To make the most sense of this note, please refer to the SurvivalBlog archives for the December 22, 2011 original post with an update March 29, 2012.
The range of feedback to the post and update ranged from supportive to beyond hostile–which was more or less what I expected. Those critical to the “Barter Store” concept mostly missed the premises–that at least in some smaller, conservative towns/cities, small-scale commerce will help preserve order and civilization; security is handled and will not be a driving issue; that “preppers” have stocked up on and will be willing to sell/trade/barter some small/compact, useful, in-demand items to others who need or want them in exchange for either silver coin or similar items they forgot; and that your leadership could make a difference.
The suggested stocking list is relatively unrelated to your personal prepping list. For example, you don’t have to be a coffee drinker to realize others who are will be anxious to trade for it, if you have it available. So, we are speculating on those tradable and useful little things others have forgotten. And, even you–dedicated planner and prepper that you are–will forget an item or two you might need or want that you might be able to trade for (or barter or purchase) if you have a reasonable inventory.
Here are a few additions and modifications to our working list, with rationale (the numbers refer to the sequence we used on the previous posts)–
1. Alcohol. The original recommendation was to purchase a couple of cases of miniatures (airline-style bottles). These could probably be used as money as well as consumed, bartered, sold, or traded. I have noticed that the liquor stores sell these as multi-packs of ten (10) bottles as well as loose bottles. Instead of buying cases (too much $ to be spent for many preppers), you might consider keeping the cost down by putting away a few of the multi-packs. That way, you could also stock several different “flavors” without breaking the bank. You are not limited to hard liquor, BTW. Just about every supermarket or liquor store that sells wine also sells multi-packs of inexpensive red and white wines in single drink (one glass) bottles.
3. Tobacco. My US Army LTC son (who has just returned from his umpty-umpth trip to that nasty hole in the map) has pointed out to me that the troops will want snuff, not cigarettes. If there will be young men around (especially military, but not limited to them), add several dozen cans to your stock. These are also available (multi-packs of 12) in the “cage” at the wholesale clubs (too expensive to buy individually at the C-store).
4. Ammo. Do you remember I said this was mostly out of my lane? Plenty has been written elsewhere on SB about what you should stock, but I have a couple more thoughts: Put away some ammo (cans of .175 “field loads”) and CO2 cartridges for the pellet guns–useful for plinking doves, squirrels, …and rats.
Here’s one so easy/cheap I’m surprised no one else has suggested it. I have a couple of inexpensive slingshots and extra rubbers I picked up at Wal-Mart, but you don’t need to purchase these. The Post Office (yes, the P.O.) uses big rubber bands by the ton to bundle mail. Next trip to the P.O., take a plastic grocery bag with you. Hand the bag to the friendly clerk and politely ask for some rubber bands for a “project.” They have a full mail cart of these somewhere in the back and you’ll probably get a bag full back. You can repackage these in Zip-locs for DIY slingshot construction. When I was a kid, we tried to make slingshots out of cut up inner tubes (remember those?). These never worked very well, but big rubber bands do.
21. Bikes. I thought of these as I was inventorying my Y2K leftovers (used almost everything over the years, but had some miscellany in a couple of boxes)–bike locks. When I was in basic training (BCT) a million years ago, someone asked the drill sergeant why we needed to secure (put locks on) our foot lockers. He answered instantly–“So we do not make thieves out of honest men.” After TEOTWAWKI, it would be a shame to lose a bike …just because it wasn’t locked. I have a couple of “Kryptonite” locks left in stock. There are plenty of combination lock cheapies out there to do the job–Ask any college student.
32. ED meds. Condoms–another wholesale club purchase. Wasn’t sure where to put this; this is as good a place as any.
Thanks, James, for the opportunity to continue to build our “stocking list.” All reader suggestions welcome – A.A.A.