Article: Huge surge in food-storage sales blamed on Y2K : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

-- K Golden (, September 10, 1998


Wow - interesting article. What struck me was that one vendor says that shipment dates are now pushed up to January. Fuels my favorite theme, which is that, whether you believe there will be a problem or not, if enough OTHER people believe there will be a problem, than there dang sure will be a problem!

If you buy extra food now, and all of this turns out to be a bad dream (no, I don't think that will happen - just playing to the people who are still wondering) then what have you got? 1999 and 2000 meals, bought at 1998 prices! Sounds like too good a deal to turn down at any rate!

Melissa - from Iowa

-- Melissa (, September 11, 1998.

The word is definitely spreading! I would just like to encourage those who buy MRE's and freeze dried food to taste it. We have 2 teenagers and after tasting a couple of MRE's, they decided when unprepared family members show up hungry- THEY should have to eat the MRE's as their punishment for not preparing! :-) Seriously, if it is all you have and you are hungry you WILL eat it. I just can't imagine eating them for very long! Not when a can of tuna has a shelf life of 5 years and costs 60-70 cents. Add to it a can of Cream of Mushroom Soup and serve over bread, rice or pasta. Dinty Moore Stew also has a shelf life of 5 years. I added a can of corn and a can of green beans (shelf life 2-3 years), and both teenagers said it was good. We aren't just storing food, we are storing food that we won't mind eating. Sorry, I didn't intend to write a "Suzy Homemaker" post, but taste your food, cook on your wood stove, practice shooting that new gun. Be TRULY prepared!

-- Gayla Dunbar in Texas (, September 11, 1998.

Well said Gayla!

It's only true-end-of-worlders planning for five or more years in a fallout shelter who want or need those mil-spec rations. The rest of us can stock something between a month and a year of normal dried or canned groceries depending on what worst case we plan for.

The point about preparing early is important, though. If everyone goes out and increases their food purchasing 10% today, they'll have a month's surplus by mid-'99 and the economy will cope. If everyone tries to obtain that month reserve in mid-'99 prices will skyrocket and supplies will be badly strained. If they try it in November '99 (which I fear most!) then shelves will be bare. I expect we'll all be living on perishables from Autumn '99 until the event has happened.

-- Nigel Arnot (, September 11, 1998.

A month ago I made my third trip to the LDS cannery near Phoenix and it was just business as usual. I could call one day and go the next. Yesterday (9/10) I dropped in to buy some sacks of wheat and soup mix to pack at home (with oxygen packets, mylar bags, and 5 gal buckets). No wheat for another week and no soup mix for another month! So when could I come back to pack at the cannery---November. Sign was up putting a quanity limit on purchasing wheat. So its back to Cosco and Sams. In any case the staples for long term storage (beans, rice) are relatively inexpensive and there are lots of foods in cans and jars that will easily keep thru Y2k.

-- ron banks (, September 11, 1998.

We're having to go the canned food route. There is no way we can afford to pay high prices for the freeze-dried stuff. One question I have that maybe someone can answer, is there some type of special containers we need or will staples such as flour, rice and sugar store okay in the bags we buy them in? Also, we're looking at purchasing a generator very soon and need some info about the best route to go. Our winters are extremely cold and minus 30/minus 40 is very common in January, February and within 8 to 12 hours of no power our house (we're renting) as well as everybody elses houses will be unbearably cold. Does anyone know whether gasoline powered is the best way to go or are there other reasonably priced alternatives such as propane or solar that can be bought in the $1000.00 range? I'm trying to alert our city leaders to the potential problem of having a small city of 40,000 people 275 miles from the nearest major city suffer a power failure that lasts a few days or even weeks in minus 40 temperatures. There is only one highway into our community as well, and any conditions that may cause the highway to become inaccessible totally isolate us. We had a forest fire three years ago that blocked the road and after two or three days, the supplies in the grocery stores were extremely low.

-- Craig (, September 11, 1998.

I found some real good info in a previous thread here "shelf life of canned goods."

Recommend you check it out. Or cash it out, or credit card it out, or debit card it out, or ... Sorry about the forest fire, at least the food that was left over could be kept warm.

-- Robert A. Cook. P.E. (Kennesaw, GA) (, September 11, 1998.

Craig, I saw a suggestion somewhere to put your sugar, etc. in 2 liter plastic soft drink bottles using a funnel. The top closes tightly and if you fill it to the top, very little oxygen remains. Haven't tried it, but soft drink bottles are easy to come by and cheap, too.

