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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Friendly Bandits

Most of us that write for the preparedness blogs touch on the same subjects over a period of time. We extol the virtues of having water, food, fuel, and defensive measures. You can not have too much in storage. You can not predict how long an event might last, how many folks will show up looking for support, or if you will even be able to reach your supplies. A flood or a fire can wipe out everything you have worked years for also. I recently discovered another way I was losing supplies; I had a case of friendly bandits.
The first time I noticed I had been raided is when I went out to the barn to fill the tractor so I could mow the lawn. I should probably remind you that I store my emergency gas supplies in cans in the barn. The cans range from 6 gallons to one gallon. I date each can when I fill them and I use them up from oldest first. They get cycled through in about every two years. Once emptied a can is placed on the floor with the date tape removed so I can fill them when prices dip. Since we had had a price dip a while back all the cans were filled and ready, or so I thought.
I grabbed the oldest five gallon can off the shelf and it was empty. Oh crap I thought, I had a leaky can. I grabbed the next oldest can and it was empty too! Before I was done I had four empty cans. I was down twenty gallons of gas and prices have just jumped. I was pissed.
While I mowed the lawn I kept going over it in my mind and decided that all the cans didn’t leak. I asked the family and my oldest son confessed that he had a bad case of the “shorts” and filled his car with the oldest gas. I didn’t care that he used the gas. I use some too when I have the shorts. What bothered me was that he didn’t tell me so I could refill them when prices were low. It also left me with a false sense that I have more stored fuel than I really did.
When we moved back to the farm I put a shelf in the basement for paper products. I loaded the thing with paper towels, paper plates, napkins, and some toilet paper. When loading the paper towel rolls I noticed that the price on the rolls jumped ten cents at a time and I started at 49 cents a roll and ended at .99. It reminded me that if you buy a lot of bulk early on you save a lot of money long term.
A few weeks ago I saw my wife had bought some paper towels. It made me realize that I had not seen her buy any before. I checked the basement and all the paper towels were gone. Over the last few years my wife used up all the stored supplies and was just now buying a few at a time. Once again what I thought was a nice inventory of a much needed supply was not at all there.
It has always been difficult to get my wife to see that she needs to keep supplies up. She figures we are saving a ton of money using up stuff we already have. We don’t fight tooth and nail over prepping, but she doesn’t see the same future that I do. I will have to be the one that goes out someday and buys a large number of towels and puts them someplace where I can get them when the emergency happens.
Over the last year I have used up one of my cans of Coleman fuel and not replaced it. I mentioned before that my kerosene has been used up over the last few deer seasons and not replaced too. Even I am guilty of using supplies and not replacing them.
While you may have really good preparedness and solid plans in place, make sure that you keep a finger on the pulse of your supplies or like me; you may find you have lost some things to friendly bandits.
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