Wednesday, September 12, 2012

three days to dumbass

As I was perusing the Premier Yuppie Survival Site this AM I was enjoying the dig on preppers ( as opposed to survivalists ).  A pretty good article until I started in on the “three days of groceries a fallacy”.  As I read it, folks were confused about the turnover of inventory per year and by his calculations there was in actual fact a months worth of food in the grocery store.  Really?  Go to a grocery store near you.  Pick a shelf at random.  How many cases of canned goods?  Perhaps twenty?  How about we call it about 500 calories per can.  Times twenty four cans in a case, times that twenty cases.  I think a rough calculation would yield about one days calories for around a hundred people as twenty cases seems a bit high for every shelf.  If there is a grocery store for every ten thousand people, give or take, and you assume a months supply, isn’t that 100 shelves per day?  A grocery store has that many shelves?  Instead of cans, how about a shelf of bags of flour.  I usually see about a dozen 25 pound bags per shelf.  Call it 15 to be sure.  Each bag feeds about 20 folks per day.  Times fifteen is 300 people for a day.  But there aren’t that many shelves of flour.  Now, add in shelves of mustard and ketchup.  Those don’t have too many calories ( mainly because the bottles don’t stack ).  I’d still call it 100 folks for one day per shelf under optimum conditions.  And this is if every single item was fairly rationed.
Do you think there just might be a few folks who are first out of the gate stockpiling when a hint of a disaster is heard?  How many do you think it would take to wipe out all the shelves?  During my Y2K preps I went to the store every week ( of course, not all that many weeks in a row- I had to take a taxi home as I was carless at the time.  This was mostly in the final months ) and filled up two carts of bulk food.  Rice and flour and instant potatoes and the like.  Almost every item I took depleted the shelf of that size item.  Now, at that time Wal-Mart always had loaded shelves and they were replenished the next night.  Nowadays Wal-Mart has a continually rolling system of perpetual outages.  This saves on inventory cost and manpower.  It alienates customers and loses sales but evidently the geniuses in Arkansas figure that magically expanding middle class made up of former Target customers, plus the increasing Food Stamp folks will suffice to keep their bank account filled with profit sharing checks ( the shelves are seemingly filled at the beginning of the month, then not restocked until a month later ).  And besides the complete absence of some items, those left with some items have less of them at all times. 
Now, how about that rice shortage?  Remember that?  How about the topical shortage, corn for ethanol?  Small burps create system wide indigestion.  I don’t think there is a months supply of food on hand, but even if there is, you won’t see any of it because of just a few foresighted folks stockpiling in advance of a generally agreed on problem.  Anyone’s experience in a natural disaster area should point to the supply system collapse within hours.  Not weeks or a month.  Isn’t the argument of the amount of food on hand academic if less than one percent will stockpile most of it up?  As I said, I enjoyed most of the article.  I think there is a tendency to have false expectations of preparedness being widespread.  Every time I see a book on suburban preppers, I know the advice being given will pretty much take place in a bubble.  A case of water, a case of MRE’s, a plastic poodle shooter and a “command voice” to intimidate the few rabble to cross the path of your neighborhood and all is well.  As a nation, we continuously fought the indigenous peoples in a bloody unmerciful genocidal war for nearly three centuries, and yet nothing remained in our collective consciousness of the routine danger of every day life after a few generations of wallowing in surplus petroleum wealth.  It was erased from our cultural awareness and the idiots bumping about in a fog of blissful cable TV reality have no concept of the danger from their fellow man ( and that even after decades of economically induced poverty leading to crime increases ).
But just as we are unaware of the two legged predators in our midst, so do we ignore the fragility of our wealth and luxury.  Which includes conjuring up phantom supplies, from imaginary food on the shelves to imaginary 300 year supplies of coal or shale oil.  Even if the three day supply food is a myth, it would behoove you to assume that was the case anyway and create your own stockpile.  I think it is far better to panic on the side of caution than assume a Pollyanna approach.  If you always assume disaster lurking in every supply chain, you won’t be surprised at any shortage. 
Okay, apropos to very little, but needing to be shared so I might impart the level of my excitement, I just scored a coup in the book procured department.  For a year or two I’ve had the book “Feeding Mars” on my Amazon wish list.  It was only available used and at an absurd cost of about $50 to $60 and up.  One time it dropped to $40 but I hesitated and lost it.  Suddenly, today, as I’m trying to decide what book to order next, I happen to go by that book and it caught my eye.  Only $25!!!!!  Well, as you can imagine, after I wiped the drool from my chin, soothed my nipples back down and cleaned my shorts, I ordered that bad boy.  Military logistics- you gotta love em.
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  1. After laughing this hard, nothing can soothe my nipples down

