value because of their utility are – probably – items others place value upon for the same reason.

    For example, today, right now, this minute, not only is toilet paper very cheap, it’s often on sale and cheaper, and ubiquitously available in multiple brands, package sizes and myriad quality levels. That may not be the case tomorrow. See: Venezuela. Now, faced with extreme shortages of TP there may be alternatives, but I’ll wager they won’t be, uh, “quite as convenient.” You’re invited to spend a fortnight in Caracas reasearching that.

    I suspect there was a time in Venezuela in which arrival with a few cases of TP one could have easily traded for piles of soon-to-be-worthless money, truckloads of motor fuel, several high quality used cars, and multiple attractive 18-year-old daughters. Today, no one cares about TP because they’ve long since “gone Muslim” with their left hands and the now-starved daughters ain’t attractive any more (and probably well-used to boot earning food money, doncha know), but a few dozen cases of MREs could probably make you a real estate magnate overnight.

    Old watches and artwork is nice, but food, ammo, gun parts (especially magazines), medical supplies, pharmaceuticals, solid clothing, shoes – the routine, boring stuff we take for granted because we use it daily and it’s always been there – is where the greater value is (there may be a window during which things like bourbon, scotch and vodka miniatures, cigarettes, etc., etc., become high value trade fodder, but as the decline steepens so does their value). When my time reference forcibly shrinks to “right fucking now” I won’t be worried about winding my Rolex.

    Pro Tip: Read Selco’s book.

  12. Feature, NOT bug.

    Currency, ammo, gas, food, TP, coins silver and gold, vehicles, solar rigs, canning supplies, garden, and DAILY EXERCISE.

    Love and care for family!

    All preps…

  13. For all you folks interested in frugal prepping and storage you should be paying attention to this guy, James Dakin: http://bisonprepper.blogspot.com/

    But prepare thyself, he is over the top hard core and makes no apologies as his writings are based on long term experience. His post yesterday was about as “in your face” as I have ever seen and will have me pondering the content for days or weeks.

  14. Kim, obviously you are not alone by a long shot.

    Growing up in a country with periodic food supply chain problems (and power rationing when the dams went too low), becomes second nature to me maintaining several months supply on hand. As to ammo, well, best to just stockpile when funds allow. If anything will become currency when SHTF, useful repair skills and ammo will be top of the list.

    Now if I could only figure out where to store a “Mad Max” tanker full of diesel and gasoline without upsetting the township commissars ………….

  15. I agree with the rest. You aren’t alone, it isn’t a problem…

    My parents grew up in West “by Gawd” Virginia during the Depression. I have seen first hand how that changes people. When we cleaned out my grandmother’s house after her death there were drawers full of bread bags and ties, more with towels, linens out the wazoo and the pantry under the stairs.

    We have easily 2 month of food, 3 depending on where we are in the grocery cycle. Multiple ways to heat the house, battery-powered fans for summer, multiple battery charging systems, so much ammo I store it on moving dollies and so on. It never, ever feels like I have quite enough and I have to keep fighting the urge to empty a bank account to “finish”.

    I’ve tried to inoculation my kids with this attitude with mixed success. They’ve never had to do without. I suspect they will in their lifetimes and the cycle will start over.

  16. Buy extras of things I really like.
    Have a supply of food, water, guns, ammo, etc.
    Save, reuse, repurpose…

    I’m only 61, had a few lean years early on showed me how to get along with a lot less than I would like to, even though I don’t have to do that now. But growing up, the two most influential adults in my life were my maternal grandmother and my paternal grandfather. Two people who spent a lot of time teaching me how to live, how to deal with those around me. They each lived through two world wars, and the great depression. To this day every time I throw a piece of aluminum foil or plastic wrap away I silently think “Sorry Grandma.”

    A couple years ago my wife was joking around with my son (who is in his 20s) about not having a girl friend. She said “You spend too much time working, shooting, backpacking and camping, how are you going to meet a nice girl out in the middle of nowhere?” He grinned at me and told her “Don’t worry Mom, when the SHTF I’ll trade 50 rnds of 22LR for one.”

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