Panic Buying At Grocery Stores And Devastating Food Shortages

January 13, 2015, by Ken Jorgustin

panic-buying-and-food-shortages

One of the most difficult things for people to do is to anticipate change. For the most part, we see the future based on the way things are today coupled with how they’ve ‘always been’ relating to our own sphere and short timeline of history (e.g. normalcy bias).

Often, this works well enough for us. However sometimes the future can unexpectedly ‘smack us in the face’ in spectacular and disastrous fashion…


 
The thought of massive food shortages at our grocery stores may seem absurd for most of us. It’s such a departure from today’s modern life conveniences that it just seems crazy to consider the idea.

I challenge you to think about where your food comes from. And then realize that EVERYONE’S food (almost everyone) comes from there too. The grocery store.

How does the food get to the grocery store? Through a ‘just in time’ distribution model which requires a tremendous set of variables to work just right – ranging from economic factors, inventory forecasting, transport infrastructure, agricultural conditions, domestic & foreign supply, and a host of other factors.

Is it conceivable that any of the variables and ‘assumptions’ which factor into our ‘JIT’ system – could ‘go wrong’ to the extent of disruption and food shortages? For most people, the answer is no it is not conceivable or believable. One reason being – it has not happened to ‘them’ before – so it will not happen ever. The notion seems absurd to them.

Of course it could happen! It has already happened before (temporarily) and it has happened locally and regionally from time to time (e.g. major weather events). Fortunately it has not been long lasting for us. But could food shortages ever become long lasting? Sure they could…

All it would take is a general wide-spread major panic – one which is long lasting.

Analogy: Think of it as a bank run. If there’s word that the banks are about to collapse (not too far-fetched these days), people will rush to the banks to withdraw their money first – before others take what’s theirs first. (The banks only hold a tiny miniscule amount of cash.)

Analogy: Remember not too long ago when (for over a year) there was (still is?) virtually no (as in none) .22 ammo available anywhere? Panic buying (during an associated assault on the 2nd Amendment) emptied the shelves of nearly all ammo (particularly .22) and the shortages have lasted for over a year and counting.

Similarly, food shortages will likely ensue if there’s ever a major wide-spread panic, as in a SHTF event which psychologically scares (or wakes up) the sleeping sheeple such that they become overwhelmingly compelled to run to the grocery stores to get food (because most people only have a few days to a few weeks food at home). A run on the grocery stores will BREAK the ‘JIT’ system and the food shortages that will result will potentially be exceedingly difficult to overcome if the panic is anywhere approaching ‘long term’.

If the typical person or household suddenly were to want a two-month or six-month reserve of food (for example), the systemic demands would instantly become so great, that it may not ever recover. (Today’s urban/suburban grocery stores hold generally and approximately a 3-day supply, given their local consumption turnover.)

Grocery store shoppers would see empty food shelves, which would further stimulate panic buying. The moment any new food were to arrive, the food would be picked clean almost instantly. This would mark the end of our reliable food supply system.

Given that we essentially have no warehousing and a near-fixed resupply capability, we would likely be looking at a PERMANENT condition of no food on the shelves.

You might ask, under what severe and long lasting conditions would people (at large) panic such that grocery store shelves would be stripped bare?

I will leave the answer to your imagination. Granted, the threshold would have to be major – but we are living in dangerous times filled with threats both seen and unseen while at the same time never before in history have so many humans relied entirely upon external systems to supply their food (and thus, their lives).

I will suggest that you consider the consequences of a major financial-economic collapse. Most of you know that an economic collapse is not that far out of the question… right?

How many of us could survive for long without any substantial food from the grocery store? In today’s modern world, I’ll suggest that ‘most’ could not survive (90 %?). Generations ago this number would have been MUCH smaller.

Think about it. Do not assume that it will never happen. We are living in dangerous times. Some of us see it, but many do not…