Thursday, May 3, 2018

bulk buying 2 of 2


BULK BUYING 2
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There is nothing wrong with attempting to buy quality and never need to replace it.  Rather than, say, buying a fifty pack of Bic lighters, for the same money you get one of those friction spark generators such as they sell to the mountain men dudes.  But there are also a lot of things you WILL use a lot of and it is hard to replace the disposable stuff with much else.  Take zip-ties.  Yes, I COULD in theory make my own cordage to tie things off or secure items.  And in time that will be a requirement.  But for now, a zip-tie is so damn handy.

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In only ten years, mainly just ( like 90% of usage ) using zip-ties on my bike for securing a cargo basket, installing flashers and the like, I’ve run through nearly a hundred zip-ties.  These are NOT cheap Chinese junk from Wal-Mart that snap on a harsh word.  They are heavy duty that are rated at 30 below and last for years before finally snapping.  Given that rate of use, I would not feel like a pack of two thousand was excessive.  It is painful up front to buy that many, but it might also be a once in a lifetime purchase.  I spent 16cents each on mine from the ranch store, ten years ago, and by buying 2k now you can get them for ten cents each.  Not bad considering how everything has gone up in price during this time ( hint: inflation fighter ).

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Some things I hate spending money on, such as zip-lock bags.  They are not cheap and they don’t always work that great.  Far better to buy re-useable rigid plastic containers.  Even the cheap crap is a step up from disposables.  Alas, sometimes you need the disposables for storage of that all important food.  Other items you also go through far too quick such as mosquito repellent candles ( perhaps you could do something like eat a lot of garlic to repel them ) or tea candles at least have the benefit of not wasting as much money if you buy them in bulk.

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Some things aren’t really open to substitution.  Like pencils.  In theory, one could make their own paper ( put that off as long as possible by buying back to school sale notebooks, by the armful ), but unless you go back to pen nibs and ink, which probably won’t work all that great on the paper left over from today as it is too thin, you need to stock up on pencils.  Just be careful which ones you select, as a lot of dollar store ones are utter crap, literally disintegrating uncontrollably as you try to sharpen them.  And for goodness sakes, don’t EVER store ink pens.  They will dry out.

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Some items are hard to even think of a use for.  You can buy 240 men’s combs for like a nickel each, but should you?  Most guys will probably shave their heads both for sanitation and for saving on soap.  And men’s combs are probably not all that useful for females with much thinker and longer hair ( they need combs with much thicker teeth ).  The only thing I could think to use them for would be trimming a mustache.  If I’m ever a bandit king, mustaches are going to be mandatory.  And a comb is great for consistent thickness, when grooming your facial hair. 

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You don’t even need to restrict bulk buying to just post-apocalypse.  Have you ever tried to buy a friggin key ring?  I hate piling too many keys on one ring.  Far better to organize by separating them.  Most key rings are already attached to some cute lanyard or tab ( what do they call the attachment to a key ring?  You know, like an auto key having a leather piece with a metal Ford logo attached to the key ring ).  If you want to have a key ring available when you need/want one, buying them in bulk makes them a few cents each rather than a buck each ( if you can even find them retail ).

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Who doesn’t like playing cards, even now with all the digital entertainment?  You go buy one pack and they are three to four bucks each.  Even the best quality ones wear out, so far better to buy in bulk for half price ( and do NOT buy dollar store packs any more.  They last weeks rather than years ).  Right now, you should be replacing all your shoe laces with paracord.  It will last longer, probably longer than the shoe.  And you’ll barely make a dent in a big spool of the cord.

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The sad part is, most of this stuff I’m highlighting isn’t even really true bulk purchasing.  It is for mom and pop retailers rather than corporate chain suppliers or other large institutions.  A large store doesn’t buy by the case, they buy by the pallet of cases.  Yet even still so close to retail prices, the savings are pretty darn wonderful.  50-60% off retail is nothing to sneeze at.  Remember the outlet stores?  You had to buy remainders to get that price ( plus, drive far away ).  Now your friendly Amazon online store offers you brand new crap at good discounts. 

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Did you know that Amazon has started its own freight airline fleet?  It is now seriously cheaper for them to bypass the middle man and run their own freight service.  But to me, this is NOT good news.  This is mainly for their quick shipping items, and is a luxury service they are subsidizing.  When a company that has been losing money for twenty years to gain market share sinks millions into airplanes to do Prime Two Day Shipping that you only pay $12 a month for, you can guess they are seriously vulnerable to a business volume slow down.  Lesson?  Buy from them, in bulk, while they are still selling below cost.

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37 comments:

  1. I have been wearing hiking boots exclusively for the past 15 years or so and all of them have robust braided laces and have never had one break. I currently have 6 pairs and rotate them out every couple weeks. Hi-Tec brand and they last about 3-5 years.

    You should post an entire list of all these cheap disposable items that everybody takes for granted now but will be willing to kill for in the future. I'd print it out, tack it to the wall, and start collecting them, checking them off as I buy them. It'd be very helpful.

