Social Question

Nullo's avatar

Why do some ridicule such a fundamentally sound idea as keeping food and water stores to weather hard times?

Asked by Nullo (21828 points ) March 7th, 2012

I don’t think it’s reached the level of political controversy yet, outside of a few instances with Mormons, but the suggestion that one ought to have the wherewithal to not become a statistic in the aftermath of, say, a natural disaster (or unemployment) is not always met with high praise. Or even any praise, with the odd person substituting scorn.

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68 Answers

Blackberry's avatar

I think it’s because people associate it with the not-so-mentally-stable people who think the rapture is coming, or the the people who think aliens are coming, or the people who generally think some highly unlikely event will happen.

It also depends on where you live. If I’m doing this is central NJ, where there’s not much extreme weather to worry about, people will think I’m strange. If I live in Tornado alley, it’s understandable.

dappled_leaves's avatar

I think ridicule only enters into it once it is revealed that the person is hoarding because he believes in a vast conspiracy to destroy the populace… or some other such weird idea. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being prepared in case of a natural disaster, if one is remotely likely to occur in one’s area. If you can afford to put the things by, then it’s sensible to do so.

ucme's avatar

I would no more ridicule that than I would my neighbour for purchasing a spongebob gazebo….which to be fair, I do, mercilessly.

flutherother's avatar

Because our society has developed such efficient means of obtaining and distributing food that they don’t think it will ever be necessary to do so. One day, unfortunately, they will be proved wrong and those tins of food in the basement will be worth their weight in gold.

tom_g's avatar

In addition to what other have mentioned above, I find that people who talk about preparing for “hard times”, etc are often…
– engaged in fetishizing/looking forward to some kind of end times or civil war
– too individualistic for some people’s taste. What about making sure we all make it through the event?
– And these people are often the same people that refuse to entertain measures to reduce the risk of such events happening in the first place.

Jaxk's avatar

@ucme

Where can I get one of those Spongebob gazebos?

Bellatrix's avatar

It depends why people are hoarding supplies. I remember seeing a doctor on Oprah (a long time ago now) who was suggesting we should all be able to survive for (I think) a month without visiting the shops. He was discussing the likelihood that at some point in the future there will be a medical crisis such as an influenza outbreak. He suggested we should carry enough canned food, water and such to survive when services we take for granted break down. Sounds sensible to me. Not that I have ever managed to get my act together and put together such an emergency store.

ucme's avatar

@Jaxk My neighbour’s garden, no really, it’s a steal.

CaptainHarley's avatar

Because even thinking about that sort of thing scares most people, largely because they don’t have the fexibility to do much preparation, or because they have children… or both. : ((

Plus there’s this thing called “continuity bias” which causes people to think that just because things have been a certain way for a long period of time that they will continue to be the same way. Ever hear people say, “Oh, that’s not going to happen.” That sort of approach is continuity bias.

6rant6's avatar

I’m not against the idea of food storage, but do you really think if society collapses that your neighbors (or people from the next town over) who are starving to death won’t take notice of your obvious stores and come demand a share?

CaptainHarley's avatar

Demand all you like, but if you come closer than about 200 feet, that’s the last few steps you’ll take.

Jeruba's avatar

For the same reason the neighbors laughed at Noah: they don’t believe the need will arise.

6rant6's avatar

@CaptainHarley Yeah, you’re the only one with a gun. Dream on. And those gunshots are just going to attract attention. As things devolve, more militias pop up, growing larger and larger. Until things look like Somalia.

More practical than food or guns, lay in sleeping pills.

dappled_leaves's avatar

Well, this question has taken a turn for the creepy… I think you may have your answer, @Nullo.

CaptainHarley's avatar

@6rant6

Well, I would place my skill as just kinna slightly above the average, you know? And as for militias, I’m a member of the Texas Militia ( which is composed of all adult males over 18 in the State of Texas who own a rifle ), so I don’t think I have an awful lot to worry about, should it come to that ( which I devoutly hope it will not )!

