A Sam’s Club Report as Panic Buying Begins Again

With five more days until Election Day and a potential coronavirus-inspired lockdown in the future, we visit Sam’s Club to see what is in stock.

Products purchased at Sam's Club

According to the article “A Lot Of Hoarding” – Americans Race To Supermarkets As Second Wave Arrives that ran on Wednesday on ZeroHedge, the sale of baking goods in the first three weeks of October “spiked 3,400% from  a year earlier” which is better than the 6,000 percent we saw this spring.  Of course, that differential may just mean that the stocking up is just starting and those numbers will increase. 

And by the way, “Hoarding” is not the correct term for people who stock up for personal use.  Hoarding means buying items that are in short supply and holding them hopes or reselling them to make a profit once scarcity sets in. Hoarders hoard for profit.  Preppers prep for safety and security.

As I wrote earlier this week, there are signs that empty shelves are once again lie in our future.  So we made an excursion to our local grocery and to Sam’s Club to see how things were doing in our neck of the woods.

On Wednesday, my wife went to the grocery store and reported no empty shelves, with the exception of the cleaning aisle which she say has had empty shelves for months.  She did buy a surprising amount of dried pasta and extra junk food, just in case we go into lockdown again.  (I like a woman who has her priorities straight!)

Sam’s Club Report

I went to Sam’s club and bought more peanut butter, canned chicken, mayonnaise and more olive oil.  Both peanut butter and canned chicken are great for preppers because they are familiar foods that can be eaten with little or no preparation.  They provide protein and fat that is often missing if you garden or forage, and will combine well with the rice and wheat that serious preppers should already be stocking.

We do own canned turkey, but it is harder to find on the shelf and we have to order it online. 

The peanut butter is great on a cracker or homemade bread, and because peanuts are legumes, like beans, it combines with the grain to provide complete nutrition.

The Importance of Fats in Storage Food

I bought the mayonnaise and olive oil because they are fats and despite all the talk about a low-fat diet, we actually need fat in our diet.  Unfortunately, fats do not store well and tend to go rancid over time, which not only taste and smell bad but can have negative health effects.  We store the following fats: Butter, I the freezer; coconut oil on the shelf, where it can last for years; ghee in a jar, which also can last for years; and olive oil and avocado oil, which we use for cooking and keep only one extra bottle.  I had noticed that the olive oil we have at the prepper property is getting low, so I am adding to our stock.

Mayonnaise needs to be eaten fairly quickly after opening and should be refrigerated.  Since there is no guarantee we will have electrical power in a SHTF situation, I bought two small jars instead of one big jar.  This way, we can open it when the temperatures drop and store it in a cooler on the deck where the weather when the weather is cold enough to keep it from spoiling. 

Admittedly, I caved in and bought a big bag of chocolate chips as well.  We have flour, yeast, sugar and other baking supplies, and I am a big fan of chocolate chip cookies.

Back in Stock

Freezer chest for sale at Sam's Club
Our local Sam’s Club had plenty of freezer chests for sale.

Earlier this year, when people were stocking up for COVID-19, there was a shortage of freezers and people were reporting wait times of six weeks or two months.  In the Sam’s Club we visited, there were probably 30 freezer chests, all relatively small 7-cubic-foot models, for sale.  Sam’s had so many in stock they displayed them in two different locations.

There appeared to be plenty of paper towels and toilet paper available as well, not just store brands, but name brands I had not seen for a while.  However, there was a limit to one of each and it was not advertised as such.  The guy in line behind me had two packs of 15-rolls of paper towels and they took one away and set it on a nearby flat cart to be returned.  It was piled with paper products, so he was not the only person who tried to buy more than one package.

The Wright’s brand of thick-cut bacon I like so much was back in stock, so I bought six pounds.  Woo hoo! It went straight into the freezer where we probably now have at least 10 pounds of bacon. 

They had more bottled water than what I would consider ”normal” with pallets of it overflowing into the aisle, plenty of beans (both dried and canned) and rice, lots of baking and staple products and plenty of canned foods.  I saw two kinds of Campbell’s soup including a 10-pack of cream of mushroom. 

Out of Stock at Our Sam’s Club

There were plenty of laundry detergents, dish detergents, floor cleaners, and window cleaners, but I saw no Clorox on Lysol wipes.  My cashier said they get them I occasionally and they usually sell out in a few hours. 

They were low on my favorite cheese and while they had plenty of pepperoni, there was no salami available.  I’m not worried because I have three large summer sausages which are good until the middle of next year.

It’s Not Too Late to Prep

Based on my experience on Thursday, Sam’s Club is still a very valid option if you are planning to do some last minute stockpiling.  In addition to the items I mentioned above, there were plenty of good pantry foods available that should have a reasonable shelf life, including: oatmeal, pasta, ramen, crackers, tuna, salmon, soups, chilies, fruits and vegetables.  In dried foods, there were multiple kinds of flour and baking mixes, snack bars, cold cereals, nuts, several kinds of cracker, and a huge variety of junk foods.

With four more days until Election Day, an unknown number of days before a potential coronavirus-inspired lockdown, and the possibility of a cold winter ahead, a trip to Sam’s Club, Costco or where ever you buy groceries might be with considering.


If you enjoyed this update, check out a far different outcome when we visited Sam’s Club in mid April during the peak of the COVID-19 lockdown.

A Sam’s Club Report as Panic Buying Begins Again

Author: The Pickled Prepper

Pete the Pickled Prepper lives on an isolated homestead on the side of a mountain deep in in rural America. He has been preparing for the end of the world for more than 25 years.