I have been following what is going on in Venezuela and the hoarding situation. Now of course their regime has made it illegal to hoard anything. So, I have been following what items that are in short supply. Not in any particular order they are: toilet paper, milk, powdered milk, coffee, corn flour, wheat flour, diesel, all soaps of any kind, and tires for cars and trucks. A black market is thriving, of course. The penalties for hoarding range from 6 to 14 years in prison. The very government that created this mess is now trying to lay blame on the merchants and people. Thank you, Hugh, keep up the great work. Matt in the West
HJL Replies: I have always found it disturbing how easily someone can be accused of hoarding. You are hoarding if you are keeping others from obtaining needed supplies. If you obtain your supplies during a time of plenty, you are simply being prudent. It’s also a pet peeve of mine that I can scrimp and save and spend my money on preps, while others around me travel the world. Then, when they need the things I have, they feel I am obligated to share with them. It’s a shame, but it is what it is. That’s why OPSEC is so important. On this same idea, I have noted that toilet paper always seems to make the list. Sooner or later, toilet paper always becomes an issue. What do you do when you run out? The same thing 80% of the rest of the world does. How to Use a Bidet Bottle gives some specific instructions on how this is done. Most of the world simply uses a cup of water, but a quart (or pint) drinking bottle filled with water works very well. It’s like a portable bidet, but it does take some practice to master. Most third world countries do not have facilities to wash your hands afterwards, hence the tradition of using only your left to touch your bum. With soap and water afterwards, there is no worry about it though. When I introduced this concept to my family, the comment back was, “Gross!”. I simply reminded them that when they take a shower or bath, they are doing the same thing.