-- Gayla Dunbar (, September 11, 1998.

Make sure you empty the soft drink bottle first.

-- Robert A. Cook. P.E. (Kennesaw, GA) (, September 11, 1998.

Melissa from Iowa and Craig...I too live where it gets very cold in the winter, in fact Melissa I am probably closer to you than you think since I too am here in Iowa. Last year when the power was off for 14 hours, I was so cold that I wore lots of clothes over my pajamas because I couldn't bare taking them off. It is hot now yet I am trying to remember that feeling as I search for a means of keeping warm from Jan.1,2000 until spring, if that indeed will be the scenario! I am planning to find a generator, also, that doesn't cost an arm and a leg. I don't yet know where I will begin to look. Hoping not to have to spend $1,000.00 for one. Also, my husband wanted to go to one of the army surplus stores to buy that freeze dried rations, or whatever you call the stuff, but after hearing from a few of you how awful it tastes I won't bother. I'll stick with the canned food and also add stuff to it like mentioned earlier. It really pays to go to some of the grocery outlets if you can find one near you since canned stuff is so very high these days in the regular grocery stores. Blondie

-- Blondie Marie (, September 11, 1998.

Craig: Are you looking for a generator to power your furnace to keep your house warm? That would require almost constant operation in extremely cold weather, judging by your post, and would mean storing large quantities of fuel -- gasoline, diesel, propane, whatever. Better you should consider moving to a rental with more insulation and a woodstove, then use your generator for an hour or two twice a day to keep the freezer frozen and check the news reports. If you want to stay under $1,000, a gasoline genset is your most likely choice. Find a Honda genset. I've heard unnice things about Coleman.

-- J.D. Clark (, September 12, 1998.

Melissa: You say "...1999 and 2000 meals, bought at 1998 prices!" Are you talking about survival foods? That stuff is much more expensive than what I buy for regular meals. Now if you are referring to the stuff most of us buy every week at the grocery store, then I agree. It's kind of like a savings account - invested in food.

Craig: I have decided to take the good advice I got here (see: "How do we stay warm for a couple of weeks?") and get a kerosene heater. I have a 55 gal. drum of K-1 on order. It's a 22,300 BTU unit, and will run about 5 hrs. on 1 gal. of kerosene. It won't heat the whole house, but we wouldn't freeze. The heater, K-1 and accessories (barrel pump, wicks, etc.) cost less than $300.

We have a natural gas heater which requires no electricity. This would be my first source of heat, for as long as the NG holds out. Burning wood in the fireplace is #2. The kerosene heater is the last line of defense. I will follow the news, and order more K-1 if I see the need.

I looked at generators, but unless I can run the furnace, I don't see much sense in buying one. If I had a well, then I would want to run the pump, but I don't. Besides, I live in a residential area where it would be nearly impossible to store enough gasoline to run the thing for more than a few hours. I feel comfortable storing kerosene, since it is not explosive. If TSHTF I want to be around to deal with it, not dead in a gasoline explosion sometime in '99! I can get by with flashlights, lanterns, candles, radio, watchman, instead of 120 VAC stuff.

My plan assumes a limited failure of the current infrastructure. If everything collapses, then a huge stockpile will just delay the inevitable. In such a case, those who are self-sufficient will be the only ones who are really prepared. Good luck to all, and thanks for all your help!

-- Mike (, September 12, 1998.

An article Gary North just posted said a power plant in New Zealand did not crash when they set the clocks ahead. This is good news!! Hopefully we won't have any crashes here either!!!

-- Dave (, September 12, 1998.

I agree with JD Clark

If you plan on buying a gas powered genset, spend the extra bucks and get a Honda. A 5 KW runs about $1,500 or so the last time I checked. (shop around) I use Honda engines in my business, and they run forever, in fact one of my Hondas is run nearly every day and has about 4000 hours of abuse to its credit. It still starts on the first pull, and has had only a change of plugs, air filters, and oil as needed.

And yes, Coleman gensets are toys, do not trust your life to one.

-- Uncle Deedah (, September 12, 1998.

