As I shared in yesterday’s article, our preparedness articles should have nothing to do with panic, dread, gloom, or doom. Even though some may consider the Book of Revelations a bit “dark” it’s actually not if you read it in its full context. While it does outline what is going to happen it’s also emphatic in reminding the reader that this is what’s going to happen, but you can still avoid the anguish and desperation by being prepared and trusting in the Lord. Knowing this aspect about preparedness is why I have a huge problem with “emergency preparedness” companies that manipulate and take advantage of people’s misunderstanding of what preparedness is. These companies literally prey on the lack of knowledge and preparedness and confidence in what they sell.
Panic in the mail?
For example, I got my mailer from a local “emergency preparedness” company this weekend, and yes, they do use the name “emergency” in their marketing. I perused through it and was simply disgusted—as usual. They are offering a “year supply of food” for a “special price” of $649.99. To be clear, this is NOT a year’s supply of food, at least not in my house. While yes, my home is full of freeze-dried goods, I do not enjoying living off of many of the products which are contained in this so called “years supply.” And frankly, I know that none of you do either. This isn’t a year’s supply of food. It’s a year supply of suffering. What are these kinds of companies going to sell next, powdered water?!
On yet another page they have a hand-cranked grain mill for “only $64.95.” In the description it states “a simple way to convert your stored grains into wholesome flour or cracked wheat cereal.” Ok, Folks. I’ve operated this hand crank and there is nothing simple about it. Sure you just load and crank, but do you think anyone would buy this if it said “A difficult way to crank out your whole grains and make them more edible. Cranking only two cups of flour burns the equivalent of a half day’s worth of calories on a regular American diet." The same holds true of the “Wonder Clean Washer” which you operate by hand and which barely holds an entire outfit of clothes. I get just as grumpy when I see their so-called “comprehensive emergency kits.” Excuse me while you bleed to death. I have all of this stuff but dont'' know what to do with it." They advertise freeze-dried items as “entrees” which are barely enough calories for one meal for one person. I nearly have a coronary when I see the page that says “Gourmet Year Supply” for one person “only $3,649.95”!!!
Plan instead of Panic
Let’s compare for just a moment. I have nice, tender, juicy chicken meat in my basement—an entire pound per jar—for which I paid 98 cents for. I also have some freeze-dried mixed vegetables which cost me about $1 per casserole dish that I make. And then I have some Bisquick and some Shirley J Universal Sauce that I can mix up to go with this dish at a cost of about .43 cents total (with this month’s special group buy pricing, I can get it even cheaper than that!). When I’m done whipping this dish up, I’ve spent a total of $2.41 and it’s SO yummy—not just tolerable. The same can be said of my Coq aux Vin, my Pork Green Chile Carnitas, my super sourdough pizza with all of the fixings, and my truly Gourmet Macaroni and Cheese that has horseradish and freeze-dried cauliflower in it. It costs $3.70 each week to make two beautiful loaves of bread (in my solar oven, even!) one pizza with all of the toppings, and one batch of cinnamon rolls! To boot, I can do it all in less than an hour without breaking a sweat!
The other day I was asked by one of my class attendees what I thought about buying “mixes” or taking the time to pre-make them and then storing them. In my typical blunt fashion I told her that I thought they were ridiculous if you already have everything handy to make what you need. Sure, I can see buying sourdough bread mixes, for example, because I don’t want to take the time to find or create a starter. And sure, I like my Shirley J Universal Sauce because I can use it instead of my butter, milk, and cheese sources. But if a mix is simply a “white bread mix” or “cookie dough mix” in a bag, I’m not going to stock up on those items for any other reason than to provide a bit of physical respite should I become ill or disabled. Otherwise, how hard is it to measure some flour, oil, yeast, salt, sugar and water? I really think that some people work awfully hard and spend a lot of energy in the name of making their life easier.
In spite of all of this, I see this business and many others like it thrive. They are thriving on ignorance, apathy, and laziness—the very same attributes which will destroy a community over the course of a few years of every day living, and in a matter of minutes in the event of a disaster. I feel ashamed that these kinds of companies are competing against panic rather than product convenience, quality and nutrition. So the uglier the picture of the anorexic, desperate child is, the more products they sell. Businesses like these make me fume because it’s no wonder more people don’t get prepared! With a price tags like this and miserable amounts of work involved to get the gadgets to work, who in their right mind wants to “be prepared?”
Don’t let the prospect of panic alter your sound, logical knowledge. There will inevitably be events in your life that will force you to change your everyday habits, but for the most part, we all have a lot more control over how we react to our financial and our food and water scenarios than businesses like this give us credit for. The difference between you paying three grand for a years’ supply of food, and paying less than 4 bucks for three meals for a family with lots of leftovers is knowledge—pure and simple. Knowledge gives you just as long of a shelf life, better taste, more security in knowing that the food was prepared safely, and more money in your pocket. Storing up your preparedness pantry in this manner allows you to purchase the really important things in life such as a solar oven, pressure cooker, or reinforcing the roof on your home, etc.
In closing I just want to say that I find it ironic that resisting the urge to splurge on unrealistic foods and gadgets in the name of a panic-induced emergency preparedness is critical for us to truly be prepared. We’ll be more sound financially, have more confidence in using what we’ve got because we use it everyday already, and we won’t be quite as stressed if we ever have to see our years supply of bogus, yet highly expensive, “gourmet foods” get sucked up in the mouth of an earthquake.
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