Buy Food and Gear before the Pipeline Runs Dry

An empty soup shelf from May 2020
The Middle East war is creating new preppers and supplies are already starting to run low. We could see empty shelves like this again.

If you have been thinking about buying long-term storage food in #10 cans or 5-gallon pails, buy it now. Don’t wait. Same with MREs and freeze dried food in pouches. With the threat of war in the Middle East, you should buy any specialty foods, first aid and tac-med supplies, and other prepping gear before it sells out.

Having spent more than 25 years prepping, I have seen the pipeline of prepper gear suddenly dry up multiple times. Here are some events I remember from personal experience:

  • As Y2K loomed, there was a run on prepper food in 1998 with back orders for some companies extending to four to six months
  • Gas masks sold out during the anthrax scare after 9/11, and prices doubled
  • MREs and other long-term foods sold out after Hurricane Katrina
  • Potassium Iodide and iodate sold out after the tsunami in Japan hit their nuclear power plants, as did dosimeters, radiation detectors and other radiation items
  • Bottled water, food, plywood and generators sell out before or immediately after every hurricane that makes landfall in the U.S., and we know what happens to bread and milk when a snowstorm is expected
  • We all saw toilet paper, hand sanitizer and face masks sell out at the beginning of COVID

During normal times, prepping companies produce enough storage food and gear to keep their supply pipeline full. The food ships to distributors and retail customers within a couple weeks of placing the order. After an emergency, local aid agencies buy as much shelf stable emergency as they can, followed by the government. And when the federal government places and order, as it is reportedly doing now, it usually gets priority. That leaves the individual prepper at the end of a long delay wondering when their food will arrive. If your dealer has it on the shelf, you are fine. If they have to wait to get it from the manufacturer, then you may be in for a lengthy wait.

Buy Ammo, Too

Many won’t remember this, but after we first sent troops into Iraq and then Afghanistan, military and Homeland Defense orders grew so fast ammo manufacturers had very little spare capacity. So much Lake City production was being shipped to the military that the price of .223 and 5.56 ammo doubled, and then increased even more. It still has not returned to the pre-shortage prices.

As manufacturer’s shifted more and more production to military calibers, the production of non-NATO calibers dropped off and the scarcity forced prices to rise. The scarcity led to many stores limiting ammo purchases to three boxes per person per day. Sometimes it was three boxes of a caliber, but sometimes it was any three boxes. Three boxes of 5.56 will fill just two magazines.

If you have holes in your ammo bunker, the time to fill them is now, while prices are relatively low and there is good availability. If you reload, stock up on primers and other components, but especially primers.

How to Avoid Delays

The fastest way to get your preps is to shop in person, load them into your cart, stuff them into your car, and drive home. You can do this with traditional grocery foods at club stores like BJs, Costco and Sam’s Club. You can also shop at the local Walmart, Target, or your grocery store.

Of course, shopping in person applies to guns and ammo, too. In my experience, most of the well-known online sources for ammo ship from their own warehouse and have systems in place to avoid selling something they don’t have in stock. Just keep in mind that we’ve seen stores sell out in just a few days before. I’m not saying it will happen again, just that it looks like it could.

If you order from Amazon, items in their warehouses usually ship quickly. If it says it is being shipped by a third party, you may not get it if there is panic buying and the pipeline runs dry. Orders items that are shipped by Amazon, even when sold by another party, and you should get them in just a couple of days.

If you are buying online, don’t delay. You want to be at the front of line. If you are shopping in person, do so this week or weekend.

Keep in mind that I don’t sell food, guns or gear, so I don’t have an iron in the fire. This is heartfelt advice, not advertising masquerading as advice. Get it now or be sorry later.

Fear Drives Sales

People in the U.S. are beginning to panic. They feel threatened, in part because of the many videos they are watching on TV and their phones. Live streaming is great, until you see Hamas terrorists shoot dogs, kill babies, and kidnap women. Then you see bombs flattening entire blocks with the dead strewn on the street and the bleeding being rushed to hospitals. Seeing it overseas is a reminder that it can happen, and then it’s not much of a leap to wondering if that might happen here.

To make matters worse, the media is pushing fear, publishing numbers of how many Iranians, Syrians, Lebanese and others from countries of concern have entered the U.S. in the past year and how many people on the terrorist watch list have been caught sneaking into the country across the Southern Border.

Compounding the problem is a lack of leadership. The U.S. government doesn’t appear to be doing much, which contributes to feelings of helplessness and more fear. (I think that is true of our political leadership, but I understand the military is preparing behind the scenes.)

This war is further complicated by religion. Not only are the Jews fighting Muslims, but there is a host of Christian prophecies about Armageddon, and many would tell you that these events are leading to the End Times. That adds to the level of fear.

The War is Creating New Preppers

All this fear is driving people who have never prepped a day in their lives to suddenly buy emergency food they heard about on talk radio or a solar generator they saw advertised on Fox News. And just like after the Black Lives Mater riots, people who are afraid will buy guns.

Serious preppers should already be seriously prepped, but if you are a new prepper or have been building your preps slowly, you might want to beat the rush. If you have holes in your preps, fill them like I did when I filled my gasoline cans. I’m also going to buy more chicken feed.

Other Precautions

In my last post, I mentioned the potential for unrest in European countries that have taken in millions of Muslim refugees over the past decades. Tensions could become battles between police and angry Muslims in countries like Franc and Germany.

We are already seeing tensions rise and the battle in Gaza may set off a larger one between the Muslims and the rest of us, whether or not we are Jewish. (We are all infidels to them). Expect to see some Muslims, including those who never raised a finger to help a Palestinian in their life, clamor to join the fight. Some will fight where they are rather than travel on Jihad. If you’re planning a trip to Europe, reconsider. Americans could become targets for terrorists in Europe.

There is also a danger of sleeper cells in the U.S. To play it safe, minimize your travel, stay off airplanes, and out of historically significant places they might choose for an attack. Go armed and have a long gun in your vehicle.

If you are already well-prepared, then do what I plan to do this weekend: go to the range, confirm your zero, and run some basic drills that involve moving and reloading. And if its’s raining where you are, as it may be here, do it anyhow. Remember, if it ain’t raining, it ain’t training.