The following is a reprint of an article I posted several years ago. I was reminded of it as I watched the rain coming down outside my front door tonight.
I saw Chicken Little today and he had his Ozarka Security Blanket. As a matter of fact, I saw many Chicken Littles today and they all had their Ozarka Security Blankets firmly in hand. They were soon to be on their way to the Gas Stations to fill up their Chicken Littlemobiles before going about their Chicken Little lives.
I live in Texas, specifically Tyler Texas. If you’re not familiar with Tyler, it is in upper East Texas about 100 miles east of Dallas. Yes, Hurricane Rita is expected to move up this way after she makes landfall somewhere around Galveston. At last report, we were expected to get approximately 4-6 inches of rain and winds in the neighborhood of 20-40 mph with gusts upwards of 50 mph; nothing I haven’t seen on more than one occasion. Last June, we had a storm with 30-40 mph winds and 70 mph gusts that bent a 8-10 inch SweetGum tree over at a 90 degree angle about 4 feet off the ground. The power was out for a few hours on that one, but the water and telephone were fine. In 2000, we had a pretty good ice storm here that knocked power out for 3.5 days at my house, but water and telephone were fine.
I say it was Chicken Little I saw because these people seemed to have a real sky is falling mentality. I’m watching this woman with this look of desperation snatching a case of Ozarka water off the shelf at the local grocery and I’m thinking, “Why are you getting a case of 12 ounce bottled water? Is it that you’ve determined that one case is the exact amount you will need if the water utility is unable to supply water for a time because of a power outage? Is it because you’ve determined that 12 ounce bottled water is the most efficient and cost effective way to stock up on water?”
I don’t think either of these is the case (no pun intended). First off, if the power does go out and the water utility is unable to supply water … highly unlikely given past history, but let’s say for the sake of argument this happens, have you given any thought to how long that would last or how much water you would need? And buying it in 12 ounce bottles? I’m thinking a few 5-gallon water containers I fill up at home, while the water is still flowing, is the way to go if I’m really serious about stocking up on water for an emergency. Not to mention a lot cheaper. Hell, if it’s a balls to the wall downright emergency, I’m filling up the bathtub for a supply! Now if Chicken Little is thinking about throwing a party that case of Ozarka might be appropriate.
Hey, I’m not knocking being prepared for when a storm comes, but people can be just downright strange at times. Yes, we may get some bad weather and lose power but to the extent that people need to stock up on water?
This seems more like the equivalent of a security blanket to me. I know I saw a lot of cases of bottled water on the news in the aftermath of Katrina and didn’t think anything of it, as far as thinking bottles weren’t a good choice. When you are handing out water to a lot of indigent thirsty people, bottles are a very good idea. But when you are only facing 20-40 mph winds, it’s unlikely anyone in my area is going to have their home blown away or even be without water. It seems more likely that those cases of water are fresh on people’s minds and when faced with another hurricane, peace of mind takes precedence over common sense. Chicken Little goes into the store, buys a case of Ozarka and walks out thinking “Whew, I’m okay now!”
This isn’t really a new phenomenon. I’ve seen similar behavior before just about every big storm prediction, especially when it is snow or ice that is predicted. First, you have to realize that where I live, snow rarely happens and when it does, it is seldom on the ground or streets for more than a day, so there is really no reason to stock up on a week or more of supplies. Yet it is common to see many empty shelves in the grocery store the day or night before a predicted storm.
Lots of Chicken Littles buying their Ozarka Security Blankets … safe once again.