  2. After being through a few floods, blizzards, several tornados (ah, the joys of living in Tornado Alley!), a couple of earthquakes, and a couple of hurricanes, I know how fast grocery stores are emptied out in advance of a predicted natural disaster and immediately after one that wasn't predicted.
    Some places you can measure the time in MINUTES not hours!(BTW, first four things to be cleaned out of a grocery store? Milk, bread, ravioli and beer, from what I have observed)
    Also, with a crapload of UNprepared, desperate people grabbing everything off the shelves, does anyone really want to HAVE to get to the store in the middle of that chaos? Sheer madness.
    I'll do just fine with my beans and rice and other preps. many recipes are there that use just bread and milk? Is there some super-secret cookbook out there for Bread and Milk Recipes?

    1. Milk toast. Yummy. Yes, I'm serious. Make toast. Pour milk in bowl. Lay toast on top of milk in bowl. Eat.

  3. So I posted a comment a few days ago looking for feedback on solar cookers (hey, y'all though maybe I was a spammer since I posted a web link to one I was researching).

    Nothing. No feedback, nothing.

    And FYI, the likely commercial prospect I was prepared to buy is out of stock and seems struck in a ditch regarding finding a new assembler. You'd think preppers would be beating a path to this companies doorstep.

    Figure it out people, once propane is unavailable, and unless one lives in a well wooded area .... how are you going to cook anything. And this pertains to you James M too.
    How are you going to cook up your wheat gruel when the SHTF?

    So I would think this site would be a bevy of information about off grid cooking techniques, but no, it's not. Even lengthy google searches don't pull up anywhere near as many options in solar cookers as I would think.
    Also,FYI, I am looking for something that can cook simple rice and beans, not a turkey or souffle.

    1. Anon, I googled "how to make a solar cooker" and there are literally hundreds of plans online for these cookers, and some of them are very simple plans.

      Also, youtube had a good many "how to" videos on these ovens, Below are a couple that are very inexpensive and easy to make.

      $5 Funnel Solar Oven - Make A Solar Oven For $5 (Jump to the 2:40 mark for the actual construction details)

      Solar oven from dollar store items.

    2. Try this site...this lady has her shit together...

  4. "As a nation, we continuously fought the indigenous peoples in a bloody unmerciful genocidal war for nearly three centuries, and yet nothing remained in our collective consciousness of the routine danger of every day life after a few generations of wallowing in surplus petroleum wealth."

    People must have been tough hundreds of years ago, imagine walking far inland from the coast, clearing old grown forests to make fields, clearing the stones from the field and working the land while resisting the periodic native attacks. Here in New England the woods are full of stone walls from the early settlers doing just that, more than a few were killed by arrows.

    Or the folks that went west on covered wagons.

    How about those Spanish conquistadors traveling all over the place, traveling long distances over land and see.

    People did all this will simple hand tools, their strength and wits. Those people must have been strong, back then people had lots of kids and the strong ones pushed forward. My great grand parents had 10 kids, my grand father had 5, my parents had 4, and me? I don't expect to have any, ditto for my siblings except maybe an accident will show up someday.

    Most people are so weak and soft nowadays, myself included, that walking 10 miles over paved roads would be a huge under taking.

    Well I'm rambling and sound like some old man

    Keep going with the blog, always good reading. The 9/11 one yesterday was great. Amazing how things keep pushing forward, looks like a long slow grind downwards but maybe a collapse someday when doom fatigue sets in.

  5. Anonymous September 12, 2012 7:00 PM
    "So I posted a comment a few days ago looking for feedback on solar cookers (hey, y'all though maybe I was a spammer since I posted a web link to one I was researching).

    Nothing. No feedback, nothing."

    vlad February 14, 2012 7:33 AM
    Solar toilet
    -place plywood on ground
    -stack two tires on plywood
    -set toilet pot inside
    -place sheet of glass on top
    Sun quickly dries contents.

    Solar toilet and solar oven are identical
    in construction and function.
    I will make one each.

    On sunless days you might use the Dakota Fire Pit.