Many years ago I worked as a night stocker (sounds a little ominous, doesn’t it?) in an Albertson’s grocery store. I went to work at 10 or 11 p.m. and would get off the next morning at 6 a.m. I would re-stock the candy and nut aisle and operate the cash register for the shoppers who would come into the store at all hours of the night.
When I worked in the grocery store, bar codes and scanners had not yet been invented. Groceries would be delivered to the store’s “back room” pretty much in accordance with educated guesstimates of what would be needed over the next few days. If something couldn’t be found on the store shelf, shoppers would ask a store employee who could often find it in that “back room.” No more.
Nowadays, when you buy a can of tomato soup, the scanner automatically places an order for its replacement. When it comes in, it is immediately put on the shelf. In most cases, there is no longer a “back room” in the store containing extra groceries. If something were to disrupt the daily flow of replacement foodstuffs to that store, in a matter of a few short hours the shelves would be depleted of most of the things we take for granted and that our families consume on a daily basis.
Can you imagine the scene if something happened to stop the eighteen wheelers from rolling up and down our highways, byways and interstates? What if that can of tomato soup, for whatever reason, could not be immediately replaced on the grocery store shelf? What would happen if, in a matter of hours or even minutes, the store shelves were cleaned out of bread, vegetables, canned goods, medicines, baby food, dog food, meat and milk? There is no longer a “back room” from which to restock those goods.
What if your electricity went out and along with it, the water that now flows so freely from your kitchen and bathroom faucets? Without electricity, the gasoline pumps won’t work. When your gas tank is empty, how do you get to work? Without fuel, how will you cook your food or heat your home in winter? Couldn’t happen here? If you believe that, you haven’t been listening to, reading or watching the daily news. In this country alone we are constantly being plagued with natural and man-made disasters. There are hurricanes, tornados, fires, floods, earthquakes and extreme winter conditions.
We have seen terrorist acts including the attack on the World Trade Center and Pentagon that disrupted the whole airline industry for weeks. We have seen civil unrest, riots and fires, looting and vandalism. Now we hear rumors of an impending collapse of the world monetary system. All the difficulties that have gone before would be a drop in the proverbial bucket if people living in our cities and towns woke up one morning and discovered there was no food to be had in the grocery stores and the water wouldn’t flow from the faucet.
What about personal disasters? Are you prepared for serious illness or disability in the family? How about the death of a family member, divorce, loss of income, bankruptcy, being technologically unskilled in a technological world, living impoverished in a land of plenty? James Talmage Stevens in his book, “Making the Best of Basics: Family Preparedness Handbook,” said “As society becomes increasingly more complex and our space more crowded, greater numbers of us live and work in disaster-prone areas, and the potential for involvement in any of these disasters is enhanced. Today’s lifestyle adds further pressure to the chances for ‘personal disasters.’”
You might say, “Well, that may be true of those who live in the big cities.” But where are those big city people going to go when they can find nothing to eat or drink in their cities? They’re going to try to find what they need by foraging in the countryside—they are very likely going to knock on YOUR door or try to steal YOUR chickens seeking some kind of relief.
Well, have I depressed you to the point of wanting to be better prepared? Wouldn’t you rather be the person in a position to help others in need rather than having to seek help yourself? Many of us are concerned with spiritual salvation. Do we have the ability or sufficient motivation to save ourselves temporally? It is written, “…if ye are prepared ye shall not fear.” (D&C 38:30)
Next week we will look at a few basic principles of self-reliance that have the potential of saving our hides in times of trouble or disruption. At the same time, it is my hope and prayer that all will be well with us as families, as a community and as a nation.