Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
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.
Want to save this post for later? Click Here to Pin It On Pinterest!
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?”
Preppers have bug-out bags prepared in the event they need to leave their homes. However, the food, water, and other supplies they stockpile are so that they can live in their homes when SHTF.
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?
Like this post? Don’t Forget to Pin It On Pinterest!
The Homesteaders says
I don’t have to deal with any of the above because nobody knows my business. But I particularly enjoyed:
3. “If a disaster happens, I’m coming to your house.” That’s when you’ll be met with bullets instead of food.
11. “I’m glad you have all that time to prep. But I have a life.” I too will have a life after yours is over.
KIERAN Roberts says
regarding No: 3 just keep your mouth shut, and don’t tell any one what you’re doing.
My parents know what I’m doing and they think I’m nuts. I just shake my head and mutter “We’ll see. You may think I’m nuts now but with the way things are going, well….”
Big Tee says
Nosy people get the answers they deserve.
Interesting question is what will preppers do when the governments comes in to steal their stuff and give it to politicians and such?
You can bet your life that is exactly who gets your stuff…
THe Homesteaders says
They have to find it first.
NIGEL P DUNCAN ADAM says
There are no none preppers every single person especially in the USA is a prepper.by law in most cases.
you wear a seat belt in a vehicle because ?
on a lake you wear a life jacket because ?
you have a smoke alarm in your home because ?
most reasonable people go grocery shopping only once a week instead of every day because ?
you lock your doors at night because ?
you have an alarm on your home your car because ?
you put your money in banks instead of under your mattress because ?
people have RFID proof wallets because ?
If you meet someone that poses the zombie question you immediately know one thing you are having a conversation with a mentally challenged person walking away is the only realistic answer.
if you felt so inclined you could tell them that you would just wait until winter then come back and collect them all for disposal but be prepared to explain frozen tissue because you are talking to the nearest form of zombie-ism that exists in reality.
but its better to just point and say LOOK SQUIRREL and walk away.
Just because someone asks you a question, doesn’t mean or require that you have to answer it. Anything you say can confirm that you are a prepper and can be passed on by them and others they mention it to. The less they know, the less you will have to deal with down the road… more questions, visits when there is a real emergency, etc. Consider replying, “Not Really” and move on / change the subject.
My answer to #16 & 17 is “have you looked in the stores these days?”, Have you been able to find what you want there? Then tell me about Prepping.
robert alan searcy says
shouldnt be telling anyone anything with the possible exception of likeminded people .
Unfortunately # 10, is far more correct than it is given credit for. It is also the reason many Preppers are doing it the wrong way and prepping the wrong things.
Currently Disasters are all considered as SHTF events, but they truly are not. The idea that you can “stay put”, when facing a Disaster is a faulty one.
Wild fires, hurricanes, massive flooding, dam breaks, earthquakes, tornado’s, chemical spills and many other events include MANDATORY evacuations.
You would be very foolish to ignore even a voluntary evacuation under those circumstances.
Even in a Real SHTF, (the absence of the ROL and of a working governmental system), it would not be a good idea to “stay put”, in most urban locations.
So the Idea that you will stay with your preps, in any SHTF event, is not that likely.
.Especially Urban preppers; where prep storage space is limited and the potential threats that range from regular disasters to human attacks and out beaks of Disease. These dangers are that much greater than those faced by their country based counterparts. For instance most Urban Preppers will not have a minimal amount of 300 gallons of potable water/per person stored up, in a sufficient quantity to last a year,(3600 gal a year/ person), let alone for say, 3 years. but often they will have one or more years worth of food stored.
And the part about having a bug out bag is just as bad. Many Survivalists, former military and others have bug out bags, but they are not “Preppers'”.
So just because you have a bug out bag does not make you “special” or a “Prepper”.
It is just the opposite of the concept of “Prepping”, that is being promoted here. Leaving your preps behind and fleeing, is not what most urban preppers are prepping for. But it is what you should be prepping for.
So then you can tell the friend or neighbor that wants to live off of you when SHTF, ” that you will be long gone, and that they will be welcome to whatever is left behind, but not to expect much to be
My cousin Caroline was not thinking I am paranoid but did not understand the mindset of a prepper, I explained two concepts that make me prepare:
1: You trip, you fall, you get up and dust yourself off and check for injuries.
Most people will do this instinctively, now in a different circumstance the process of ´getting up’ may take hours or days or more, I would like to be able to get up on my own (lt’s ok if I have help but I´m not counting on it).
2: You plan to get a type of pet you´ve never had before, someone may suggest you get a book on how to care for your parrot, gerbil or turtle.
Preppers are reading and when appropriate, updating the big encyclopedia on how to care for a human being which includes everything from fitness to first aid to psychology and a lot more.
I concluded saying that modern mainstream prepping is a real science worth studying…
Unfortunately she still does not EDC anything anything but her credit/debit card, iphone and keys.
Actually soon as I read the average joe thinks of preppers as paranoid Kooks I instantly lost interest in this article. 90% of the people who prep are in fact average Joes.
90% of preppers are average joes, but that doesn’t mean 90% of average joes are preppers. In my experience, the vast majority of non-preppers consider preppers to be paranoid.
Linda S. says
Well presented. I don’t talk to anyone about prepping except extended family & even they don’t know how much of what I have. I’m just a little old granny canning her tomatoes & making jam. Pay no attention to the shotgun in the corner.
My neighbor—I’d rather die!!!!!
My reply?? Well, you probably will!!! 🙂