Bare Shelves Trending on Twitter and in your Local Store

A year ago, Candidate Biden blamed empty store shelves on “a lack of leadership.” Now President Biden is blaming empty store shelves on businesses. What a difference a year makes.

I am amused that the hashtag #BareShelfBiden was trending Thursday on Twitter. It’s another example of an issue we’ve been covering here for months catching nationwide attention. That means we are one day closer to panic buying and even more empty shelves.

It feels good to be ahead of the wave and prepare before others see the problem coming rather than getting swept up and washed away by the surge. Keep prepping; one day soon you won’t be able to.

The photo accompanying this article (above) is from our local Walmart earlier this week. Yes, they had some empty shelves, but it wasn’t terrible. The canned meat shelf, photo below, was better stocked than the vegetable shelf. I guess the late-to-the party preppers must all be vegans.

(But as a serious aside, while stocking some fruits and vegetables is good, I stock less of them because 1) I can grow or harvest them in the wild, and 2) because meat and meat-based canned goods like beef stew and chili are calorie dense with more protein and fat than vegetables, which you will need when in a survival situation.)

The canned meat shelf was better stocked than the canned vegetable shelf.

Either way, both shelves are far better stocked than those I saw last spring when the COVID-19 lockdown was at its peak. At this point, no one is starving because they can’t find the exact can of beans they wanted. Nonetheless, it’s a sign of the deteriorating conditions we are experiencing.

I wonder what the hash tags are going to be in a month? #JoeTheGrinch or #JoeStoleChristmas?

Are We Getting Used to This?

I think the real question is, are empty shelves becoming normalized? Did the shortages of COVID-19 make today’s shortages and empty store shelves so common that they don’t alarm anyone? If so, then that is a pretty big step backwards and shows that the downward spiral has our society firmly in its grip.

How long does it take to go from a few empty shelves to waiting in line for bread and milk? A decade? Five years? Maybe just 18 months? Will a few empty shelves blossom into many? Will we have to line up outside Walmart every morning, like shoppers do the morning of the Black Friday sale, hoping to rush in and get potatoes, a dozen eggs, some laundry detergent or new shoes?

It can’t be a good sign that we are experiencing third world problems like food shortages and electrical blackouts. We’re supposed to be one of the most advanced societies in the world and we’re exhibiting symptoms you would epxect to see in the old Soviet Union. Sure, we can develop a robotic pizza maker or an automatic burger flipper, but they won’t do us any good if there is no flour, pepperoni, or beef available. Why, that would be like creating a robotic dog armed with a rifle and not having any ammunition for it.

I Don’t Trust the Government

Keep in mind that the same people that told us inflation is transitory are also telling us that supply chain shortages are short term. (See yesterday’s article for more on why I think they are purposefully knee capping the economy.)

While campaigning a year ago, Joe Biden blamed shortages not on COVID-19 but on a lack of leadership. Well Joe, what’s your excuse?

Inflation and Supply Chain Problems Rise Above the Fold

We are reaching that inflection point where inflation and supply chain problems can no longer be brushed under the rug.

Judging by the headlines and the cable news coverage, I’d say that the mainstream media just realized that inflation is here, and it is not transient.  We’ve been saying this for months, as has anyone who pays attention when grocery shopping, but it took another rise in the CPI to get the consumer oriented media to actually start covering the topic.

There has also been a good deal of news coverage relating to the 4.3 million people who quit their jobs in August. (September’s numbers are not yet available.)

Earlier today, President Biden gave a speech saying he’s working on the supply chain to make sure we have what we need, from Christmas presents that arrive on time to kitchen appliances.  Looks like he’s setting himself up for another failure because there is little he can do here without eliminating the vaccine mandate and relaxing a few other regulations related to COVID-19 and truck drivers.

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The Systematic Destruction of the Economy Continues

When everything the government does seems to make inflation higher and the economy worse, you have to ask yourself: Are they doing it on purpose?

Today’s job numbers were terrible. New jobs increased the slowest in all of 2021. More people left the workforce—they gave up on working—than got new jobs. Why? I can think of at least four reasons:

First, many potential employees are not desperate enough to need a job that doesn’t pay much, isn’t satisfying and fulfilling, and requires dealing with rude and entitled customers.

Second, the younger generation of people grew up with easy lives are weren’t used to having to work hard. They also disagree with the concept of having to work your way up and few will accept traditional menial and entry-level jobs. The lack of coal miners is a good example. Why would someone want to work a dangerous job in uncomfortable conditions when they can make money sitting at home trading stocks on Robinhood, hosting a game channel on Stitch, or working whenever in the gig economy whenever they want to make a few bucks?

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How to Survive Hyperinflation: Venezuela Cuts Six Zeros From its Currency

What will you do when it costs $100 to buy a soda and gas is over $300 a gallon? Better plan now to survive hyperinflation.

Imagine a world where 7 ounces of coffee costs $5,800,000. That’s what hyperinflation can do. In fact, that’s what happened in Venezuela with the bolivar, their currency. Anyone supporting the big spending socialist programs should keep in mind that this is where they end up.

In the third devaluation of its currency in 13 years, the country just removed six zeros from its bolivar, meaning the coffee will now cost 5.8 of the new bolivars. The country had previously cut three and five zeros off, which helps avoid the need for a 1 trillion bolivar bill.

To give the U.S. dollar the same buying power the dollar had 100 years ago, we would have to cut two zeros off. If we did that, the humble penny would have the same buying power of a $1 bill and I could get a breakfast biscuit combo at the drive through for a nickel. Ah, the good old days back before the Federal Reserve was created. Think what it will be like when you need a $100 bill to buy a soda, or when the dollar store is known as the $100 store. That’s what lies down the road.

