Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Contrarian Hurricane Shopping

Hurricane fever has hit Austin. I think it must have a lot to do with people having watched all the coverage of Katrina on TV, but suddenly everyone has decided that, despite the fact Rita will have been reduced to tropical storm force by the time it strikes the Austin area a glancing blow, it's time to rush to the stores and buy everything non perishable they can thing of.

I first discovered this when I stopped to get diapers at Sams Club on the way home Wednesday. Sams was packed. All non-alcoholic bottled drinkables were long gone. People were hurrying through the store with carts overflowing with canned goods, breakfast cereal and granola bars. I collected the diapers and stood in line for forty minutes to check out...

Now, we have our usual pantry level of food already in the house, which means if pressed we could eat for a week or so without shopping, so I wasn't terribly worried about food. But on giving it some thought I figured the one thing that could happen around here that we weren't 100% prepared for was a power outage of several hours. We've got the usual household flashlights, but it seemed like a battery-powered lantern might be useful in case its dark and the monkeys need cheering up.

Where, you might ask, can one go to buy hurricane supplies in relative quiet when everyone is mobbing the stores. As it turns out, the answer is Target: which possesses nearly all the same stock as Wal Mart, but no one was bothering to go to. I dropped by, there were perhaps twenty cars in the packing lot (while there were 100s at Wal Mart and the supermarket) and had no problems picking up an electric Coleman lantern. Heck, they even still had bottled water.

Now, I keep reading in the Journal that Target is giving Wal Mart a drubbing due to its discovery that you can sell cheap stuff that still has style. But apparently their chic but cheap image wasn't what came to mind for people hunting for hurricane supplies.

5 comments:

Bernard Brandt said...

Sorry to hear that you are likely to be suffering from the latest hurricane. Both Beth and I will be praying for your and your family's safety.

mr. felderhoff said...

Austin should be fine. It's a destination for people evacuating the Gulf Coast. Maybe a few tornados in the area could pop up, but mostly people will be dealing with fallen tree limbs and missing a few shingles from their roofs.

As far as the power is concerned, the electrical grid in and around Austin is a relatively modern one. The main issue there would be at the distribution level (wooden power poles and the like that go through the neighborhoods). The transmission level of power distribution has strong towers able to withstand high winds. Plus, the grid is designed with redundancy in mind.

Take care, Darwin family.

mr. felderhoff said...

Doesn't look like Austin will get hit hard... here's the latest as of 10:00 am today.

http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/refresh/graphics_at3+shtml/145649.shtml?3day?large

Darwin said...

Yeah, it really doesn't look bad here in town -- mainly because we're so far inland. As you say, the worst I can imagine happening is a lot of local power outages due to downed lines. (I'm really not sure what the bottled water fetish around here is about -- to lose water we'd need eithe a city-wide power outage or for the water mains to somehow get broken, and I can't imagine either one.)

I'm mainly thinking it's a good excuse to not mow the lawn this weekend and maybe get to watch the rain go sideways...

Dorian Speed said...

You know, I always think of Target as more expensive than Wal-Mart, even though I have never empirically verified this. I probably would do my stocking-up at Wal-Mart, too.

Glad you were spared the brunt of the hurricane.