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How Americans prepare for a snowstorm...


We have some strange behaviors in the USA, and today I'll tell you about one of them. Anytime there's a possibility of snow, everyone runs to the grocery store and ransacks the shelves. It's as if they're preparing for the apocalypse. :) I can hardly imagine that each time it snows in Russia, people hurry to the store to buy food. This human behavior is a mystery to me, because the maximum amount of time you will ever be stuck in your home after a massive snow storm is probably three days, unless you live in some remote mountain region. Yet all Americans prepare for eternal starvation, and an ordinary visit to the grocery store turns into a trip to the zoo, with wild crowds and people all searching for one item - bread! I think it was Jesus who once said "man cannot live on bread alone," but apparently humanity didn't take this saying seriously. It doesn't matter if the prediction is only for a few snow flakes, or a massive blizzard, people will always buy bread first and if you go to the store in the evening, the bread shelves will be empty. Why? How many sandwiches can you really eat during a blizzard? :) What about meat?

When I posted this photo yesterday on Facebook, one of my Russian readers informed me that if you cut a loaf of bread into little pieces and dry them in the oven, you'll get a delicious snack which can be stored and eaten forever. Apparently some Russians do this when they feel hard times are coming:
сушат сухари. Besides bread, what else do you think Americans buy to prepare for a massive snowstorm?

1. One of the store clerks told me that everyone buys bread, toilet paper and beer. :) All necessary for survival, according to American standards. Normally I would not even go to the store at the mention of snow, but I had no food in the house and this time the weather forecast is for something serious. It is predicted that my area will get over two feet of snow, and on Saturday we will have high winds, white-outs and blizzard like conditions. This will shut the entire area down, as schools will be closed and many people will work from home to avoid hazards on the road and ensure safety.

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2. Btw, in the U.S. we have self check-out aisles, where you scan your own groceries and bag them yourself. No cashier or store worker is present. This line is always shorter, and you simply pay with cash or a credit card. It's a bit of an honesty system, as no one really watches to be certain you aren't cheating the stystem and placing items in your bags without scanning them for purchase. I've never seen these types of check-out aisles in Russia. Do they exist?

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3. What did I buy in anticipation of the blizzard? Lots of bouquets (because I always have fresh flowers in my room), cream (because I will drink a lot of coffee, hot chocolate and tea while I watch the snowstorm in my pajamas) and chicken (my favorite meat). That's it. No bread, no toilet paper, no beer...perhaps this is further evidence I'm not truly an American. :))

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What items would you buy to survive a massive blizzard? I'm very excited about the storm, because it's rare we get such big snowfalls in Virginia. I will try to write posts about the aftermath, show the snowy landscapes, and explain how our neighborhoods clear the snow from roads, sidewalks, etc. if it's interesting to readers. Happy winter!! :)


( 141 comments — Leave a comment )
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Jan. 21st, 2016 02:30 pm (UTC)
I actually like this strange behavior. Gives me opportunity to buy things I usually postpone to get - flash lights, batteries, shovel, and of course some extra beer :)
Jan. 21st, 2016 02:33 pm (UTC)
I wasn't brave enough to go to the hardware store, but they are the same. Huge crowds buying shovels, de-icer, sleds, snow blowers, etc. My family already has all of these things, and my dad has a sort of "apocalyptic" section in his garage so we will survive most natural disasters. :)) He stores a lot of batteries, canned foods and bottled water there.
(no subject) - aavenger - Jan. 22nd, 2016 02:20 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Jan. 22nd, 2016 03:20 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 21st, 2016 02:36 pm (UTC)
Wouldn't really buy anything. My house is always stoked with food for a week, so don't need to worry.
Jan. 21st, 2016 02:38 pm (UTC)
Most everyone in the store last night also likely had food to survive for more than a week, yet some type of strange panic sets in and they must go and buy more. :) Most important is to have flashlights, candles and other means of lighting/heat in case the electricity goes out for days, which is possible with very heavy and wet snow.
Jan. 21st, 2016 02:43 pm (UTC)
They unconsciously know that bread can be stored for a long time.
Jan. 21st, 2016 02:44 pm (UTC)
Not very long...most bread purchased in the store will mold after 7 - 10 days, unless you freeze it.
Jan. 21st, 2016 02:49 pm (UTC)
Snow storm? Nothing special ;)
Jan. 21st, 2016 03:04 pm (UTC)
In the Washington, DC area even flurries shut the entire city down and turn it into a gridlock nightmare! Even Obama's motorcade got stuck in it yesterday. You can look at this map from last night's rush-hour commute, where less than one inch of snow fell. Close to 200 accidents in only an hour. This screenshot was taken at 9:32 pm, when people had been stuck on the roads for hours. Drivers here have little experience handling cars in such conditions, so it's better to work from home, if possible, on such days. :)

 photo traffic_zpsjytfabsc.jpg
Jan. 21st, 2016 02:50 pm (UTC)
Enough time for writing a movie script ~Things to Do in Virginia during a massive snow storm.
Jan. 21st, 2016 03:04 pm (UTC)
Good idea! :)
Jan. 21st, 2016 02:58 pm (UTC)
I bet it looks crazy)
"Gimme these five chickens please and this red balloon for a change"

