I was in Las Vegas at the beginning of the month and I was sort of unplugged from much of what was happening. When I got home I found I returned to a slightly different world. I feel like I had missed something. I knew there was a virus that could cause death but it also appears that the death rate is pretty low. All of a sudden all the toilet paper and hand sanitizer was flying off the shelves. Social media started to get filled with memes about the hoarding of toilet paper.

Soon, things started to get real. Washington State University floated the idea of going to all-online classes at the conclusion of spring break. Western Washington started to enact restrictions placed on large gatherings. Other events started to get canceled. Meetings, trainings, concerts and any other event that would introduce a large number of people in close quarters were getting scrapped.

It wasn’t long before the stock market started to take a nosedive. Soon, in Washington, all schools were placed on a six-week break.

I have used the word “crazy” in multiple conversations today in reference to the fallout of COVID-19. I went into a grocery store for the first time since the end of February. I was pretty surprised about the empty shelves. I had heard that hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes were impossible to get. But as I walked around the store there were so many grocery items that were wiped out. Canned food, dry goods, and everything else had been heavily picked over. It was crazy. I had never seen anything quite like that. I had not heard about the food being picked over to the extent it was.

A friend posted pictures of the Costco in the Valley. It looked crazy. A huge line of people was outside the store just waiting to get in. I could not imagine what it was like trying to find things and wait in line to purchase said items. Evidently, the stockpiling is well underway.

So many people poke fun at “preppers,” those who make preparations to care for themselves if there is a disruption in the consumer-goods supply. That is what is happening on a small scale at this time. I don’t think that ensuring you can fend for yourself for a period of time is a bad idea. The preppers are probably not concerned about this run on the stores. If you are struggling to get desired supplies at this time, take heed and plan ahead. Shall I say “prep”?

As we have seen with this mini-disruption when the items are gone, they’re gone. From what I understand the stores have been out of stock for some time and I don’t know when they will be stocked again. This should be a wakeup call to everyone.

Consider your monthly needs. On average that consists of 90 meals per person in the household. What about water? What if the water supply has a disruption? Think about medicine, both prescription and over-the-counter: Bandages; ointments; cleaning supplies; soap for laundry, dishes and your hands; and shampoo to name a couple things. Consider how you will keep warm. Do you have at least two different ways to cook your food? Will one of the two ways work even if there is a power-outage? Once you spend time thinking about those things you need to figure out how to purchase enough stock to have your own supply that will last at least one month. I know it takes space, planning, and stock rotation to ensure the supplies don’t go bad before they’re used. If people were doing such personal planning then there wouldn’t be any concerns about the run on the stores that is currently underway.

Scotty Anderson is a computer programmer who enjoys serving the community through various community-oriented service jobs.

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