CaptainHarley's avatar

@dappled_leaves

It is a bit creepy to think of people turning on each other because some had the foresight to prepare for disaster, but it still may happen, so we have to think it through if we want to survive. Desperate people take desparate measures, especially when their children are starving because they didn’t store enough food for them.

6rant6's avatar

@CaptainHarley So… you’re saying those good ole boys aren’t going to turn on you when they get hungry? You’ve got a decal in your window that’s going to protect you? Might as well be a B’Nai B’rith insignia.

You think your weapons are going to hold up to twenty other people with guns? A hundred? A thousand? Get real.

CaptainHarley's avatar

@6rant6

You need to think, “People in a community tend to band together when threatened.” When they attack a member of the community, the response will be the creation of a local militia defense force. It would take a small army to defeat a force of hunters and ex-military defending their wives and children.

Bellatrix's avatar

So the lesson here is… keep your stash very quiet…. don’t let the world know you have everything you need.

I keep seeing that bunker in The Road in my mind… all that food and water but nobody to eat it.

6rant6's avatar

@CaptainHarley First, these good guys have guns and families to feed. Are you going to deny them food? If yes, then they are now your enemies. If no, then you didn’t buy enough.

Secondly, when these groups form, don’t you think the food will become community property? If so then your stores are going to mean damn little if the group is big. And you’re not going to be able to hold onto them if the group is small.

6rant6's avatar

@Bellatrix I think the lessons are,
1) Guns do not solve problems – now or in the imagined future.
2) We are interdependent. Believing you can survive catastrophe (and watch your neighbors die) is not the answer. The answer is for society to prevent disasters.
3) Buy some sleeping pills.

YARNLADY's avatar

I’ve never had anyone ridicule the fact that my family keeps stocks of food, water and other emergency supplies in our garage.

Bellatrix's avatar

- Well I don’t own a gun so I won’t be shooting anyone and I don’t recall ever advocating that action.
– If such a situation occurred, I doubt people would be acting communally, at least not at first.
– I think I said in a previous question about “what would you do…” having watched The Road if that is an accurate portrayal of how things would be (and sadly I think it is pretty likely), sleeping pills would probably be my response.

However, I don’t think society can prevent disasters. We interact and since I suspect the most likely event causing a situation where individuals would need to isolate themselves and draw on stockpiles is going to be some form of disease, given global travel and interaction… we aren’t going to be able to stop it. We already opened the box.

MollyMcGuire's avatar

I think it’s smart. Before I moved into my apartment and was still in my big house, I kept a years worth of canned and dried foods in a basement closet. I also had 100 gallons of water stored. I had to keep the food rotated. Water is fine to drink as long as you add 1 tsp chlorine bleach per three gallons and then seal the container. My inlaws own many thousands of acres and they actually have an underground food and water storage facility. I see no reason to ridicule for being forward thinking and smart. I do see a reason not to tell people about it though.

woodcutter's avatar

Personally I have never heard anyone snub preparedness, ever. That really happens?

CaptainHarley's avatar

@woodcutter

Allow me to refer you to the last two posts by @6rant6

CaptainHarley's avatar

@6rant6

So let me see if I have this right… there’s no point in trying to save your family, just give them all a bunch of sleeping pills and all of you commit suicide? That’s abject surrender and a coward’s way out.

woodcutter's avatar

I don’t get the sleeping pills idea.If a person is to have such little hope or resourcefulness maybe they should really just off themselves so as to not become a drag on those who want to live. In many cases if any effort is made there will be some levels of success that can be built upon. Being interdependent is a good theory but it shouldn’t be relied upon, hell I’m a fan of John Lennon but I’m also a realist.

dappled_leaves's avatar

Storing supplies in the event of a natural disaster that is likely to happen in your area is perfectly sensible. But I’m just going to come right out and say that if you’re stockpiling supplies against the eventual collapse of society, then yes, you can reasonably expect ridicule. If you are strategizing about what kind of force will be necessary to keep the hands of your desperate neighbours off your stash, you are taking “preparedness” to a level that is scary, and I think probably worthy of some therapy. How do you think your neighbour would react to know that you’d pictured this scenario?

