The buzzword on everyone’s tongue lately is “supply chain crisis.” Due to a complex combination of lack of labor, shipping, and whatever else, the supply chain is experiencing some strain. This is causing shortages of certain items and rising prices on everything else. If you need a written invitation to start getting prepared, this is it. Before I talk about that, let’s put the “crisis” in perspective.
We live in a time of absolutely insane abundance. In almost any town in America you can walk into the grocery store and get balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, and Parmesan cheese from Italy. You can buy salmon from Alaska, lobster from New England, and shrimp from the Gulf of Mexico. There is no time of year – from summer day to the dead of winter – when you can’t buy a fresh strawberry, an orange, or a banana. Nowhere in the United States is coffee from South American even remotely difficult to obtain.
One can stroll into Walmart and leave with groceries, clothing, a sleeping bag, fertilizer, a new set of tires, and a shotgun. But why bother leaving your house? You can hop on the internet and order nearly anything your heart desires. From books to lawn mowers to mattresses to Japanese whisky to picture frames. There is almost no fathomable object in existence that you can’t possess within just a few days’ time, provided you can afford it. It truly is an amazing system.
The Cost of Abundance
Unfortunately there is a cost to having such abundance. First, we have become incredibly spoiled and entitled and weak. When we can’t get French champagne for New Year’s Eve we get a little bummed. Being unable to buy all the cream cheese we want gets us pretty upset. When Lowe’s doesn’t have enough lumber, right this second, for us to build a deck we get downright ornery. Wait another week to enjoy a luxury like a deck? Are you mad?!
Hard times create strong men. Strong men create good times. Good times create weak men. And, weak men create hard times. – G. Michael Hopf
Such abundance has also made us complacent. The concept of preparedness is a bit more mainstream, but it’s far from universally accepted. “Preppers” aren’t quite the spectacle whey were just a few years ago, but very few people in this country are prepared for much of anything. Why not? Because we’ve never had to prepare anything. There has never been a time for any of us – including me – when we couldn’t run out and buy exactly what we wanted, exactly when we wanted.
If you step back for just a second it’s apparent how childlike we are in trusting this incredibly complex system to work perfectly, 100% of the time. Instead we should be marveling at the miracle of throwing away hundreds of pounds of food a year, we cry “crisis” at the slightest (and I do mean the very fucking slightest) of inconveniences.
We act as though the inability to stroll into the store, on a moment’s notice, and by six boxes of ridiculously cheap cream cheese is abnormal. Honestly, I think it’s abnormal that we’ve come to expect everything at our fingertips at artificially low prices. Let’s take a look back to our parent’s generation.
I doubt that all of your parents were as poor as my dad, but my dad grew up extremely poor. My dad can recall, most years, getting an orange for Christmas. That’s it – no pile of presents under the tree, no trash bags full of wrapping paper. He got an orange. Can you even begin to imagine giving your kids and orange for Christmas? Let’s go back just a bit further, to his parents’ generation.
This is your personal, written invitation to start getting prepared.
Our grandparents lived through the Great Depression. They knew about hardship. Real hardship, not the “hardship” of low inventory at the local car dealership. I’ve been to my grandfather’s homeplace where they used a “spring house” for refrigeration. No electricity and no running water, either for that matter. Then again, they weren’t buying tons of cream cheese that needed to be refrigerated. Let’s go back a bit further.
For all but a tiny blip in human history, people ate whatever was local to their environment. They ate whatever was fresh and ripe. In the winter they ate whatever they hard preserved through fermentation, drying, canning, etc. They suffered if something happened to their food stores. Winter used to be a really big deal. Now it’s a time when we have to get up a couple minutes early to warm our cars so we never have to be a little chilly.
Weathering a Real Crisis
Undoubtedly times are hard out there for a great many people. I’m absolutely certain there are some personal crises out there, too. Some people are out of work completely or making less money. I don’t denigrate them at all – that sucks. But on a national level we haven’t yet seen anything that I would call a “crisis,” at least with a straight face.
Nationally we all still watch hours of Netflix a day. We still have plenty of money to spend on “Let’s Go Brandon” t-shirts and bumper stickers. We have hours a day to lavish on social media. Nationally, at least one in six of us can still afford cigarettes. We aren’t hungry enough to stop supporting multi-millionaire professional athletes and actors. Is this what a nation in crisis looks like?
But a true supply chain crisis could actually come. If the current situation deepens, as it very well could, food, fuel, and other critical supplies could be severely impacted. Are you ready for a real supply chain crisis? Are you ready for for how utterly terrible things could get it “the boogaloo” crowd actually sees their titular event?
Supply Chain Crisis Preparedness
If not, this is your personal, written invitation to start getting prepared for a real supply chain crisis. Let’s live up to the hype, our image of ourselves as Americans, as individuals who can take care of ourselves. Instead of the typical disaster scenario, let’s actually be the competent, capable people we fancy ourselves to be.
This post has been pretty ranty. Ultimately my goal, however, is to get more people motivated to be prepared. I’ve written multiple articles on preparedness in an attempt to encourage others to prepare. I strongly recommend starting my down-and-dirty preparedness primer. Get basically prepared to live for a couple of weeks without support or resupply. Once you have achieved that I would strongly recommended scaling that up to at least a month.
If things get really bad a month’s worth of supplies (and money) protects you. You don’t have to be out in the chaos at the last minute. It also helps everyone else involved in a supply chain crisis. Thanks to your preparedness you aren’t competing for already-scarce resources, alleviating some of the competition.