Listen to your Uncle (Deedah) on genset choices. While Wisconsin missed the Great Ice Storm of 98, others who are in the Northeast and in the market for a genset might ask around for *used* generators. A month ago, I talked with the owner of a Honda generator dealership here in Maine, and back during the storm and its powerless aftermath they offered customers a deal -- if the generator they were buying (and he sold hundreds) because of ice storm power outages was too small, they could trade it in on a new one within a day or two. He still had a dozen smaller Hondas with less than 50 hours on them selling for used prices -- at least a third under new. He says generator dealers often have used ones on hand. Worth a look, but with the usual caveats: check the engines out carefully, even if it means calling in a small-engine mechanic.

-- J.D. Clark (, September 12, 1998.

Lots of web sites on generators. I choose diesel. May be more available due to the need to have fuel for farmers and tractors. Try, etc. Do a "search" on diesel generators etc. If you want to run your entire house you probably need a 10-15 KW size. Set up with deep cell batteries, inverter and generator turn your circuit breakers on and off as needed for particular applications.

-- Rancherdick (, September 12, 1998.

Well, reviewing people's opinions about storage of food blah blah, it has occurred to me that the reason Y2K is a problem is because westerners are trained UNSUSTAINABLE people. Yes, the stupidmarket, sorry, supermarket has little LOCAL food. Yes, cars that dont know the difference between 1900 & 2000 will not run etc. What are we doing as a society? Can the City grow food, or just rely on the third world exporting strawberries til the cows come home. Sustainable people (I am one) are already preparing but not with fall-out shelters - I mean come on - but with getting back to the land & using Permaculture, eating raw food, creating our own electronic fun & being a community again. Yes, if the end to consumerism starts on 1/1/00 - I couldnt care less.


Becuase I am not attached to my physical things. I do not rely on my job as my life ie end of job end of life. We can barter, trade locally & not rely on colleting IOU's/money for the rest of our lives

"Any system that is unsustainable cannot exist for too long - due to it being unsustainable" - Ted Trainer, Uni of NSW

My advice: shed your western outlook on the world, learn that we are a part of the earth, not a ruler. Looks like weve got no choice. Then again, ignore all I say cause I'm just a "greenie extremeist" & see how far that gets you.

-- E Vigo (, September 14, 1998.

E. Vigo, I agree with you, so don't have a cow, man! If Y2K teaches us anyting, it will be how to live with less STUFF. I watch all the new houses going up around here. I could park my cars in their bathrooms, they are so big. Then, they have to buy all this stuff to put in those gigantic battleships, and hire someone to clean all that stuff. It's a joke. All the shopping malls sell the same garbage. It's junk! I've been getting rid of stuff like crazy lately. It's truly a relief! Thanks for your post!

-- Dave (, September 14, 1998.

Craig and others on generators - it doesn't end when you get the generator. You have to make some changes internally to use the generator. For instance, we are on well, the well pump is hard wired. The furnace is also hard wired. You may need 220 for some motors, make sure you have a 220 extension cord. You might want to look into getting a switch at the service into the house, costs about $300 plus labor. Electrician told me that it would cost about $5,000.00 to set up the right size generator so it would power the critical things like heat, sump pump and well. I have a Coleman - got some concerns that it will be there for me when I need it.

About sustainability-- it costs money to become self sufficient. You have to buy a lot of things that you don't normally have in sub-division or city living. We moved out to a farm last year, put in an orchard, berries, other perennial plantings. It takes a lot of equipment, materials and stock to do it right to be prepared. That 20 inch Honda lawnmower just can't keep up with seven acres of organic gardening.

On storing food - you might try a Home Depot for 5 gallon buckets if one is near you - cost about $6.00 including lid. Sam's Club sells 50 lbs of white rice for about $13.00. Aldi's in our area (Chicago) sells different kinds of beans for about 45 cents per lb.

Thanks for all the info you have been putting on line.

-- Rod Beary (rbeary2327@aol.coom), September 17, 1998.

Rod, Shipley Donuts will sell you their 5 pound buckets & lid for $1 or sometimes $2, depending on the store. They are the buckets the creme filling comes in, so they are food grade quality. Good luck!

-- Gayla Dunbar (, September 17, 1998.

One thing to keep in perspective is that the food-storage industry is pretty small. What constitutes a "huge" increase in sales to them can easily be caused by a few thousand people, many of whom might be existing customers. An increase in order size by 20% from half of existing customers accompanied by a 10-20% increase in the total number of customers could easily swamp the manufacturing and distribution capabilities of many of these companies.

-- Paul Neuhardt (, September 17, 1998.

Gayla, I'm not sure I'd use a donut company's buckets. They might have a hole in the middle. 8<)

-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw, GA) (, September 17, 1998.

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