Hoarding? Or planning ahead

Even though I work in retail, like many I was caught a bit flat-footed when the panic buying hit this Spring.  For several weeks it was touch and go whether or not my wife and I were going to have adequate supplies of our preferred paper products in the house.  Not to mention what became ‘big-ticket’ items like hand sanitizer and hand soap.

Since then, things have gotten a bit better in terms of supplies being in the stores on a more anticipated basis, though paper towels are invariably in short supply as well as limited in variety no matter where you go. 

This week there have been rumblings about a ‘second wave’ of rationing because of the uptick of COVID cases in this area as well as elsewhere.   On our most recent shopping trip, I, being the retail veteran, noticed the signs that have reappeared on certain items in the store, warning shoppers that they’re limited to 1 or 2 of paper towels, toilet paper, peanut butter and other things that have up to now been somewhat plentiful enough to allow almost unlimited buying.

As for myself, in the past couple of months I’ve been upping our supply of paper products as well as other long-term shelf stable items in case of unexpected shortages.  Now some might see that as ‘hoarding’ but I wasn’t buying toilet paper or paper towels 4 and 5 multi-packs at a time.  Nor have I been cleaning out the canned good section regularly.   If anything, it could be said that I’ve been engaging in limited purchases to bolster our bottom line, and permit our neighbors to do the same, all the while not spending any more than we can afford, in order to better survive what’s coming in the next several months. 

Obviously we’re not ogres here.  If a neighbor happened to come to the door and say they needed to ‘borrow’ something we had in abundance, we’d share.   But even so, we’re in a position where it makes sense to plan ahead, and have adequate supplies to get us through if we can, without breaking the bank in the process. 

I actually thought about getting a chest freezer and filling it, but in that retrospect, we’d end up probably not using it correctly and it would become something that would cost more than it was worth.  We eat out enough (take-out) that I’m not exclusively cooking from home, and don’t require large amounts of frozen meat, vegetables and so on.  The small freezer above the refrigerator has been good enough for the past 20 years, it should be enough going forward.  Unless I take a couple of cooking classes and suddenly decide to buy a half a cow that needs to be stored for the long term.  But I don’t see that occurring.

Suffice it to say, I feel better prepared for the next couple of months than I did back in March and April.  And that’s saying something.

A rude awakening

In more ways than one.  Last night our friends from NC arrived, parked their SUV in front of our house and came inside.  They’d had a long drive (10+ hours) and got settled, had some conversation, a few drinks and went up to bed.  As is my custom when I’m on vacation, I don’t always go to bed at a ‘normal’ time, it may be 3 or 4 am before I turn in.  I used to work 3rd shift for close to 20 years, so to me, night-time is just as good as day time to get things done on the computer, or in the house if I’m quiet enough.  No, mowing the lawn at 2 am isn’t one of those things.

Even after going to bed at 3:45 this morning, I only managed about 4 1/2 hours of sleep before getting up.  Seeing as I use a CPAP machine, I got some good REM zz’s and felt good enough to get up around 8:30.  Upon leaving the bedroom I could tell the guests were already up and about as the scent of bacon had wafted up the stairs and encountered my nostrils.  So they (as usual) were able to fend for themselves and were getting ready to start their day.  My wife and I headed downstairs, morning greetings were made and so on.  They headed outside to get to their car, and I settled down to accomplish some things for today and tomorrow.

Within a few minutes they were back in the house and calling for me and my wife.  Apparently upon opening their car door, they discovered someone had ‘broken into’ the unlocked car overnight and had rifled through their things.  Opened the glove compartment and had made it pretty clear they were searching for valuables.  The wife mentioned that the only things they discovered missing were a pint of strawberries intended for her sister-in-law, and a Garmin GPS unit.  After being rather saddened and shocked that they’d become the victims of thievery here, (in 18 years of visiting us, this is a first) I offered to call the local police, but she insisted that she wasn’t going to file a report, since she didn’t think her items were going to be recovered, and they were already late for going to where they needed to go.  So, waiting for the police to ‘do their thing’, wasn’t going to do much good.  (As it turned out later, the GPS unit was found in a side pocket of one of the seats, so really all the perps got away with was the strawberries)

All in all, it reminded myself and my wife that we’re not completely shielded from crime here.  Certainly I see in the police blotter at times about a home burglary here and there, or even a murder somewhere in the vicinity, but just over the weekend someone I knew in passing was killed crossing the street by a drunk driver.  Crime happens everywhere, that’s for certain.

We certainly (for the most part) take the time to lock our car doors when we park the car somewhere away from home, even at the local grocery or department store, but I don’t even think twice about locking the car when it’s sitting in our driveway.  Yes, the house is locked, but there have been times I’ve left the garage unlocked even when I made sure the small door next to it is locked, which seems rather stupid when you think about it.  There are pricey items in my garage that someone could easily wheel out of it overnight and I wouldn’t be the wiser until the morning, even then.  I don’t always make a survey of my garage when I’m leaving for work. If the car was missing, that’s one thing, but I could easily overlook the roto-tiller, or the lawn mower when I’m rushing out the door.  Not to mention some of the other items that are around my property.

In the last six months we’ve purchased security cameras, but I hadn’t had the time to put them up outside.  With the thing that happened this morning, that changed.  I’ve already put up three of them so that the main entries to the house are covered.  While we were out this afternoon doing some shopping and getting dinner, one of them got a hit when the UPS driver dropped off a package at the front door.  I’m still tweaking the system little by little, changing the angle of what’s being monitored and changing the sensitivity of how the cameras are triggered.  It’s a bit of a trial and error process, but within a few days it should be all set.  The system takes pretty good video, has infrared and night vision capability, although with the nightvision, things are a little more grainy, so it might be a bit of a chore to get someone’s features to make a positive ID if that became necessary.  “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”  Time for me to start curing the problem.  I have several more cameras that need to go up.