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Hold on Folks, Energy Prices are Going to Soar

Natural gas shortages in the UK and Europe and coal shortages in China are not local events. They are going to drive up energy prices in the U.S.

I hope you live in a state where the amount your utility companies can charge you is controlled by a state commission because it could delay the inevitable rising price you will pay for gas and electricity.

If you have a long commute by car or a job that keeps you on the road, it’s time to get another job, a more efficient car, or become a remote worker. The cost of oil is heading upwards, and you are going to feel that at the gas pump pretty soon. We are entering one of those periods where every week the price is higher than the last time.

We are in the early stages of those rare moments when you can see inflation happening right in front of your eyes. It’s going to very visible for gasoline, energy, and food, but everything will be more expensive in six months than it is today.

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Inflation Numbers Don’t Look Good

When business report their costs are rising between 3 to 11 percent, you know you are going t be paying more soon as the inflation cycle continues.

I’ve written about limits on limits on toilet paper at the big box stores at least twice in the past month, but Fox Business is finally catching on, running a story on the topic Thursday. However, the article did have some useful data relating to inflation:

“Both Costco and its suppliers are paying two to six times more for containers and shipping, 4% to 8% more for pulp and paper goods, 5% to 11% more for plastic and resin products such as trash bags, cups and plates and 3% to 10% more for certain apparel products. In addition, Costco has seen single-digit price increases for aluminum foil and cans for soda and other beverages and mid to high single-digit price increases on fresh foods, with meat leading the way with high single to low double digit price increases due to feed, labor and transportation costs. Commodities like oil, coffee and nuts are at five year highs, according to Costco’s buyers.

“He also warned that an ongoing chip shortage impacting Costco’s electronics and appliances will likely extend into 2022.”

Those figures, and other data from big corporations, are probably far more accurate than anything reported by the government.

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Prices Rise but Some Bargains Remain at Sam’s Club

The prices of meat is rising from visit to visit, but there are still some good buys to be had for the prepper at Sam’s Club.

I just got back from a trip to the big city where I went to Sam’s Club, Home Depot, Lowes, Tractor Supply and made a couple other quick stops. Tractor Supply had the parts needed to correct the problems with the electric fence. I got lumber at Lowes (because Home Depot didn’t have what I wanted). I picked food and supplies at Sam’s Club, because for a rural prepper, no trip to the city is complete without a visit to a warehouse club store.

Rising Costs

Everything I see online suggests the peak of lumber pricing is far behind us, but someone needs to tell Lowes. While plywood pricing was down from its peak, the premium pine boards I bought to make shelving were more expensive than when I bought them this past winter. I paid about $35 then and I paid $39 now. Not what I expected.

At Sam’s Club, meat was more expensive than ever. I like an occasional rib eye steak. Last time we went shopping, they were $12.95 per pound. This time, the cost had jumped to $14.95. Crazy. They were cheaper than that at my local grocery store.

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How to Prepare for and Survive Shortages

Shortages and inflation feed off each other like a snake chasing its tail and won’t end soon. Her’es what you can do to prepare.

NOTE: we suggest you read today’s Prepper News Update, below, as it includes three articles relevant to today’s topics, shortages.

Shortages Looming

Peter Schiff recently said “You can print money, but you can’t print stuff.” Schiff is one of those financial guys who is always on the doom and gloom side of the table and provides a counterweight to the “buy, buy, buy” exuberance that is often the approach many take to investing. Eventually, all bubbles burst and most markets crash, so from time to time he is right.

This may be one of those times when he is right. That quote, “You can print money, but you can’t print stuff,” is certainly correct.

The United States has become a consumer rather than a manufacturer, and that means the Federal Reserve and the U.S. government have limited control over the supply side of the supply and demand equation. Even products built here depend on computer chips and mechanical parts made overseas. When the factories over there shutdown, the ports close, or the boats don’t sail, there is little we can do about it.

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We Shop 7 Gun Stores Seeking Better Prices

I’ve heard ammo prices are dropping and the shortage is over, but is that true? I stop by gun stores during a road trip to check it out.

I have been watching YouTube videos and reading articles online saying that the ammunition shortage is abating and gun supplies are back.  I decided to check this out myself, so I made a list of the following items I wanted to buy:

  • Premium .22LR rounds, preferably in nickel cases.  I would look for Federal Punch, CCI MiniMags or CCI Stinger rounds.  
  • Any good 9mm FMJ under $16 for a box of 50 rounds and/or a box of Critical Defense 115 grain bullets.
  • .300 Blackout rounds, preferably 110 to 120 grain or 220 grain subsonic.  I don’t want the 150 grain bullets.
  • A takedown Ruger 10/22
  • A lever action .357 carbine, preferably with the tactical set up, meaning black furniture, a rail for an optic, and a rail at the front.  Henry makes a model like this, as do several other companies. 
  • AA1680 and H110 powders

List in hand, I set out to go shopping.

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Prepper Shopping Basket Inflation Report Shows Surprising Results

The CPI is up, headlines are blaring about inflation, Wall Street is worried, yet when we compare prices for prepper pantry staples now and in January, inflation seems to be missing.

Despite the hue and cry about food inflation, preppers looking to stock their pantry with staple items that have a good shelf life can do so without spending more than they would have in January. A summary of our results comparing the prices today with those we recorded 22 weeks ago on January 24 follows:

Prepper shopping basket inflation report results

Clearly, Amazon is an outlier here, with prices well above the others. If we remove Amazon from the equation, we get the following:

Results minus Amazon.com

Note: full details on our methodology are at the bottom of this article.

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