CaptainHarley's avatar

@dappled_leaves

The directions the US is taking right now will inevitably lead to economic collapse, and perhaps martial law.

The New Madrid fault, near Memphis, Tennessee seems to be waking up, which could presage destruction on a massive scale.

Physicists aver that the sun is soon to go through a phase where coronal mass ejection could easily result in electromagnetic pulses ( EMP ) which would render the entire US power grid non-functional.

Feel free to check any or all of these out. I’ll be right here. : )

tom_g's avatar

Related study?

“Liberals have more gray matter in a part of the brain associated with understanding complexity, while the conservative brain is bigger in the section related to processing fear [emphasis mine]

Could this be playing out here?

CaptainHarley's avatar

@tom_g

Oh, for God’s sake! Would you like me to explain quantum physics to you? Besides, I’m not a “conservative.” ( And people wonder why so many others hate liberals! )

tom_g's avatar

@CaptainHarley – Just posted a link to a study (here’s the actual study) that I thought might bring some insight into why some people can state, “The directions the US is taking right now will inevitably lead to economic collapse, and perhaps martial law”, while others might ridicule such statements. That’s all.

@CaptainHarley: “And people wonder why so many others hate liberals!”

Ouch.

CaptainHarley's avatar

LOL! @tom_g

Don’t worry, bro. I don’t hate ya! : D

From that study: “our data do not determine whether these regions play a causal role in the formation of political attitudes.”

tom_g's avatar

@CaptainHarley – I agree. It’s just one study, which proves nothing. However, I found it somewhat related and interesting. Especially since this isn’t an isolated area of research. There are some studies listed here that explore political orientation and neuroscience/physiology.

Ignore them if you want. They may not be related to this discussion. I found it interesting, however.

Nullo's avatar

@6rant6 One popular application of the food and water stores is to tide you over during times of unemployment. Earthquake, tornado, and hurricane survival are some other ones. Fat lot of good sleeping pills would be there.

6rant6's avatar

@Nullo, @CaptainHarley, In first post, I wrote, “I’m not against the idea of food storage”. I think it’s pretty weak to pretend I said something when you can’t retort anything I’ve actually written.

As @dappled_leaves pointed out, there is huge difference between storing for a __localized__ natural disaster and the apocalypse.

I’m not sure about storing food to deal with possible future unemployment. How is that better than saving money? Food does degrade. And if turns out you need money to buy a suit for a job interview, or your house gets a leak in the roof, and you need money to fix it, or you need an emergency facelift, then having cases of beans is going to look like a bad decision.

If everyone in your family gets a certainly fatal plague, or is dosed with radiation or poison, you’re going to wish you have sleeping pills is what I’m saying. Except @CaptainHarley of course, who’s going to be thrilled to be able to use his guns.

Jaxk's avatar

It’s beginning to sound like Jim Jones. Just drink the cool-aide.

Nullo's avatar

@6rant6 I have ethical reservations when it comes to suicide.

6rant6's avatar

@Nullo I understand. Would you give them to a loved one or friend whose suffering had become unbearable (and incurable)?

6rant6's avatar

@Jaxk How do you draw that comparison? I’m not talking about the leader killing healthy people in a world where they have alternatives.

And I guarantee you, I am not going to kill anyone because God told me to.

Jaxk's avatar

@6rant6

Jim Jones didn’t kill them they killed themselves (they drank the Kool-aide). It sounds like you’re not against keeping stores for the apocalypse, but those stores should be sleeping pills or Kool-aide. LOL

YoKoolAid's avatar

Oh Yeaaahh

dappled_leaves's avatar

@Jaxk Yeah, that is kind of hilarious. :O

Nullo's avatar

@6rant6 I also have ethical reservations about killing innocent people.

6rant6's avatar

@Nullo, Do you have ethical issues with giving people who are rightly without hope and ask for your aide in ending their suffering the hope they ask for?

