With the spread of the global pandemic COVID-19, commonly known as the Corona Virus, people are making a quick dash to supermarkets and big box stores in order to stock up on much needed essentials like medications, cleaning products and food. With the death toll rising, people are finding themselves standing in outrageous long checkout lines, battling crowds and grabbing what they can with hopes it will aid them as they attempt to outlast the Corona Virus pandemic.
Today, I visited four different stores; Walmart, King Soopers, Safeway and Costco to witness firsthand the panic that has spread across America. I was not there to shop, but simply to witness these scary and crazy times unfold in front of me. Why I was not shopping is simple. Like many people in America, I have a good cache of food, medications, cleaning agents, batteries and all-around supplies in preparation for an event like this. These Americans, commonly referred to as "preppers", are a unique and well educated group of people, now sitting back on their countless cans of food, medications, and supplies with a huge smile on their face that expresses a "told you so" worry free type of look.
This blog is not about me, preppers, or the public and their lack of preparation, but more about the trends in purchases that I have noticed and what they truly mean. What I have identified, based off the empty store shelves and conversations I am having with people are people are purchasing resources that are consistent among four categories. My observations alone could draw me to a swift conclusion that these four categories are being ransacked in stores, and now hoarded by the public.
Theses categories are canned meat products, breads, over the counter medications and cleaning agents. Why this is, is simple. People today don't know how to make, create or obtain these items on their own. These are lost skills, that most have turned a blind eye to. Many people have created a sense of self-reluctance when it comes to understanding the self-relaince. In all honesty, these categories are very easy for some "do" and understand, but for most Americans, these push the limit of comfort.
It's a loss of knowledge and skills really. Let me give you some perspective for a moment. My sons and I are heading into the mountains tomorrow to collect Usnea for some tinctures that we can use if "medications" are far and few between in the upcoming weeks or even months. It’s a simple skill, that builds into my self-reliance as well as my sons. I am teaching them alternative ways of healthcare for future situations, as well as the current one. I can name about three people in my local area that actually know what Usnea is and its medicinal benefits. That's ok, its not part of my local area populations pattern of life. It is part of mine through choice and preparation.
Many Americans can't hunt, won't hunt and would die of starvation if they had to rely on the natural world for their food options. That's a lost skill for most of the population. Even some hunters don't know how to preserve their game and make it last. Many hunters bring their kill to a game processor and have them process, preserve and present their pounds of streak, ground meat, tenderloins and roasts. It's safe to say, a vast majority would not know how to render fats, process a hide and utilize the countless resources that come from a kill. This is ok, as you don't know what you don't know.
Many people can't identify a single plant that could aid in the recovery of a sickness or ailment. The natural world is full of healing medicinal plants and many grow in your own backyard or wild space.
In my personal cache of food supplies I have whole wheat flour, ground nut flour, rendered fats, salts, canned meats, dried meats, spices, oils, lots of vodka for tinctures, dried fruits, vitamins, supplements and some candy...because kids love candy. Most of the items I have collected and processed on my own, while others I purchased overtime, from a few different stores. My point is this, I have spent a good majority of my adult life learning obtaining knowledge, skills and abilities to prepare and be ready for extreme situations. Now I have the luxury of avoiding long supermarket lines, potentially contagious people and the overall atmosphere of doom and gloom.
While I stock up on salts, fats, flours and meats; many folks have no idea why I would choose those items. They lack the knowledge on why and how they are used. When it comes to cleaning products, yes, I have some commercial ones, but I have countless recipes and ingredients for natural cleaning agents that will kill salmonella, MRSA, flu virus, staphylococcus and god knows what other types of viruses and bacteria.
As people continuously shop for toilet paper, breads, cleaning agents and tuna; they create a sense of scarcity among the population. A mentality of, "If I don't get it now, someone else will get it and I will be SOL later". So, the result, people buy 100 rolls of toilet paper, 40 bottles of hand sanitizer, 20 cases of ramen noodles and 60 cans of green beans thinking that is going to help them get through the storm. It might, but when the ramen runs out, they find out their kids don't like green beans because they taste like shit in can, they and many others will have to go to extremes to get what they need.
I don’t know what the future holds, especially with the number of infected rising and many aspects of “normal life” now quickly altering. I don’t want to say its too late to learn valuable knowledge, skills and abilities focused on self-reliance, but we are almost there. If you are reading this, and you haven’t asked yourself why I cache whole wheat flour, ground nut flour, rendered fats, salts, canned meats, dried meats, spices, oils, lots of vodka, dried fruits, vitamins, supplements, candy and what usnea is used for in health related matters; you might want to return the toilet paper and invest in knowledge. One you clean your ass with and you will throw away; the other will keep your ass alive and you will continuously use.