It wasn’t until many of us began to deal with aging parents that we discovered a very unusual thing about them. As they got older, they began to hoard. For whatever reason, they felt that saving every little scrap, piles of old clothes, furnishings, paperwork and a zillion other things was a necessary and desirable pursuit which would, one day, come in handy.
I can still remember filling up an enormous dumpster with the remains of my parents’ very compact three-bedroom house, which took me a month to empty just from all the hoarded items, once they both went into an assisted-living facility. For them, it seemed realistic that in the year 2008 they would have some good use for a psychedelic, purple plastic shower curtain which wasalready caked over with mildew. Go figure! Of course, these were indications of senility and confusion, but in 2022, hoarding has now taken on a new meaning.
Ever since the onset of Covid-19, most of us, no matter where we live, have experienced the lack of certain products that have always been available in abundance in most supermarkets or convenience stores. Those have included masks, hand gel, rapid test kits, milk, eggs, toilet paper, butter, poultry and many other items as well as, most recently, baby formula.
The reasons for their disappearance from shelves had to do with everything from a shortage of truckers, to ships being stuck in ports, not being able to unload their goods, or to people buying in bulk once they got wind of the fact that these items were going to be in low supply – hence, hoarding.
But what was once called hoarding has now become “stockpiling” – having the foresight to store up vast amounts of non-perishable goods which can be readily accessible in the event of another government lockdown now that we know just how easy it is to be orchestrated. Couple that with the current global food chain crisis, lack of fertilizer to grow crops, inadequate supply of workers, truckers and the ever-soaring gas prices, and we have conditions for the perfect storm, causing that feeling of panic from the threat of empty shelves.
Many of us had a good chuckle over the Internet jokes that circulated during Covid portraying a roll of toilet paper to be as precious as gold. It may sound funny, but to this day, I can hardly go to the supermarket without buying a 32-roll pack, just to make sure that I don’t begin to run low, because I’m down to a mere 75 rolls at home.
But now, it’s just not our own paranoia at work. It was actually the Chinese government in November 2021 which warned their citizens to stock up, ahead of winter, on essential supplies. Covid wasn’t the only reason given for the advice. Extreme weather conditions had also been cited for shortages in vegetables, meat and other items. (Bloomberg News, 11/2/21)
Here in Israel, it was reported, by Times of Israel, that the country was searching out other options for eggs and wheat as a result of the war in Ukraine which has provided up to 30% of our egg supply, not to mention the grain imported from Russia and Ukraine, providing us with 20 million tons of wheat (Israel Scrambles for solutions as Ukraine war chokes off egg, wheat imports, 4/2/22)
So, what seems to be justified reasons to stockpile goods in advance of any new, unforeseen emergency situations, may soon be an impossibility if we wait too long. Take Ukraine, which is a perfect example where citizens have already run out of food and medicine.
According to CNN Business, March 24, 2022, “The economic fallout from the invasion is beginning to spill over to the rest of the world too. Forecasts for global growth are being slashed and the chance of a US recession in 2023 has risen to 35% according to Goldman Sachs.” They warn that “Soaring gas and diesel prices are also adding to the cost of food, heightening fears that the world is on the brink of a hunger crisis. France’s government is considering food vouchers to help residents afford to eat.”
Amidst fears of shortages, “Some European retailers have started taking the drastic step of limiting the amount of sunflower oil”consumers can purchase. (EU supermarkets start rationing foodstuffs amid fears of panic buying, 3/11/22). Again, the war in Ukraine is cited as the reason.
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Oddly enough, a quick Google search will reveal that the idea of rationing food and other commodities has been around for many years. It’s just that now, given all we’re seeing between wars amongst global food supplier states, the never-ending pandemic and the mismanagement of governments, the threat of goods being rationed seems to be a real looming possibility worldwide.
But is stockpiling a real option? Most of us would have to go out and rent a warehouse in order to begin buying in bulk, but maybe it’s worth considering. It’s been said by Britain’s security agency MI5, that we are just four meals away from anarchy. As they put it, “Britain could be quickly reduced to large-scale disorder, including looting and rioting in the event of a catastrophe that stops the supply of food.”
So maybe it’s time to come up with a viable plan of how to survive as events unfold which are making daily life less secure.
I am reminded of the Bible story about Joseph who, being warned, through a dream of Pharoah, that there would be a serious and lengthy famine, organized a stockpiling of goods and food which was ultimately responsible for saving the people from sure disaster. It demanded foresight, wisdom and discernment as to how to execute such a life-saving plan, but he proved to be the man of the hour who did the right thing during that time in history.
Would that world governments have the foresight to see the disaster that is on its way, and would that they care enough for their citizens to also do the right thing, by them, in order to save us all from hunger and possibly the greatest suffering the world has ever known.Perhaps our aging parents were right to think that hoarding would come in handy one day, because the way things look, humanity is in need of a few good Josephs right about now!
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