Observations on the mainstreaming of preparedness

Originally published at Notes from the bunker…. You can comment here or there.

Im a terribly nosy person. It is not enough for me to know that something happened..I need to know why it happened. How it happened. I suspect if I had stayed in journalism school I would have made an excellent investigative reporter…right up to the point when the Russian mob would shoot me in the back of the head.

I went back to Rosauers to pick up a few more cans of eggs the other day and decided to people watch. Who was buying this stuff? How were they buying it? It was an interesting thing to watch.

First off, the overwhelming majority of people buying it, at least while I was there, were middle-aged and older women shopping by themselves. I didnt get close enough to see what it was they bought…they could have simply been buying the bread mix for everyday use…but the majority of people were women. They would see this pile of food, walk up to it, look at the cans, pick one up, read the label, and put one or two in their cart. Guys, though, were a different story. They would walk aroudn the whole display, looking at everything, and, much like buying porn, they seemed wary of not standing too close to anyone else and not examining anything if there were more people standing around doing the same thing. It was a very…surreptitious…form of behavior.

I asked one of my customers if he had gone and purchased anything. He said yes, he had spent two hours in there. How, I asked, does it take you two hours to buy some canned food? He was standing there examining one of the cans and another guy came up and was doing the same. They got to chatting and next thing you know theyre standing there talking about the upcoming apocalypse. For those of you who wonder how to meet like-minded individuals there is a perfect example.

As I’ve pointed out before, preparedness is going mainstream. It may go under different names…’disaster planning’, ’security moms’, ‘ready.gov’, ‘zombie apocalypse’…but it isnt looked upon with as much disdain and mockery as it used to be. (Yes, theres still plenty of folks out there that carry it a bit far and get pointed at and laughed at. That will always be there.)

The biggest example of this is simply that the term ‘preparedness’ has moved into common usage. I still find the term ‘preppers’ to sound stupid and contrived but the poisoned term ’survivalist’ wasnt exactly helping the cause. As an aside, I’m thinking that in the eyes of the media ’survivalist’ is a ‘prepper’ with guns.

Ever run into one of those aging hipsters who, when you tell them about a band you like, will immediately tell about how they liked that band before they were cool and before everyone else was listening to them? Yeah, I kinda get that way sometimes about preparedness. Of course, back when I was doing it I got looked at as a sterotypical right-wing militia-type from Montana. But now when you do it it’s ‘taking sensible precautions’. I tell you, sometimes its all I can do to yell “I told you so” at those people. On the other hand, I take a great deal of satisfaction from knowing that I paid a huge amount less than they are for the same preps because I’ve been doing it so long. ($85 cases of 7.62×39 springs to mind.)