    Amazon sent me a notice last week that I've saved more than $100 in shipping costs since hooking up to Prime last year. Well, lately in my cost comparisons before I buy stuff I'm finding more and more stuff for less money once you factor in shipping costs and taxes, etc., than Amazon. Just yesterday I bought a new Waterloo top tool chest for the Waterloo bottom chest I have and amazon had it for $167 plus tax and free shipping I found it elsewhere for $124 with no tax and free shipping. Take THAT amazon! FWIW I had that chest on my wish list for a year and it never got cheaper and I got tired of waiting. Amazon has no exclusive hold on my ass, but my wallet does.

    Regarding pens, store them in ziplocks that have the air squeezed out.

    The problem with standard pencils is you don't know if they've been dropped and the lead is broken up inside, until you use them and then it's too late. In the beginning it was an issue but I got over it when I started using carpenter pencils for everything. In cross section they are sort of elongated stopsign shaped and the lead is about 4 times bigger than regular. Places like Harbor Freight and else where sells a sharpener for these kinds of pencils that put a nice point on them. For woodworking I just use a knife but for paperwork I use the sharpener. Yeah, they cost more but you are getting way more. Stop by a lumberyard and they sometimes have free ones on the counter. Free ballpoint pens are everywhere.

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    1. I only noticed those stupid razor blade sharpeners for the carpentry pencils. Are they too big to fit into a rotary sharpener?

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  2. Yeah they're too big for any regular sharpener. I've had mine for years and don't remember it being very expensive but everything is going up it seems. This is an example.

    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0749MTGQM/ref=psdc_1069806_t1_B0002UKSQE

    The sharpener is a 1 time expense, maybe 2, for a spare, but my point was the fallibility of standard pencils. Carpenter pencils are more robust. I have probably 40 or 50 on hand and there maybe a regular pencil around here somewhere I have no idea where.

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    1. No, I get your point. Writing is more important than people assume, and best to go full quality. I hate those damn disposable razor sharpeners, though, just on principle. Oh, well. Get a brass sharpener and a big hundred pack of the razors and buy the carpenters pencils by the two dozen pack and it is a minor investment all things considered. If you buy the back to school sale notebooks for a quarter each, what you save in paper will pay for the better pencils ( and, you can always salvage more paper easier than carpenters pencils, so invest wiser in pencil rather than paper )

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  3. Home Depot has a 10 pack with the sharpener for $3.49.

    https://www.homedepot.com/p/The-Home-Depot-Carpenter-Pencils-10-Pack-with-Sharpener-00216/100522021

    I don't know what to say about reviews any more other than they seem to be mostly worthless. I guess you just ignore the reviews, buy what you want, and take your chances. Quality control is in the shitter across the board.

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    1. I've had some crap with Amazon, but percentage wise a LOT more with Home Despot. If they don't get you on quality( screws that gets a stripped head, one out of three nails bend ), they stick you on price. We just had to buy a electric stove burner coil. $30 at HD. Under $20 on Amazon. I could get it even cheaper than on Amazon, but what does that say about Home Depot?

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  4. how about mechanical pencils, ten pencils and a jillion refill leads?

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    1. Anyone? Reliability over regular wood pencils ( as opposed to carpenter pencils )?

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    2. I used them a lot in the 70's and 80's for design work. The only ones that were compatible to me were the .7mm cause the smaller ones the lead broke every 5 seconds. Pentel brand. They were out quick. The grip mechanism that advances the lead slips and is not fixable. Back then they were cheap, like $4 each so I always had a bunch laying around. Threw a bunch away too. Can't comment on other brands except the leads are very fragile.

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    3. The problem is that such stuff gets "borrowed" or lost or broken all the time. Ten mechanical pencils last about a year in those circumstances (although the one i use lasted for 16 years and still is in my bag... !)

      It's the same with lighters, they always end up "borrowed" or lost, forgotten etc.

      Of course it's not the same in a clear-cut collapse, but before we'll get there there will be increasingly more "borrowing" (which is collapse actually self-feeding itself with the loss of morals).

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    4. GS-no, good enough for me. Mechanical pencils are off the list. Thanks.
      Ave-Now that I'm thinking about it, mechanical pencils only have one advantage, when you can't get to a sharpener easily. Otherwise, probably a problem in search of a solution. Just another piece of gear to "walk away", as you say. :)

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  5. For nails that don't bend, I started using the spiraled decking nails that twist as they go into the wood similar to a screw. If you accidentally bend the top of one over, just straighten it out the best you can and keep pounding, the twisting motion as you hammer the nail in straightens it out so it penetrates the wood to the full depth of the nail. The spiraled deck nails also keep a tighter grip on the two pieces of wood, less likely to back out.
    Peace out

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  6. Jim go buy bulk at this link https://harryflashmansblog.blogspot.com/2018/05/303-british-going-going.html He has a link there 229.00 for 500

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    1. Drat. In two weeks is the annual visit to the folks. It won't cost me much less than a case of ammo, but that is where the extra is going. They are older than dirt, I must visit while I can. Thanks for the link.

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  7. "...what do they call the attachment to a key ring?"

    A fob.

