I’ll bet your first question is “why”? Why should I have more than this week’s groceries in the house, when there’s a grocery store on every street corner? This is the 21st century, not the 18th, why should I learn to can and dry food, and hoard it away?
That question would be followed closely by “where”? “I live in an apartment, why should I use my limited space for food storage?” Why should I risk being put on Hoarders TV show?
Another question is “how?” How can I afford it? How do I start? How do I use it? How do I keep my friends/ family from thinking I’m batshit crazy?
I’ll tackle “why” first.
Because the 1998 ice storm left half of Ontario and Quebec without power for days. In some rural areas, they were without power for SIX WEEKS!
Because the 2001 trucker’s strike left grocery store shelves empty in THREE DAYS!
Because studies show that the majority of Canadians are only one or two paycheques from disaster. What if you are injured or laid off? EI and most employer plans take six to eight weeks to kick in. ODSP can take up to EIGHT MONTHS. And in the meantime, welfare pays $550 a month.
With three days of groceries in your fridge, plus some basic baking supplies…. What will you do? I know what we did when my hubby was out of work for nine months a few years ago. We lived off savings and my food storage. We didn’t have to start using the credit cards until the last two months, and that was mostly for stuff you can’t store: fresh milk, mortgage payments…
Also. With the power out, you can’t buy food. Everybody uses electric cash registers now. Credit and debit cards need a working electronic reader. Even if you have cash on you, you’re screwed. I have a story to illustrate.
A few years ago, the small town I live near lost its power grid. No store had power. We stopped in at Timmies for a coffee while we waited to see if the power would come back on, or if we were headed back home.
The drive-through was shut (no power for the mic and speakers) so I went in. Hubby stayed in the car.
I ordered two extra-large double double. Same order as always. Since the power had failed less than five minutes before, the coffee was still hot. The problem was a cashier who had never bothered to learn anything because the electronic cash register did the thinking for her.
Two double doubles comes to $3.59. She refused to take the money. She couldn’t ring it in, so I was expected to stand there until the power came back. Did I mention the SIX WEEK blackout in ’98?
But I know how much it costs, I get this every day! Didn’t matter, she couldn’t ring it in, so she had no proof of how much it cost. I don’t even work there and I have half their menu memorized.
After arguing for a few minutes, I hate being called a liar, especially over something so minor as the cost of my coffee, I dug through my purse and came up with exact change.
She called the manager when I tried to pay her. Seriously.
Did I mention that there was a crowd of sheeple standing around, drinking their coffee, waiting for the power to come back?
The manager said that I had to wait, she wouldn’t know what they sold if we all left, so she couldn’t ring it in when the power comes back. Easy! Put aside a matching cup for every one you sell. Or better yet, write it down.
Nope, she didn’t know the prices either. Are you kidding me?! I could work there for two hours and have all the prices and combinations memorized! And I certainly know the price of my order: $3.59.
Well, she had no way of proving that.
That was it. I slammed the exact change down on the counter and grabbed my coffees. The manager threatened to call the cops if I left.
CALL THE COPS?! What are you going to tell them? Some woman who eats here all the time ordered two coffees, gave me exact change and left?! OMG!!!!!!
By this time I was yelling and waving my arms in the air. I stomped out to utter silence. And a very puzzled hubby who saw the whole thing, but didn’t hear any of it.
Behind me, the sheeple started checking their pockets for exact change.
My point is, you should be prepared for stupidity along with panic and shortages if the power goes out. Plus there’s unemployment, blizzards (we once passed a snowplow in the ditch on the 417, God’s way of saying “stay home, you idiot, it’s a blizzard!”) trucker strikes, etc.
And really, it’s neither hard nor complicated. It’s not even expensive if you do it right.
And you can be prepared for everything but a zombie apocalypse. And maybe even that.
Next blog, I’ll tackle the where and what. But first I need to figure out how to upload excel and stuff to WordPress.