Thursday, July 17, 2008

Turned away

The other night I went to a national chain store near me (and it is highly likely that there is one near you as well, as they seem to be everywhere) and there were very few cars in the parking lot. Like scary few, because the parking lot is usually close to full. I could see a couple of employees hanging around outside, and thought that maybe with so few customers, even the greeters had little to nothing to do. So I went up to the front and one of the ladies there told me that they were closed because the electricity had gone out. They didn't know what had happened, but it was what it was, and sorry for the inconvenience. She was very nice about it, and I went on my way.
I had only gone there for nonessential things (i.e. spices for something that I want to make from scratch--you could still eat food without the spices, but where's the fun in that? :) so that wasn't a big problem for me. Inconvenient, yes. But not really a major issue. Some parts of it did bother me, though, among them:

1) The way I felt when I saw so few cars in the parking lot. Those cars probably belonged to the employees and a few other clueless customers such as myself who had to go all the way to the front of the store before noticing that the windows were perhaps a little darker than they should have been for people to be shopping/working inside. I sat there for a minute before getting out of my car, and thought, "Is the economy really that bad? To go from bustling and nearly full to nearly empty at a time when it is usually busy?"
I'm sure that it is that bad for some people. I think about the stories that are all over the internet and the newspapers about people having hard times making ends meet. If anyone reading this is already in a situation where it is impossible or nearly so to put any food into storage, please just do the best you can. Anything you can put away for future use is better than nothing. Prices are going up, but even a bag of beans for under $1 is a start.
2)What would happen if suddenly all of the stores that we can just run to now were closed--no warning, just a couple of employees standing out front to turn us away? Not just one store, but every store? How prepared am I? How prepared are you? This is a very personal question, and every person must answer it for him/herself. You may have noticed that some of the poll questions I put up aren't exactly food related, but they are preparation-related, for lack of a better phrase. Sometimes I think about all the things that are needed to be prepared for emergencies, and there are a lot. But every little thing we do crosses one thing off of a long list. I'm working on my list (which is still long), and I hope everyone is working on theirs. Every little step counts.

If the situation ever happens that we are turned away from every source that we usually turn to in order to get the things that we need to survive (food, heat, shelter) for whatever reason (job loss, the economy, natural disaster) do we have what we need to make do for ourselves and our families? I would hope that the answer swings more toward yes than no. I would hope that the situation never arises in the first place. If we're prepared, however, that kind of situation will still be stressful, but hopefully we won't have to experience being turned away when we have to go looking because we have stored nothing at all.


Ron said...

I like to think about contingency plans too. Call it compulsive. But what we tend to think of as unshakable and permanent is really an illusion. It does not take much to disrupt our crops, our supply chain, our way-of-life.

It's a very good thing to think about what would happen if our dependencies let us down. Maybe they won't. Maybe they will. Good to know that one has options, either way.


Marie said...

I also tend to try to think about the what-ifs, even if the circumstances/consequences aren't as life-changing as these scenarios. In other words, I guess I am a bit of a worrier. :)
Thing is, if you think ahead, you can sometimes avoid some of the unpleasantry. And in many cases, no matter what the cause of the disruption (natural disaster, income loss, etc.) the preparation can be basically the same, because the basic needs of food, shelter, etc. are the same. So thinking ahead at all is bound to help you in a variety of situations that may arise. Scary how quickly those situations could arrive.
Thanks for your insight!

Wretha said...

What strikes me about this whole situation is why does the store HAVE to shut down just because the electricity goes out? What would happen if the power goes out for longer than just a little while? Would our way of life just come to a screeching halt?

We moved from the big city to a small community in the desert/mountains of west Texas, we are off grid (by choice), so when the power goes off around us, we really aren't aware of it, our lives go on the same because we generate our own electricity. The little country store out here would still be in business if the power goes out, we could still sell and trade without having to have a computer... just a thought. :)


Marie said...

Your community sounds really efficient--I can't help but wonder if the store here wished they weren't so reliant on electricity, because I'm sure they lost a lot of money that night. There's a lot to be said for having a backup plan!