The very real prospect recently of two men with very silly haircuts blowing the world to little bits has prompted a spike in niche survival products.
US President Trump has vowed to meet any attack on the US-owned island of Guam by North Korea’s Kim Jong-un with ‘fire and fury’. The resulting brinkmanship and bluffing have taken the world to the edge of oblivion.
But the truth is, Trump has a habit of saying big, scary things and doing nothing. Which observers believe could prompt North Korea to launch missiles at Guam with impunity.
But every cloud, as they say, has a silver lining. Even mushroom clouds.
That’s right. Americans are lining up to buy six-month food supplies wrapped in military-grade Mylar pouches. They’re snapping up kits filled with duct tape, food bars and air-filtration masks.
These people are called doomsday preppers. Some have been doing this for years as a sort of hobby. Like going to the bridge club, but slightly edgier. They’re suddenly delighted that their doom-mongering could come true.
Many companies specialising in selling items to these pessimistic folk have reported a huge bump in sales, and Google searches for survival gear have also rocketed.
The increase in prepping activity followed a dip after the election of Trump.
“The whole industry kind of took a little pause after the election of Trump,” said Brandon J. Garrett, director of marketing at prep products group The Ready Store. “I think everyone was kind of waiting to see what kind of leader he was going to be and where he would take the country.
“This week, it kind of seemed that everything picked up.”
Prepper companies sell all kinds of doom-laden stuff, from massive pails of pinto beans to freeze-dried chickens, and from fire-starters to solar generators. You can find them online, sporting flash sales and discount codes just like any other ecommerce outlet.
Keith Bansemer, Vice President of Marketing at My Patriot Supply, which sells bulk water devices, food and seeds, said customers have been buying six-month food supplies. “By prepping, you’re actually alleviating fear,” he said.
Which is good news for anyone wanting to still be alive in a post-apocalyptic wasteland with nothing on TV.