The panic buying brought on by too much fear, too much money, too much credit, too much time, and not enough common sense has reminded me of something that happened some years ago.
Christina, I, our 8-year-old daughter and her friend (we’ll call her Amy) were on an all-day drive to visit my mother. About noon the girls said they were hungry. I told them in a few exits they could choose from a Wendy’s, Burger King, McDonald’s, or a Jack in the box. After some discussion, they settled on Wendy’s. I made the off-hand comment that when I was their age there were no fast food places. Amy’s response to that was, “Well what did you eat?”.
So, how does that relate to today’s crisis you may ask? Just that the recollection reminded me of how spoiled we have become.
Most people in the developed world today don’t remember a time when they couldn’t go into a store and buy whatever they wanted. With many store shelves empty today a new reality has hit us flush in the face.
You can no longer go into a gas station, pharmacy, or grocery store to get food, paper goods, and cleaning supplies. You can’t pop into your closest store and select a couple of your favorite steaks, a loaf of French bread, some toilet paper and a six-pack of imported spring water. Your favorite store, if even open, has bare shelves greeting you. You are lucky if they have any meat, any paper goods, anything to drink, and anything resembling bread or even flour to make bread.
The conditions are compounded by some idiots upstream that have decided that welcome centers, rest stops, and interstate gas stations should be closed. Some have even opted to allow trucks into their states only by appointment. Do these fools think food is brought to the grocery stores by the tooth fairy?
For some reason that is beyond me, the panic buying has centered on toilet paper (among a few other non-essentials). News flash. Running out of TP is not a life-threatening condition, merely a mild inconvenience. There are options such as paper towels, paper napkins, and facial tissues. Then when those are exhausted try the pages of magazines as we did in the days of outhouses. When all else fails there are washcloths and rags.
No, you don’t throw them away, you wash them and use them again. For those of you that have lived long enough, you will recall that we used to do that with diapers. When out of laundry soap, use your food grater to grate a bit of soap from your bath bar. When you run out of that there are still a few us around that know how to make soap.
The reality is that we are both spoiled and virtually helpless as to taking care of ourselves. The day is gone when we could grow our own food, mend our clothing, and cope with adverse conditions.
The day will come when the stores are restocked. The real questions are will we have learned anything by this experience and will we do anything to be better prepared for the next crisis?