Last night I dropped by the grocery store, wanting olives.
Little did I know what lay ahead.
As I walked into the store, I saw a man pumping his arm in the air, signaling victory, as he cradled a small object in his palm.
“Avocado!!” he yelled.
In hindsight, that was a warning.
Have you ever seen an aliens-attack-and-blow-the-planet-to-smithereens movie?
You know the grey, gloomy scene in which the survivors wander, stunned, through the charred remnants of their once-bustling metropolis? This was the scene at the Trader Joes’ grocery store two blocks from my home on Monday night.
Earlier that day, weather forecasters predicted one inch of snowfall might reach Atlanta in the next 48 hours. In Atlanta, this is the equivalent of NASA confirming the Zombie Apocalypse.
Meanwhile, at the grocery store –
Shoppers were in a panic. Nearly every item had vaporized from the shelves. But don’t just read my description. A picture is worth a thousand words. And so, for your viewing pleasure, here are 12,000 words in pictorial form.
I’m not (just) sharing this because it’s ridiculous. (Although I admit that’s partly why.) This insanity also highlights the critical life skill that can help you survive the any calamity: losing your job, getting a massive unexpected bill, handling the next economic meltdown, or surviving the next Snowpocalypse.
Meet me below these photos to learn more about that skill. But first …
Here, we see empty bread shelves. Okay, fair. Bread is a basic survival staple.
Next, people raided every tomato variety — heirloom, cherry, grape. You’ll need Vitamin C to carry you through the brutal winter.
I feel sorry for the lone tomato that nobody wanted. Strike up the violins. That tomato wants to burst into a ballad of lament and heartache …
Goodbye, French green beans. My casserole dreams have been dashed.
Nobody wants to relive the Blizzard of 1878, when the settlers lost access to spinach tortellini for 48 hours.
Garlic hummus? People raided the garlic hummus?
How will I live without dried cranberries for 48 hours?
Obviously, they took the beer.
Like, ALL the beer. (Except Guinness.)
Then they fortified their underground bunkers with strategic orange soda reserves.
Latecomers got stuck drinking water. (Heaven forbid they’re forced to drink tap water … even during a crisis.)
Don’t forget Fido. Time to stockpile the organic dog treats.
Oh, yeah. One more thing. Here’s our 5-day weather forecast:
Yes, our overnight lows will dip below freezing. You’d be stockpiling, too. #sarcasm
The Lesson Buried Under the Madness
Longtime readers know that I’m not a hardcore frugality blogger. I believe your power to earn and invest exceeds the usefulness of pinching pennies.
And yet —
Earning, saving and investing share a common trait: resourcefulness.
- Chopping $40 per month from your electric bill
- Earning $20,000 extra in your spare time
- Learning about investments, even when you’re starting from scratch
When the skies open up and Snowmageddon rains down, resourcefulness is:
- Inventing meals from long-lost staples buried in the back of your kitchen.
- Wearing socks on your hands if you don’t own mittens.
- Wearing a clean trash bag as a rain jacket.
- Using an ironing board as a backyard sled.
Resourcefulness is optimizing what you have. Frugal people act resourceful to save money. Entrepreneurs act resourceful to earn and invest. Many people embrace a bit of both, because these are all expressions of the same trait.
Resourcefulness is NOT panic-purchasing everything you see at the store.
“Coconut water! How will I survive the Snowpocalypse without coconut water?!”
“Orange soda! When terror strikes, there’s always orange soda!”
Resourceful people stay cool during a crisis (no pun intended). When the storm hits, we’re confident that our creativity can carry us through.
Most people are broke, stuck, and uncreative. They blame the external world for their problems. They believe they need more [whatever] — more clothes, more food, a bigger house — rather than optimizing what they’ve got.
Don’t fall into the trap that most people wallow within. Embrace creativity. Be resourceful. Be weird.
You’re not battling an avocado emergency. You don’t need to fortify your underground bunker with strategic orange soda reserves. You just need to flex your mental muscles.
Find your resourcefulness. Success will follow.