Bunkers, Food, Armor: Disaster Prep Hits Mainstream
Disasters aren't the only thing preppers are spending their dollars on. Some look at the economy and prep for the very real possibility of unemployment. Garrett reports:
While some might be preparing against floods others might be preparing against drought or unemployment. I think the major psychographic that connects our customers is a sense of independence and self-sufficiency. They want to be prepared for anything that may be in the future -- whether that is a natural disaster, a man-made disaster, or unemployment.
Many of The Ready Store's customers follow a pattern that seems to apply to similar stores as well. Customers will often buy a decent initial food supply -- such as a three-month supply -- and augment that base of supplies as their time and budget allow.
Preppers are also cognizant of the fact that if an event does strike, being prepared is just part of the equation. As we witnessed in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, even the normally law-abiding will resort to out-of-character barbarism if they think it necessary to ensure their survival or the survival of their families.
The past response to the threat of violence has typically been to acquire firearms, preferably guns with more capacity and range than anyone you expect to be causing trouble. It hasn't been until recently that the thought of stopping any inbound fire has become socially acceptable. A company called US PALM is in the process of changing that by creating and successfully marketing body armor designed for the civilian market.
The "Defender" series of soft body armor is the company's civilian-focused entry-level armor, designed explicitly for the nightmare scenario of a homeowner hearing a door or window smashed open in the middle of the night. The Defender is designed to strap on in less than five seconds, and provide the homeowner with a level of protection against most common handgun (up through .44 Magnum) and shotgun ammunition one would expect in a home invasion scenario. Priced inexpensively (for body armor) at $199 for a single front panel and with the option of adding rear panel for just $99, Defender has also taken off among preppers, allowing them to armor themselves and their families with at least front panel protection for the cost of a set of rifle-stopping armor worn by our troops. It has sold particularly well in the Ohio River Valley, though Rob Anderson, US PALM's director, won't hazard a guess as to why Defender sells so well in that area.
The media still demeans the more extreme preppers making bizarre preparations for what most people consider unrealistic scenarios -- such as polar shifts or the Mayan apocalypse -- but with the current global economic situation, the carnage of recent natural disasters, and the fragility of power grids, other scenarios are no laughing matter. "Putting things by" like our grandparents did is now regarded by many as a wise investment against uncertain times, and like any market, there are smart businesses willing to cater to this growth market.