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3/26/14

Mental Exercise: The 1 Minute Shopping Spree

Next time you've got a minute to kill in a random gas station or corner drug store, here's a little game I like to play.

The balloon has gone up, the crap has hit the fan and you have only a minute or two to buy any last minute supplies--either to help get you home or help get you through the hard times to come. Now, how much cash do you have in your pockets? What would you buy?

What would be useful? What would sell out first? What do you think people would overlook? What would you need the most?

Do you have enough cash on hand to get what you'd want? Fill up the tank with gasoline and the trunk with bottled water? Extra water and food for the trek home?



Pretty easy to put into practice. Give yourself a budget, pull up the stopwatch on your phone, give yourself a minute or two and see how you do. Does it take you longer than planned? How well did you do?

Making your plans dependent on a last minute trip to the gas-n-gulp is unwise, but it doesn't hurt to put some pre-thought into making the most of an opportunity if it presented itself.

Anyone else tried this?

15 comments :

  1. Wow! someone else actually play this game too. Everytime I take a road trip out of town or even go to local CVS or Walgreen I'm ticking off what items I would grab in case a majoe catstrophe occurs while I'm there including what container/bag I could access within the store to carry the stuff out in

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  2. I play this game as well! One thing it can do is show you the holes in your system. The items you end up choosing just might be things you should actually buy and add to your preps.

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    1. Excellent point. There are quite a few items in my preps for which the decision to purchase/build/stage was guided by playing this game. I've not ever done it to a stop watch as described in the article, but I do it quite regularly. One thing I do, is to play the game with specific event scenarios in mind, instead of just a generic SHTF thing. This can help to point out even more gaps.

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  3. I play the 'What If' game quite a lot as well. I learned this while on deer stand, waiting for a buck to show itself (what would I do if the buck showed up THERE). Because of this, I have adjusted the contents of my vehicle GH bag.

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  4. I done this too, along with the what/how/where...driving somewhere, I would game WHAT if something happen now, and WHAT was it. HOW would I get home, WHERE I could get extra supplies on the way back. I started this one day going to work, and the EBS came on the radio, and I though I haven't heard EBS for a real long time, so here we go. it was a only a test. but it got me thinking.

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  5. This is a great idea. Now that I'm thinking in terms of being prepared it's amazing what you can find just wandering around a pharmacy or convenience store. Good post.

    BTW, I really get a lot of useful information out of your blog. I appreciate the effort you put into it. Thanks.

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  6. I did this as soon as I read You Took Away Tomorrow Chapter 2, so it was your inspiration, just posted earlier.

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  7. riverriderMarch 27, 2014

    worked in logistics a while. every year and sometimes in between the higher would send out a notice, "you have four hours to spend xxx dollars or lose it. we got in the habit of keeping a wish list by the phone. i still do. my last minute list is mainly building supplies. figure everybody else we be hitting food,gas,guns,etc.got all that covered. i'll be loading up 2x's and plywood,plastic sheeting, roof panels for repairs and fighting positions. ordering a 17 ton load of sand as well. if time, hit the farm supply for extra garden supplies and they usually keep a few chickens on hand :)

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  8. I actually wrote an article on how peppers should be ready to take advantage of normalacy bias to do last minute shopping if the SHTF. A one minute blitz is fine if you find yourself in a store as people just are starting to panic, but even more useful, I believe is a plan to buy up as much as you need as quickly as you can. This means lists of key items at several different stores and conderations of items/stores that might be overlooked. Also to consider: how are you going to pay for it? I plan to max out my cards, drain my ATM cards, write some checks, (in that order) and only then tap into my cash reserves. Finally you need to plan for security. First you need to think about criteria for when a run might make sensevandvwhen it would be suicide. This means having a criterion for what constitutes an imminent SHTF so that you can get out ahead of the crowd. Also having a plan to have a team(s) of 2-3 people go to one or more stores (I.e. at the same time) so that one can be a getaway driver, another overwatch, and another the actual shopper.

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  9. This is an incredibly useful idea. I have done this at airports before when I knew I would be camping there for the night. If you see Atlanta shut down get prepared to sit. That means buying what you need and stocking up before stores close. This is a step further though. Structuring how you pay for things is a great idea too. I had not considered that before. Thanks for the ideas.

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  10. Question. Has anybody else made a list of what they would scavenge from work? Be honest.

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  11. Cory, I have. It'd be foolish of me not to do it. It seems to me that like minded people will try to push themselves to play this game or exercise. I've even done the reverse: If I had to leave my home (we are in fire prone areas), what would I do? To that end, I have a printed out list that everyone has their own page and checklists. Hubby and I talked it over too (the store list), because there's no sense having someone show up with Oreos when we agreed on sugar and flour.

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  12. fabregas485March 30, 2014

    Its unlikely that shops will have all you need, and gas stations (I am basing on the UK as that's where I live) tend to be a lot more expensive. You could pick up 6 or 7 bottles of water for the price of one, and unlikely that in a major situation that the gas station will still have supplies if someone else has been in and brought up the supplies.

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  13. I'm a little late to the party - "What If Now" is a nice mental exercise - thought often on it.

    Fuel, Fuel, Gas/Diesel, as much as you can get while the pumps are still going.
    It will get you to your destination - no substitute for it.
    Top barter item - trade for anything you need.
    Fire even with everything wet.

    You can take a big rubbermaid tub - seal around the top with duct tape, and cut a 1" hole in a corner. Fill it up 3/4 - good for 12 gallons. If the gas jockey tries to stop you just show them your DHS id card (a good thing to make up in advance). wicked simple


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    1. Love the DHS ID!!!!!! Excellent work. Just pain old excellent!! +10 for Anon!

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