Sunday, March 1, 2020

15 Items I am NOT Stockpiling

I think a lot of people have lost their minds over this coronavirus thing.  They are panic buying everything they can get their hands on and scaring the crap out of each other in online message boards.  Here are 15 things I am not panic buying (unlike the general population or so it seems...):

  1. N95/face masks.  Unless you are using PPEs like they do in a Level 4 biohazard lab, it doesn't really make sense to use masks at all.  First of all, you could have been infected a week or so ago before you started wearing the masks and second of all, even if you wear a mask religiously, your spouse or kids could pick up the virus and bring it home and infect you.  I think using a mask gives people a false sense of security and the vast majority of people don't use them properly anyway.
  2. Bottled water.  We keep a small supply of bottled water on hand, mostly because we live in a desert and if the water from the tap stops for some reason, it's a good idea to have some water on hand for an emergency.  Also our tap water here tastes truly terrible.  On the other hand, paying top dollar because panic buyers have jacked up the price of bottled is unnecessary since if we do get sick, our tap water is still going to work, it isn't like we will have no water available at all.
  3. Bags of rice.  For some reason everyone is talking about stockpiling rice.  While we do have rice on hand (hubby likes rice for every meal so we buy it by the 50 pound bag), again, if the price skyrockets because people are artificially running up the price, we will just switch to pasta or bread (I've got lots of flour and yeast on hand to make my own bread if needed).
  4. Toilet paper.  We have a couple of big packages of Costco toilet paper on hand which we buy every couple months when we go to Costco but running out to strip the shelves bare of toilet paper is pretty unnecessary.  Stores are still going to be open and there is no reason to think that toilet paper will never be available again.  Also, 70% of the world's population doesn't use toilet paper and they still get by just fine.
  5. Antibacterial wipes and cleaners.  I never use these popular wipes and cleaners because they tend to kill off the good bacteria as well and they aren't good for the environment.  Regular soap works just fine for our needs.
  6. Mass amounts of pain relievers/fever reducers/cold medicines.  We always keep a stocked first aid kit with enough Tylenol/Thera Flu/etc to help us out during the normal course of a cold or the flu.  Buying too much of this stuff is a waste of money because it will often expire before we can use it.
  7. Spam.  I'm not sure what the deal is with stockpiling Spam but while we do have a few cans of it since hubby will occasionally eat it, that stuff isn't healthy for you in large quantities.
  8. Guns and ammo.  Seriously?  We actually have guns and a good amount of ammo because I used to shoot as a hobby, but stockpiling this stuff for a viral illness with a 1% mortality rate that is going to lay people out for a week or so with a flu like illness makes no sense.  I don't think the marauding hordes are going to descend on our small house and try to take away our last bits of rice.
  9. Canned goods.  We have a pantry full of canned goods (soup, beans, canned tomatoes, sardines, etc) but we have built this up over many months by buying a few extra cans of stuff when they are on sale.  We prefer to eat fresh over canned food anyway so often these canned good are sent to the Philippines/donated to local food banks/used for last minute bulk cooking for large groups of people like for parties and such.
  10. Prescription medications.  Hubby does rely on several medications but he gets three month prescriptions which we just recently picked up so we are set for the next several weeks.  His medications are free through the military pharmacy and I don't foresee these medications having shortages to the point that we would pay top dollar to gather even more of these medications. 
  11. Treats like candy, alcohol, soda, etc.  Any time you are preparing for the apocalypse, you will be reminded to stockpile treats too but we don't drink alcohol, rarely drink soda, and I can easily make cakes and cookies and other food treats with what's in our pantry.
  12. Freeze-dried emergency food.  Apparently people are stockpiling freeze-dried backpacking food (in the case they can't leave their home for months on end?) which caused Mountain House to shut down temporarily.  That's crazy.  This kind of food is super expensive and mostly only tastes good when you've backpacked 20 miles and are really tired and hungry.  Ditto for MREs.
  13. 50 pound bags of beans.  Another item that was swiftly cleared out at Costco was big bags of dried beans.  We have several one pound bags of a variety of beans and legumes that I use for cooking but there is no way we will eat 50 pounds of pinto beans within the next probably several years.  I am guessing that many people buy this sort of thing when they are in a panic then never actually eat them.
  14. Milk, bread, eggs, etc.  People always panic buy these basic items whether before a storm is set to hit or even now because they think others will take all of these items in a buying frenzy.  We don't drink milk (I can make oat milk at home and have dried and canned milk for baking), I can easily bake bread myself, and we have several dozen eggs in the refrigerator from a recent sale (plus we can easily go without eggs if necessary).
  15. Gasoline.  Some people are noting that they are stockpiling gasoline but there are several reasons we don't do this.  We have no yard/farm equipment that needs it, we don't plan on driving anywhere very far, there are several kinds of public transit we can take if needed, and stocking extra gasoline in our garage that gets up to 110+ degrees in the summer seems very unsafe.
The only thing people are doing when they panic buy large quantities of food and supplies is mess up our just-in-time supply chain and jack up the prices of items ($140 for 60 pounds of rice on Amazon???) which causes other people to panic and run out to do the same thing.  While everyone should be prepared for an emergency, panic buying random stuff is not the way to do it.  If everyone simply added a few extra items to their shopping cart each time they went grocery shopping (on sale and with coupons if possible) it wouldn't cause the retail problems we are now seeing and everyone would end up with several weeks of food supplies to use in an emergency.


  1. Great post. I am not stockpiling that stuff, either, and for mostly the same reasons.

    #14--Are they making French Toast?

    1. LOL maybe? They always seem to be fighting over the last gallon or milk or last loaf of bread on the news!

  2. There's that funny milk and bread post on YouTube-panic before the snow storm.

  3. I have been to the store a few times in the last week picking up extra items like pet food, cat litter, canned items, cough medicine, toilet paper, refilled my script for 90 days. Yes, I did get a couple of hand sanitzers, extra Clorox wipes and a can of Lysol. I discussed in home quarantine measures with my husband just to get it out of my head. I'm concerned because hubby and I are in a higher risk demographic, plus we both work at schools where risk of picking up germs is much higher. We have to prepare for the possibility of schools shutting down. Besides that, I'm also in a hurricane region so prepping is very common here anyway. I can sleep better at night knowing if I had to stay home, I have enough supplies to last a while if necessary. Public panic, supply chain interruptions and food shortages actually scare me as much as the possibility of catching the virus.

    1. Stay safe! If I was working at a school I'd probably show up in full PPEs because kids are germy and pass cold and flu viruses around so easily. Yikes!