Nullo's avatar

@6rant6 That’s killing innocent people. I answered that previously. Ethical convictions become worthless if you start making exceptions, especially for manipulative wording.
Additionally, while I imagine that I have the constitutional fortitude to take a life in the heat of the moment, I do not think I could manage a “mercy kill,” especially not for a loved one.

6rant6's avatar

@Nullo I’m not sure if you misunderstood or if you are misinterpreting me to make your point. In either case, I am imaging the case where a loved one is in excruciating pain and wants to die. Would you not offer them sleeping pills if you had them? I’m not suggesting you sneak them into the porridge.

I think the rigid hanging on to “ethical issues” is a little silly in the scenarios I’ve described. In the examples, you would “start making exceptions” after the end of the world had arrived. There won’t even be anyone around to remember what a hard ass you were. Perhaps there is a point at which kindness trumps your sense of ethical uprightness?

Nullo's avatar

@6rant6 Neither. I am resisting your attempt to make me recant my statement by dressing up yours in pretty words.
Principles count even when there’s nobody counting. Seriously, that’s the sort of attitude that spawns looters during blackouts. We have moral guidelines precisely so that we can find our way, even when emotionally distraught.
Finally, while you might be a godless agnostic, I believe that there’s a God up there Who cares about who we are backstage.

CaptainHarley's avatar

@Nullo

Great answer.

6rant6's avatar

@nullo If you and are the only ones left, I’m going to want the pills for damn sure.

Nullo's avatar

@6rant6 How did this become a “last man on Earth” scenario, anyway? I explicitly provided emergency scenarios where the rest of the world keeps spinning.

SpatzieLover's avatar

We have to have food & water stored up. If the power goes out we have no water.

I think it becomes a subject for ridicule due to reality shows like Doomsday Preppers. The people showcased take food storage and bunkers to a militant level.

Jaxk's avatar

So much for the old Boyscout motto, “Be prepared”

Bellatrix's avatar

I just started watching The Walking Dead. Off to the shops now to buy canned food and big containers of water. Might need to stockpile fuel too.

Jaxk's avatar

@Bellatrix

You couldn’t pick a worse time to start stockpiling fuel.

Bellatrix's avatar

I know, I know… I doubt I will be checking the oil price much when the zombies arrive though…

6rant6's avatar

@Bellatrix, @Jaxk You know if you’re concerned about energy prices, you don’t have to use fossil fuels. Wind for example hasn’t become more expensive (and there’s plenty of it here).

6rant6's avatar

@Nullo My bad. I forgot about the Aspergers. I should have added a ~ to tip you off.

Jaxk's avatar

@6rant6

Yes just what I need a windmill on top of my car. Is that an Obama suggestion?

CaptainHarley's avatar

Yes. They’re made by the company formerly known as Solyndra. : )

6rant6's avatar

@Jaxk Oh, I see I missed you too. Here you go: ~

Jaxk's avatar

I’m not saying it isn’t realistic, just difficult

Nullo's avatar

@6rant6 You’ve got the wrong guy. I do not, so far as anyone has been able to determine, have Aspergers. The tilde is to supplement the Internet’s disability, not anybody else’s. Useful in this case because I have no doubt that there are a few people out there who would indeed rather die in that case.

woodcutter's avatar

It’s a discipline thing. It’s not a left vs right thing. It seems to me anyway that people who lean right seem to have more of it because maybe they don’t dare risk depending on others to help in a pinch. It’s good to get help in a bad situation but what if there is none? It takes discipline to buy a few cans of spam or other canned foods every month and stash it away for later. Or save containers and fill them with water for later. There are those who can’t make themselves think like that. When the shit hits the fan is no time to point fingers or even discuss the morality of why what ever happened…happened. Shit happens even if it is nobody’s fault.

6rant6's avatar

Try this again….

@Nullo My bad. I forgot about the Aspergers.~ I should have added a ~ to tip you off.

I know it’s hard for you.

Nullo's avatar

@6rant6 wat
Like I said, the tilde is local SOP for sarcasm.

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