Thinking within and outside the box in a dollar collapse
Here's some thoughts on a dollar collapse. Some are ones that I haven't seen before in scenarios. Maybe you've thought of them too.
The Jones family isn't prepared to handle any emergencies. They're financially strapped at most times, and use the “float” period between bills coming in and credit cards ...as a bridge to keep their neck about the rising water of their debt. They wait to pay bills as long as possible, trying not to pay late fees in the process, but they often accidentally miscalculate and end up owing extra.
Around Christmas, they purchase a lot of extras besides their normal expenditures. They allocate a lot of their limited money on luxury gifts and buy a lot more alcohol and expensive food items. They put a lot of extra bills on credit cards that they don't usually use, and this is their backup financial plan.
The Smith family is frugal. They raise a lot of their food in the garden and in some limited livestock. They all hunt and fish. They haven't taken an expensive vacation in many years. They paid down their debt and tightened their belts instead. They purchase many supplies when things are on sale, sometimes a month or two in advance because they have surplus cash. They rotate their supplies, for to waste money is against their nature.
Around Christmas, the Smiths do buy Christmas gifts for their family, but they make a lot of them too. The gifts tend to be more practical. Many are books to encourage learning skills. The do spend money on extras like everyone else, but it's less of an issue because they have much more breathing room, so they don't have to use credit cards. They have them for emergencies like a tool that they use instead of the tool controlling them.
There are odd stories on the news. It looks like there's a movement to not use dollars as much in the global economy. Less US Treasuries are being sold, and seemingly most appear to be purchased by the Federal Reserve. There's an increase in global tension. A lot of financial experts are warning that the US Debt Ceiling will not get raised due to combativeness by one political party over another post-election.
The Smiths top off their purchases with some fuel for their vehicles, generators, and some surplus. They have adequate water and food to last for six months. They've got extra water as a result of rainwater collection and food-grade barrels. Mainly if there's an issue, they want some fuel options in case they need to create their own power. They have an emergency plan to leave to a even more rural location within 45 minutes of their already quiet location. That would be a last resort, for it mean leaving most of their supplies. It would happen if there was a danger of being overrun.
The Jones are worried and rush down to purchase items last minute. They don't know what they need, and the market is chaos. It's way worse than any Black Friday, and the parking lot is packed. They're laughing but randomly purchasing things they think they'll need. There's immensely long queues of shoppers and it takes forever to get checked out.
Truckers around the country get worried calls from dispatch organizations they work for. All of them tell the truckers to pull over and purchase fuel NOW. They anticipate issues with getting their payloads to their end-points. Some rerouting is taking place, strictly changing normal operating procedures.
Some county sheriffs are worried about the news. They contact their mayors, and make some plans to divert roadways in case they get hammered with urban refugees. They'll block exits if need be to any cars who are not regular visitors.
Some smart sheriffs suggest that the city restrict local sales to residents, and contact vendors about their concerns with fuel and food. Vendors agree that there's a potential risk that purchases might not be paid for, and the cities will purchase the vendor's inventory instead. The sheriffs discuss with hotel and motel owners the potential issue of occupants not leaving and using up local water and ultimately not paying their bills. Restaurant owners are contacted about their food supplies. Residents are encouraged to store water in case there's any disruptions. In case of power disruptions, the restaurants have agreed to sell their food at a discount to the city, to be prepared to feed their residents rather than be wasted.
Urban centers don't want to alarm people, and say nothing.
The market opens and US Futures are sharply down across the board. When the US markets opens, panic selling begins and the circuit breaker in charge of market disruptions creates a halt to trading. The market close completely.
Fuel retailers contact each other and their suppliers. They decide to raise prices by collaborating. They anticipate issues with the effect on the dollar. Some break cohesiveness, and prices begin spiraling out of control.
Some people in urban areas take “vacations” to more rural places. These prescient refugees pack up some supplies and head across the country. Since most of them “fill up the tank” at the last minute, there's a rush on gasoline. A lot of people start purchasing fuel in containers too creating a very high demand for fuel. The high demand and the uncertainty mixes with the rising prices and the fuel prices are adjusted and readjusted higher and higher.
This triggers the news media's attention. They run stories about the phenomena. There are pictures of long lines, and counter-intuitively a lot of curiosity seeks decide to fill up and also people watch. This makes fuel prices rise sky-high.
Every city in the nation is seeing impulse purchases. A lot of people begin traveling to small communities to see if their gas prices are lower and food costs too. The increase in demand has resulted in higher food prices overall.
Some patients begin fulfilling many months of prescriptions. They know all too well how dependent they are on these drugs. Pharmacies get hammered with orders. Lines back up in the drive through, and parking lots are filled with people waiting, and then being told they're out of medicines. This kicks in JIT inventory controls and automatic reorders that get reported to shipping companies. Administrators warn their area operation bosses that something is deeply wrong. It looks like very long shipping times due to the volume.
Many drug warehouses don't have the medicines to fulfill orders to be sent to the distribution centers. Their production lines will have to actually fill more drugs by overtime. This will add to costs and prices rise sky high.
Retailers are very happy with the added sales, but these purchases are being monitored by their JIT inventory systems and automatic reorder of stock begins to happen. These large changes in volume get noticed by administrators. Worried shipping companies realize that so many are ordering extra that they can't keep up. Food distribution centers see that they have inadequate inventories to fulfill orders and they contact their administrators too.
Banking notices large purchases and puts holds on many credit card holders' lines of credit. So many declines and issues with volume create a system outage. Retailers can't accept plastic anymore. They temporarily take cash, but can't make change. Those with local checks are the last ones to purchase items before they too are denied.
Many truckers can't get fuel in any timely way. Traffic snarls up in some places. Accidents happen in higher amounts than normal with many more people on the roads darting in front of trucks and accidental impacts. Traffic gets worse. Some truckers decide to pull over and wait out some of this temporary madness. There's a lot of confusion about where to deliver to since a lot of new orders can't be filled, and so many truckers are getting many end-point changes and this results in a lot of them getting frustrated. There's a lot of accidents on highway exits and in merging with traffic.
People who weren't awake to the danger now try to get items and find out that many businesses are closed due to the plastic not being accepted. Many get lost in parts of town they are familiar with, and some go to smaller towns and get lost along the way. There's been some shootings of commuters in some poorer parts of towns. These continue to rise in occurrence.
Several smaller towns get swamped with urban refugees. When they get to these small towns, their credit cards/EMT/debit cards don't work. They try to get cash, but the machines are down for maintenance. Either they've been stripped of cash or they simply don't operate.
The refugees are stranded with no money, low fuel, no supplies, no water.
County sheriffs call other sheriffs and warn their peers to close their roads to newcomers. They drive around their normal routes and see parking lots in every business with out of town vehicles. There's been a lot of disturbances with merchants having to refuse to allow people to use bathrooms, some thefts, people unable to get a motel room, unable to pay for meals after eating in restaurants.