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If you’ve been prepping for a while, you’ve probably encountered some pretty off-the-wall comments and questions. They can come when you least expect them. For example, you might encounter unsolicited comments from a stranger when you’re loading up your vehicle with supplies. Or you might get an earful from a friend or family member when you mention you have another jar of something in your emergency pantry.
Unfortunately, much of the misinformation about preppers has its roots in TV shows and articles that deal in extreme examples or even complete fabrication of who preppers are and what they do. “Doomsday Preppers,” a so-called “reality” series that aired on the National Geographic Channel from 2011 to 2014, is a prime example. And the show keeps gaining new misinformed audiences with its ongoing availability on streaming services.
The average prepper is nothing like the ones you see on TV or in movies. With this article, we offer a list of some of the most common stupid things people say to real-life preppers and provide a brief response you can use to debunk them.
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1. “Are you in a doomsday cult or something?”
When you hear the word “doomsday,” you know this person is painting all preppers with the reality TV show brush. The best way to answer is with a brief but firm response such as, “No, I am preparing for very real natural and human-made disasters such as the ones we have been experiencing over the past two years or so.”
2. “What are you so afraid of?”
You might respond to this one with, “I am preparing my home and my family so that I do not need to be afraid.”
3. “If a disaster happens, I’m coming to your house.”
Not a good idea. Preppers seek to store food and supplies for their own families. They are not planning for extra people.
4. “Oh, so you’re getting ready for the zombie apocalypse?”
This one is ridiculous. You can respond in a similar way as #1, listing recent fires, floods, storms, and riots as examples, if necessary. No zombies were needed for any of those disasters.
5. “Do you have a doomsday bunker in your backyard?”
This question has its roots in the 1950s and 1960s and the air raid drills of that time. While some wealthy individuals have bunkers or other types of safe houses on their property today, most preppers do not have backyard bunkers. And they do not have plans to build them.
6. “Preppers are just hoarders.”
Most preppers are highly organized individuals who stock and store what they need and rotate out items as they use them. Moreover, many preppers grow, raise, and preserve what they stockpile. This practice is the opposite of the hoarding mentality.
7. “I’ll just hunt for what I need.”
If you know how to hunt for food, that is a valuable skill. However, in the U.S., hunting is not a practical plan for survival during a disaster. How would hunting for food help the people whose homes and businesses were damaged by recent hurricanes on the East Coast or threatened by recent wildfires on the West Coast?
8. “You’re wasting your money.”
Most preppers are thrifty and take pains to buy only what they need, and at the best prices they can find. They also look at preparedness as an investment in their family’s health and safety.
9. “Do you want to overthrow the government?”
Preppers realize that the government does not have the resources to help everyone in large-scale dire emergencies. Prepping is not ant-government; it is pro common sense.
10. “What good will all that stuff do if you can’t carry it with you?”
11. “I’m glad you have all that time to prep. But I have a life.”
Preppers have no more time than you do. In fact, many preppers gather their supplies slowly over time.
12. “What are you so afraid of?”
It’s hard to answer this one politely. Maybe, this person needs to be more aware of current events?
13. “Are you stockpiling guns?”
Preppers have no desire for violence. They simply have a desire for their family’s well-being.
14. “You need to have more faith.”
Faithfulness and preparedness can go hand in hand.
15. “You’ve been prepping for years, and you haven’t need any of that stuff yet!”
No one actually wants to need the things they have in their stockpile. Prepping is like having auto or home insurance. You hope you never need it.
16. ”I’m sure I’ll be able to get what I need in a store.”
Power outages and runs on supplies can make going to the store impossible when the SHTF, if not foolhardy.
17. “What are the odds something will happen?”
We don’t know the answer to this question, but it sure seems as if the odds are narrowing every day.
In many ways, the COVID-19 pandemic and the increase in weather-related disasters have vindicated preppers. Yet, misconceptions still abound.
When Bradley Garrett was researching his 2020 book Bunker: Building for the End Times, he came face to face with some of the stereotypes.
“Most of the preppers I met would consider themselves realists, not doomsayers,” he writes in the introduction to his book. “Their dread stems from the knowledge that we are a Janus-faced species, constantly working for and against our own interests, but few are fatalistic.
“Often, I came away from my encounters with survivalists, scholars, bunker builders, and the devoutly religious with a sense of latent hope – hope of rebirth from disaster. All prepping is about hope for a better future, even if that hope casts a dark shadow.”
In a recent interview with Reader’s Digest, Garrett further explains, “Many of the preppers I met are very calm and measured, which indicates to me there are psychological benefits to being organized and prepared, even if you don’t necessarily know what you’re preparing for.”
Perhaps that statement can lead you to the best response of all to some of these crazy questions and comments we’ve listed. For example, you can say something like, “Being organized and prepared helps me feel calm in an increasingly uncalm world.” Who can argue with that?
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