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Last-Minute Emergency Supplies: What to Buy When the Shelves Are Almost Empty


Have you ever waited too long to prepare for an emergency and then you get to the store and the supplies you need are gone? The shelves are nearly bare because a horde of other locals got there first? If you need to get some last-minute emergency supplies but your original choices are gone, here's what to buy when the shelves are almost empty.

This morning, a couple of days before the advent of Hurricane Florence, I drove to a nearby large city because I was curious to see whether others in the area were feverishly preparing and if so, what supplies were sold out first.  We're pretty well-supplied so I wasn't there to shop. I was there to see what was missing and what last-minute emergency supplies could be substituted in their place.

I stopped by a Kroger first and the line was absolute insanity. I couldn't even push a buggy through the store because it was so crowded. A quick perusal showed that bread and water were basically gone.

Then I went to Wal-Mart. I didn't go to the one in the neighborhood where there tends to be more crime. I went to the "nice" Wal-Mart in an affluent area. There, it was busy, but there was enough room to move around and gather some information.

In this article, I'll suggest some last-minute emergency supplies you can purchase in place of the ones you wanted if you've waited too late to shop. To do this, you're going to have to cast away your plans of being organic and healthful. If you've waited this long, you're stuck with what's left. So please don't write to me aghast that I suggested conventional crackers instead of volcanic ground chia seed ones, okay?

My suggestions assume that you may or may not have the ability to boil water and heat things up, but you probably don't have anything more elaborate than that.

What to buy when the store is out of water

Here's a photo of the water aisle at the local WalMart that I took two days before Hurricane Florence was due to hit.


There are lots of other options if the water aisle looks like this. They may not be as healthy but they'll keep you from dying of dehydration.

Sports drinks (like Gatorade)

Flavored or sparkling water

Juice boxes or individual bottles

Soda pop (not too much though because that can be dehydrating instead of replenishing)

Vegetable juice

Premade iced tea

A good trick here is to go to the aisle where people get individually packaged stuff for their kids' lunches. You'll find all sorts of beverage pouches and plastic bottles of drinks here.

I warned you – not the healthiest, but healthy is no longer available. Trust me when I tell you it will be far better than having nothing available to drink. Oh – and don't forget the wine. It won't really rehydrate you, but you won't care as much that you don't have water.

Finally, buy containers. You still have running water, right? Buy containers, wash them, and fill them up before the storm hits. No one is going to be sold out of containers unless you specifically look for "Water Containers." Grab mason jars, pitchers, canisters, etc. Just make sure they're food safe and you're good.

What to buy when the store is out of bread

Here's the photo of the bread aisle. My friend asked what they had against Nature's Own bread since there were a few loaves of that brand left.

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