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Prepping vs Hoarding: What is the Difference?

The early days of the COVID-19 pandemic saw a rush of panicked buyers stockpiling essential supplies such as toilet paper, hand sanitizer, water, soap, guns, and ammunition. The prospect of having to isolate for a few weeks led some people to rush out and buy two years worth of toilet paper, just in case. This led to a severe worldwide shortage of these supplies, causing stores to ration sales, and those who were unprepared had nowhere to get these supplies.

These hoarders were not preppers, as preppers bought months or years ahead of time. Prepping is about buying in times of plenty, in anticipation of unforeseen times of need. No one anticipated the corona virus pandemic, but some were more prepared than others. Prepping is not paranoia, as those who were well prepared did not have to panic when store shelves emptied. Likewise, gun owners did not rush out to the gun stores to buy guns and ammunition, as they already had plenty. The bulk of the surge of gun and ammunition purchases were from first time gun buyers, who had just realized the implications of the potential civil unrest, rioting, and looting, and the fact that the government would be unable to protect individuals. The hoarding we saw, on the other hand, was a panicked, emotional, and irrational response to a crisis. This reaction was counterproductive and harmed those who were most vulnerable.

So what lessons can we learn from this? Clearly it is too late now to start prepping for the COVID-19 pandemic. But what about the next shortages? What is plentiful now, but may be in short supply later? Everyone's needs and resources are different, so no pointers will be appropriate for everyone. Time is also overabundant now for most people. If you are in self-isolation in your home, this is a great time to invest in that book you keep meaning to write, or to spend quality time with your family. Think about ways you can use your available resources to create value for yourself and those around you. The COVID-19 pandemic may soon evolve from a medical crisis to an economic, and eventually a freedom crisis. What can you do now to prepare for those possibilities?


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