Meeting the stranger after the SHTF
If the worst happens, and we must bug out, then we'll all be refugees eventually. It's very possible in descending order based upon the size of the city we live in.
When refugees arrive initially, people will feel sorry for them. The first refugees will bring in income in fiat money, buy things to resupply, be temporarily housed in motels, buy food from restaurants. Before we realize the deeper effects, local businesses will temporarily be boosted by a decrease in their inventory, and an increase in their sales.
As thing progress, local citizens who have not prepared, will realize that local supplies will be stripped out, and that they better rush on down and buy what they can.
Buying things on the road are intrinsically more expensive as any traveler soon realizes. You buy things based upon the proximity to your location since you do not know where the cheapest places are to acquire them. This really is no issue to the sojourner since their money may in fact be worthless. The same is true of their credit card/debit card purchases.
The closer a metropolitan area is to a highway, the more likely that fleeing refugees will use that means of transportation. Traffic will proceed South and West. South due to warmer climates. West due to lower population density. Some may have vacation homes, have taken vacation in certain areas, or have family or friends in those areas, so naturally those places will come first-to-mind.
As overcrowding occurs and traffic jams, some will divert off the main interstates. Some will decide to take the exits, and then take slower roads, but in lower population density areas. Then the smaller towns off the main track will see an influx of refugees.
As things become more unstable, and if gasoline is difficult to acquire, more refugees will be on foot. At first they'll travel from the main interstates and highways, and then just like the first group, follow the smaller routes for safety.
The people with the least disposable income and assets, the most vulnerable will flee last, since it will be difficult for them to do so.
Some people will leave based upon their jobs. If someone works in a critical infrastructure role: utilities, medicine, military, education, etc there will be severe consequences for leaving without technically being allowed to. They simply may be patriotic or passionate or worried about losing their job, and delay too long. Some of the latter folks will fit into this category. Some of the refugees with the highest skill set may actually come last.
At any time, some people are traveling. Maybe they're retired, have money, traveling for their jobs, etc. Some of the people in these categories will be refugees by circumstance. They simply will get caught in the mass movement.
A lot of people cannot travel long distances without cars to transport them. All that walking, especially if the weather is hot, and they are on cardiac medications, are diabetics, are medically fragile, are pregnant and ill, etc will have enormous hurdles to overcome.
Ones that are on medications, and suddenly unable to take them, may die. Suddenly not taking medications like beta blockers will result in a renewed intense hypertension. All that walking will become fatal. Having type 1 diabetes, being stuck without insulin, not having food to help you control your blood glucose levels, and then exerting yourself by walking ten miles will kill you.
Some of the refugees will naturally walk together. Problems will be seen right away. Many folks are not especially kind or good inside. While a facade of civilization exists in their normal life, suddenly being low on cash, low on food, lacking transportation, and on foot, will freak them out. It will be very easy for them to justify stealing as a means of survival. The easiest people to steal from will be other refugees. The second easiest people to steal from will be foolish people who may be trying to help, but not thinking out any assistance.
Part of helping the stranger will be in organizing any assistance to protect yourself, and minimize risk, and help them if you can. The security of your own family and depth of how much you can share must be weighed thoughtfully. It goes without saying that some small towns will help...initially. When supplies are low, very few small towns, faced with an influx of refugees without skills or supplies, will be able to share. In fact, having those refugees within a town will be considered a security risk due to theft or possible violence.
The first towns to reject assisting refugees will be those closest to metropolitan areas. The last refugees to travel close to towns will be treated with open hostility. The towns furthest from the main larger towns and the most remote towns will be the last to see refugees. Many of them will have died on their journey.
The smaller the town, the less supplies will be there. Like all other towns, many receive shipments to re-stock. As people flee, they will attempt to purchase supplies, local citizens will buy them up, re-stocking will not occur, and shelves will be empty.
While medical supplies will be available at first, priority on medications will be dispensed to residents. At first there will be issues with prescriptions and payment. Prescriptions are handled by computer authorization from insurance companies and central databases to prevent abuse. There may be no computer authorization forthcoming. Pharmacists may have to stick out their necks, and dispense them anyway. If so, what would you do as a small town pharmacist? Most likely you'll know regulars, and will fill them anyway. You'll also run out quickly, and know that no restocking will be possible, at least for a long time. I feel certain in the bigger cities than panic will occur as larger city pharmacists do not know their customers. Lack of verification will preclude them from dispensing. Some may look for an authority figure to approve them doing so.
Anyone on critical medications who is reading this, most likely realizes how fragile they now are.
Antibiotics will be crucial for saving a lot of lives, especially during cold weather. As local medical personnel have great difficulties and experience more deaths, they may have to triage who gets them, and who will not. People in critical roles that serve their community and perhaps the young will get first priority.
Later in the process, as a refugee, you will be extremely low on the food chain, almost a non-person.
Local leaders will no doubt ask refugees what skills they can realistically bring to the town. Being able communicate this in a non-threatening way, and being able to do it confidently, might keep you from going hungry.