I travel a lot with the new job. I spent seven out of the last eight nights on the road in five different cities (not including Austin).
One of my trips took me to Salt Lake City. I met a client there who was gracious enough to give me a tour of downtown Salt Lake. He is a bishop in his church, which is LDS. I asked him why Mormons put such an emphasis on preparedness. His response, without hesitation: "we believe we should be self-sufficient."
Since there are so many LDS members in Salt Lake City (SLC), it's no wonder that preparedness supply providers have retail stores there. While I was in town, I had an opportunity to visit on of the Emergency Essentials retail locations. It was a great opportunity to not only see some of the catalog items in person, but it gave me an opportunity to talk to the staff there about trends they are seeing in the store.
The young lady who waited on me in the store was more than happy to talk about the company and the typical customers. She was an enthusastic supporter of preparedness products and her employer - something you don't see every day in the retail world. I asked her what trends she had seen over the last year. Here are some of her observations:
- Sales have exploded in 2012.
- A large part of their business comes from LDS members getting their one year food supply assembled.
- The other parts of their business come from preppers getting ready for any and every perceived peril, including the Mayan 2012 crowd, the zombie crowd, and the economic collapse crowd.
- One group she singled out for special recognition are those preparing for earthquakes in the Utah area.
Looking Into The Crystal Ball
What would an Obama re-election mean for preppers? What would a Romney election mean for them?
Given the fact we are only days away from the election, I thought I'd give you some thoughts as to what we might expect within the movement under each of them.
Obama: If he is re-elected, the movement picks up steam the first year of his presidency. I am getting emails from people I never thought would be interested in preparedness, and they all say the same thing - they fear what might happen in an Obama second term.
This fear stems from a few things. First, any American president has more flexibility in his or her second term. Obama said so himself; in fact, it's the exchange documented in that link which worries a number of people. Rightfully so, in my opinion.
In the second presidential debate, Obama expressed interest in renewing the Assault Weapons Ban of 1994. If re-elected, look for gun sales and demand for gun training classes to remain strong.
Finally, our economy continues to show symptoms of ill health - stagnant GDP growth, stagnant unemployment numbers, a Federal Reserve that is running out of effective stimulus options. To date, the president's record doesn't give me or other preppers any comfort that things will get better in 2013 or 2014. This, in turn, will lead to more worry among average Americans. People will continue to prepare, most likely in larger numbers than the past.
Romney: A Romney win presents something of an irony. People voting for Romney do so in large part because Romney will supposedly make it a priority to decrease government dependence and emphasize self reliance. And yet many preppers - maybe even a majority of them, for all I know - will slow down dramatically in their preparedness efforts if Romney is elected.
The rationale here is that preppers will believe Romney will fix the economy and thus avert whatever financial disaster awaits us if we don't get our finances in order. Many preppers will let their guard down. Gun sales will drop, along with the demand for ammunition and concealed handgun licenses. Demand for storeable foods will decrease as well.
Of course, the problems we face have been developing for fifty years. Romney hasn't put any plan forward, at least not to my knowledge, that explains how he will right the nation's finances. Thus, the community lowers its guard at its own peril.
The Preparedness Conference
I mentioned last week I am conceptualizing a conference here in Austin to discuss preparedness issues from a suburban perspective. I'm pleased to report this is coming along nicely. I hope to have a date to share with you in the coming weeks - it will be a Saturday in January or February. Stay tuned. And if you have suggestions on topics you'd like to have covered, please email me.