Last minute preparations
In the event of a SHTF scenario, I think the average American thinks they run down to the hardware, grocery, pharmacy, bank, sporting good store at the last possible minute as it become evident that it's finally here. So then will all of the other folks in your town doing precisely the exact same thing. How do you think that will that play out?
You cannot wait until the last moment. As a situation becomes gradually unstable, some stores, particularly large retain discounters will realize that it's a selling opportunity. As a situation occurs in which they might be able to sell large volumes, and realizing that their profit margins are low, they'll order supplies to increase based upon their anticipated selling. This will very important to their business as sales volumes have been low due to a down economy.
When this occurs, it will create some possible supply disruptions as inventories are routed, particularly to larger metropolitan areas that may have higher volumes sold than your small town. Waiting until the last minute will almost guarantee not being able to buy certain items that will be in high demand.
All industries use Just-In-Time inventory practices. Nothing sits around in warehouses very long. Most suppliers deliver raw materials to factories, and as much as possible, they'll make goods to order as quickly as possible to minimize their own internal warehousing, while maximizing output.
Because any global economic collapse will affect all countries, and because so many items are made in foreign countries, we can expect much more of a supply problem than say the recent Japanese Earthquake/Tsunami. If you're a government official in China, and collapse looks possible, do you ship finished goods to the USA, or do you stockpile some within your own country. What would you do if a Chinese government official?
As concern grows about the strength of the US dollar, we might very well see these issues in small ways, and they should be a major red flag to any GLP person reading this. We certainly will see rapid price increases that will dramatically be higher than what we're used to.
The standard survival protocol has been to purchase items that you might conceivable utilize over a year's time. Since inflation is rampant, this actually saved people money, that had enough cash flow to purchase items, often in bulk, at prices that now seem much cheaper than if they waited at the last minute. The only time there might be a downside would be if you purchased things you didn't need, and then they were wasted. There's something to be said for making a single trip to a major retailer than making ten trips, and saving both gasoline and time.
Of course you need room to store these things, and so storage can be an issue. There are lots of ways to find space, and as long as they're in climate controlled unused areas, the worst that could happen would be a loss of some living space, or that the extra material could be unsightly in your home. Big deal.
In a perfect world, you wait until the last minute, and the gleaming shelves of supplies are waiting there for you, right up until the last moment. What then? Imagine the chaos as you and your neighbors rush in to certain aisles in those store, strip out the supplies, and all try to check out at once. It will be madness.
All of that last minute purchasing hinges on debit and credit cards working properly. Personally, I don't think they will. I think a gazillion electronic transfers going on, even in a perfect world, will be problematic. If it's a global economic collapse, how much more of an issue will electronic funny money be? Honestly, I think most people think that they'll buy it on credit, knowing that they can never pay that credit card bill. So will the banks. So will the retailers.
Imagine cash transfers only. Presently, $1 out of 100 is a cash transaction. How many cash transactions do you think your largest retailer could handle in such a situation? How will they make change? Imagine customers anticipating this, going to the banks for cash, and then buying things at the retailer. Chaos.
Last minute purchases of supplies assumes that the workers show up. What do you think they'll be doing when they see the SHTF on television?
Last minute preparations are no preparations at all.