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.