Edited at 2016-01-21 03:03 pm (UTC)
Jan. 21st, 2016 03:05 pm (UTC)
This is typical American behavior - to be over prepared. :)) I guess it's better than being under prepared for such disasters.
(no subject) - nithoruk - Jan. 21st, 2016 03:27 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Jan. 21st, 2016 03:31 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 21st, 2016 03:28 pm (UTC)
I actually like this strange behavior. Gives me opportunity to buy things I usually postpone to get - flash lights, batteries, shovel, and of course some extra beer :)
Jan. 21st, 2016 03:30 pm (UTC)
A lot of tea.
Jan. 21st, 2016 04:06 pm (UTC)
I prefer homemade hot chocolate on such days. I use heavy cream, mix with real milk chocolate and top with whipped cream. Warms the bones, and tastes delicious! :)
Jan. 21st, 2016 03:32 pm (UTC)
There is a different reason for such a behavior in Russia. When somebody from TV box makes a statement that prices will not rise, russians buy гречка .
>I've never seen these types of check-out aisles in Russia. Do they exist?
No, of course not. Few years ago one of world-wide known retailers opened a large mall in my city. There was scales for weighing fruits, that automaticly prints a price tag. People like it very much, because they put one apple on this scales, get tag and then add amount of fruits they want. Now all the tags are re-checked by the cashier at the check-out using second scales.
Jan. 21st, 2016 04:09 pm (UTC)
It defeats the time-saving purpose of these self check-outs if someone has to weigh the products again. :) But it's very easy to cheat, not only with weight, but with quantity. For instance, in the U.S., usually bagels, muffins, doughnuts are sold by quantity, not weight. So, you can type that you have only 2 bagels in a bag, when in reality you have 6. Seems to me that most people are honest, otherwise the stores would not have them. The financial loss absorbed by the cheaters in the U.S clearly doesn't outweigh the cost benefit of paying less cashiers to work. Plus, I think it's fun. :)) As a child, I always played with fake fruits and other foods, and pretended to be a cashier on a fake adding machine, ringing through purchases.
(no subject) - megawiz - Jan. 21st, 2016 04:37 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 21st, 2016 03:37 pm (UTC)
:) Cухари are not а delicious snack. It is considered to be just a food to survive in abcense of any food. But some people are like it as a snack to beer, for example.
Jan. 21st, 2016 03:46 pm (UTC)
As a beer snack you salt them and add spices ;-)
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Jan. 21st, 2016 04:10 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 21st, 2016 03:45 pm (UTC)
We bought milk and bananas only since these are perishables that my daughter eats daily and by my calculations we would need to replenish right when the snow hits.
Jan. 21st, 2016 04:11 pm (UTC)
Are they predicting a lot of snow in Pennsylvania also?
(no subject) - redheadrat - Jan. 21st, 2016 04:12 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Jan. 21st, 2016 04:16 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 21st, 2016 03:52 pm (UTC)
Jan. 21st, 2016 04:14 pm (UTC)
It's very funny! Humans are strange creatures. :))
Jan. 21st, 2016 04:03 pm (UTC)
Same things happen during the huracane season.))
Jan. 21st, 2016 04:15 pm (UTC)
The locals also buy all the bread? What else? :)) Probably boards and nails to cover everything from the winds.
To whom it may. - south_of_broad - Jan. 21st, 2016 06:32 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 21st, 2016 04:05 pm (UTC)
Oh witnessed that once. When i visited my friends who were living outside Dallas, we were caught and trapped by one of those blizzards.


Thirty freaking fourth latitude!


As far south as Jerusalem.
Jan. 21st, 2016 04:15 pm (UTC)
Texans are even worse than Virginians when it comes to such conditions! They see snow very rarely. :))
Well, - creaze - Jan. 22nd, 2016 02:54 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - redheadrat - Jan. 21st, 2016 04:29 pm (UTC) - Expand
абздец - creaze - Jan. 22nd, 2016 02:52 am (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 21st, 2016 04:16 pm (UTC)
Minnesota looks not very American - we happily live with snow and even missing it a bit if there are not a lot of in delivery, like this winter. We do not panic, we have enough machinery and salt to handle. I see customer influx in stores on eve of any holiday, when the store closure is ahead. Snowfall is not one. I think, that Midwest and specifically, Great Lakes area are always ready for snow. In Duluth, for instance, July is the only month, when there was never registered any snow.
It looks like the upcoming storm will not bring us snow at all...
Jan. 21st, 2016 04:19 pm (UTC)
Sure, Minnesota is used to such weather. The same as Montana and other places in the U.S., but not the Washington, DC area. Such blizzards are a rare occurrence for us. :) I'm really looking forward to it, and I will go out and play, make snow angels, and sleigh ride with my nephew. Hopefully I don't throw my back out again in the process. :))
(no subject) - pin_gwin - Jan. 21st, 2016 04:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Jan. 23rd, 2016 09:37 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Jan. 23rd, 2016 01:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - saccovanzetti - Jan. 22nd, 2016 10:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - pin_gwin - Jan. 22nd, 2016 10:37 pm (UTC) - Expand
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