I was reading an article a couple of weeks ago where shoppers in Seattle described their grocery stores as war zones when an impending snow storm was heading their way. Residents descended upon their stores in panicked desperation.
It gets that way before every weather emergency. I remember when we lived on the Gulf Coast, shelves would go empty just before a hurricane. Once, after I moved to north Texas we were affected by severe weather affecting the northern states. The 18 wheelers couldn’t get through. Our local Walmart had gone three days without a delivery and their shelves were bare.
It was kind of sobering. You don’t realize the depth of our infrastructure until it stops working. Who knew stores could go empty after only three days? We didn’t even have a weather emergency, but we were affected by one happening hundreds of miles away.
I’ve lived through hurricanes where we were completely–and I mean COMPLETELY on our own for weeks. No power, water, or gas. We barely even had a roof. The only thing I really missed was running water. Once that came back, I was a happy camper, even if we didn’t have power. It’s funny what brings you satisfaction during an emergency.
Empty store shelves though strikes me as a different kind of problem. If you have to stock up on food, it means you run your home on a near empty pantry. That’s something that’s easily fixed.
I grocery shop every week. Most of my shopping revolves around fresh produce and bread. I don’t bake. I could, but it takes me so long that it becomes a headache. I’ve watched friends bake and it’s effortless for them. Me? I overthink everything.
This year, I’m concentrating on using up what’s in my pantry and freezer. I still buy things that are on clearance or clearly good buys, but I resist most everything except things we prefer fresh.
I don’t have to shop if I don’t want to. It’s something we choose to do. If we were expecting a weather emergency, we’d buy the same things we’d buy during a non emergency.
Maybe the people who fill their carts to the brim during an emergency don’t have a pantry. Or maybe it’s panic buying in case the emergency lasts longer than anyone expects. It’s good to be prepared. Trust me. Sometimes these things do last longer than anticipated. Once a weather emergency strikes, that’s it. You’re stuck until the roads are clear again.
We’ve also had what I call ‘sickness emergencies’. This is most common with people who live alone or single parents with young children. I once had to force myself to get out of bed and go to the pharmacy for drugs because we didn’t have anything for flu symptoms. Greg was in worse shape than me, but somebody had to go. Today, I might call a neighbor to bring us stuff but back then we were too new to have anyone’s number.
It’s the same situation if we had been without food, although during flu season that might be called a ‘soup and tea emergency’. When you’re that sick, only soup and tea will help.
Backup Shopping: While I try to be prepared sometimes things happen. Since it’s a good 30 minutes to the nearest store, I practice the backup method of shopping.
I try to always stock double of whatever is necessary. Medicine for sure, but also the food we eat regularly. For example, Nyquil is our go-to symptom reliever when we have cold or flu, so I always make sure I have one bottle for use and one in reserve. As soon as the first bottle is empty, I go out and buy a new backup bottle.
Emergency Food: Call it whatever you like but I also keep a stock of non refrigerated food in case we lose power. This includes foods like nuts, chips, bean dip, bread, jelly, tuna fish, and peanut butter. Those little tins of deviled ham and sardines are also good to keep on hand. Think protein and carbs.
If you have electricity, the world is your oyster and you have your choice of anything you can make at home. If you’re cooped up at home for any length of time during a weather emergency, stock up on comfort foods. Human beings are funny creatures. We stress out when our norm is disrupted.
During a weather emergency, kids are usually at home, and you may or may not be able to go to work. Bake something. Keep the house warm with big pots of soup or stew, and bread or cookies in the oven. Give everyone a job. Don’t shoulder everything alone. A weather emergency is more about emotional support than food. People get cranky being cooped up so the trick is to keep everyone occupied.
A lot of experts say you should keep the kids entertained during a weather emergency. Me being me, I don’t believe in entertaining my fellow inmates. I expect them to pitch in and do something useful while we’re stuck together in the same cabin. It’s good for morale and it’s good training for when they have to be on their own.
How’s your part of the world right now? Have you faced any weather emergencies this year?
Why do you think people go binge buying before an emergency? Do they really have nothing in reserve, or are they overcompensating, just in case? Maybe they hope to sell the surplus on the black market. Ha!
What do you think?
How do you prepare for a weather (or sickness) emergency? How long can you stay in your home before you have to go shopping?