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I have wondered that for most of my life. Usually related to storms (hurricanes/blizzards/etc.).
1. They stock up on ice encase the power goes out.
2. They stock up on perishables like milk (see 1 above) and bread.
3. They stock up on non-perishables - whether they need to or not.
Those of us who know that bottled water, paper towels and, yes, even toilet paper are luxury items, tend to have a more practical mind.
Keeping a well stocked pantry makes sense, creating one at the last minute just inconvenience everyone else.
"Program testing can be used to show the presence of bugs, but never to show their absence." - Edsger Dijkstra
"I have never been lost, but I will admit to being confused for several weeks. " - Daniel Boone
When I take my car out (that doesn't happen too often), it is to bring to the house another 72 cans of champignon, 24 rolls of paper towels, 48 cans of crushed tomato. I buy six tubes of toothpaste at a time, ten packs of eight rolls of toilet paper. Four or six boxes of laundry detergent.
When I open the second-to-last 8-pack of toilet paper (so there are still 15 rolls to go), I put it on my shopping list. Similar with beans, corn, flour, sugar, ... In a long-lasting crisis, maybe the red beans will run out and we'll have to make due with lentils and carrots. Maybe the bread will be pure wheat with no rye in it. So what?
If you keep a fair stock of consumables, you obviously loose the interest that you could collect by keeping the money in your bank account. But is that why you don't? Most likely you do not keep the money in the bank, but spend them! If you manage to gradually build up a stock, you really have the same amount for spending (once the stock is established), but in addition, you have that buffer that can serve you in a period of crisis.
It is not necessarily a supply crisis. As you build up your stock, it may also be a buffer against a temporary crisis in your private econonomy. Or if twenty relatives come rushing in your door, you've got something to feed them. Or ...
I lived in Hampshire for many years, when I worked in Byfleet.
I got fairly familiar with most of the local establishments ... mostly for Herself, she used to be rather clumsy and would break her nose hoovering, get her eyeball scratched by the cat, you know the kind of thing.
"I have no idea what I did, but I'm taking full credit for it." - ThisOldTony
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