This time around, we're seeing panic buying of guns, magazines and ammunition. Now, extend that to the initial hours/days after a wide scale collapse scenario, when you have people running out and buying anything and everything under the sun. Food. Water. Batteries. Tools. Camping gear. Everything.
Using the current panic buying environment as a case study, here are a few things you can expect to see:
#1. Have what you need on hand:
Pretty self explanatory. You don't want to be in the situation where you're desperate to acquire some needed piece of kit in the eleventh hour...expect to go without or pay exorbitant amounts to acquire it. You knew that tomorrow was the day before Armageddon, what would you be running to the store for? If that list is a very long one, or full of "must haves," then you need to get to work! If you're well squared away, any last minute purchasing may be to add some "nice to haves" or purchase some trade stock for the future--or completely unnecessary.
#2. Expect a limited window of opportunity:
If you're paying attention and act quickly, you can probably beat some of the masses to the purchase. Boyd's OODA loop (observe, orient, decide, act) is helpful here. You've got to be faster at getting through your decision loop than the masses--get in while everyone is still trying to process the consequences. If you hesitate, play "wait and see," or drastically underestimate the consequences of the event, you're probably going to be out of luck. Decisive action won't guarantee you get what you need, but it will help.
#3. Have a game plan:
Given the limited window of opportunity, you need to have a plan of action already in place. You won't have time to research options, search for a good price or decide if you need item A or item B more. Spend a few minutes, think through "last minute" items that you would want and write out a prioritized list. In good times, work your way down that list and acquire the most important items beforehand. Ideally, you'll be able to acquire most or all of the critical items well before any kind of panic. But, if you find yourself in the midst of a run on the market, you'll at least have a list with some forethought behind it to work from.
#4. The obvious items will be first to go:
The panic first hit the most obvious - AR-15s and magazines - and then spread from there. And, people hit the big name dealers first, wiping out their inventories before moving elsewhere. In a disaster, you can expect the obvious survival items will be the first to disappear from shelves - generators, canned goods, guns, ammo, flashlights and batteries, etc. And, Wal-Mart and Home Depot will get swarmed before the corner store or the snooty organic grocery store.
#5. Profiteering will be rampant:
Markups of 200% to 300% seem to be run of the mill in the current panic, and I would expect them to be worse during a wide scale collapse. Gas prices? How about a bag of rice? A bulk pack of AAs? You think you'll be able to find fair prices on the private market, when the shelves have been cleared, the tanks have run dry and the guy down the street has five gallons of gas up for trade? Many will try to cash in on the disaster -- you can count on it.