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    1. Excellent. Something else to forget multiple times :)

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  8. I, like most Minions bang our heads into a wall trying to think what to stockpile by the butt load like a squirrel with so many nuts you forget where the hell you put them or impulse buy more to only realize you already had enough buried in your warehouse. Even with lists, rosters, it can be a heckuva balancing act. I think a bit of adaptability and improvisation, with problem solving skills will make up for not having enough of certain goods. Being a dufuss and dipstick with a bunker full of a whole lot of yuppie gear will not be the cure all/end all.

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    1. I think a good guideline is if you can explain what the stuff is, without saying "doomsday". Everyone needs dozens of pencils the rest of their life, or you find something on a great sale. "Stockpiling for retirement" rather than "for the apocalypse". Other than a Geiger counter, is there REALLY any specialty equipment you need?

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  9. I think that thing on the key is called a 'fob'. A key fob.

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  10. Pilfered this link from Woodpile report. It's written by a hydrologist (FWIW I find that fascinating) and it goes over the math of SHTF. I thought that some of the assumptions not to my liking but take that with a grain of salt.

    Without further adieu

    https://medium.com/@bjcampbell/the-surprisingly-solid-mathematical-case-of-the-tin-foil-hat-gun-prepper-15fce7d10437 Medium - The Surprisingly Solid Mathematical Case of the Tin Foil Hat Gun Prepper or, “Who Needs an AR-15 Anyway?” ... a 37% chance that any American of average life expectancy will experience at least one nationwide violent revolution

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    1. I did read that one-very well done. No doom porn and no Ollie Optimist BS, either. Of course, he completely lost me on the math.

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    2. Great find Dingo. I am grateful that such articles exist.

      Two things I'd like to add :
      1. since the author works with statistics and adresses an uninformed audience, he chose more or less recent political events as the SHTF event. The problem, however, is not a "revolution" but civilisational collapse. Not the same data.

      2. No, the guy who prepares against zombies doesn't prepare for "anything" else. The atomic survivalist preparations are those who include all other scenarios, because you have to shield electronics, actually prepare to use very little of them (watching sitcoms on your old smartphone is the maximum use I can see), and you're prepared to filter THE VERY AIR you breathe.

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    3. I think it has to be taken in the context of the popular culture perception of the zombie apocalypse, which is civilization collapse. The atomic survivialist is NOT prepared for economic collapse if his bunker is financed and he is in debt, right? Plus, I don't think you need math for civilization collapse, since imperial political collapse is rather steady at that 10 generations mark. Besides, people relate better to the threat of revolutions. Collapse is too unrelateable.

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    4. >> Besides, people relate better to the threat of revolutions. Collapse is too unrelateable.

      I agree, but that may be "counter-productive survivalism", like having a veggie patch in the middle of suburbia.

      True, it is easy to visualize how one day you'll be able (allowed) to shoot these asshole migrants with your AR-15 or whatever. it feeds on everyday hatred, on immediately available solutions (buying an AR-15) and on mass culture (The Walking Dead etc.)

      The problem is that this is not going happen. Collapse is the real issue, and while it's much harder to imagine, one has to make that mental effort because one's very life rests on it.

      If you were living in Detroit in the late 60's, and then the whole place shuts down, who do you shoot down ? And how does it help ? Do you wait until you opened your last can of food before you decide to move ?

      I'm afraid the "thrills" of survivalism (post-apocalyptic movies come to mind) over shadow the grim reality of civilisation collapse, that we have yet to visualize.

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    5. I think the best of us, trying to visualize this collapse thing, are mostly blinded by the entertainment. And you are right, I have a whole lot of visualizing gunning down migrants. Damn you for the reality check! :)

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    6. Plus lighting in addition to the air filtration system in your own pit of doom.
      You would go pscho in short order without light.

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    7. Might explain why most graveyard workers are a bit off :)

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  11. “Other than a Geiger counter, is there REALLY any specialty equipment you need?”


    Perhaps some Potassium Iodate? That seems like an item that would be good to have, and that you won’t be finding any of post collapse.


    Had a quick glance at that BJ Campbell article. Looks good, and will definitely check it out.


    I was more recently going through a lot of pencils (relearning Algebra). I noticed right off that every time you would go to sharpen them, that the lead would usually break if you tried to put a fine point on them. Quite often as you were using them, the lead would break off within the pencil, if you pressed even moderately hard on them. Remember those fat red pencils that we had as kids? Those things were built like a 2”x4”. GS is probably on to something with the carpenters pencils. Still, in that link that he provided, I saw for the same price, 150 of the standard pencils. I suppose that the question is, out of a 150 pencils, will the 150 standard pencils provide more value than the 6 carpenters pencils for the dollar?

    Speaking of bulk, I know that I will have to bite the bullet at some point and purchase some bulk neoprene tubing (an oil age product for sure, and yes, through your links) for my slingbow (my primitive weapon of choice). I’ll get a big roll of it, section it off into individual lengths, vacuum pack it, and store it in various places about the retreat.

    Elko Minion

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    1. Thanks for the idea of the bulk neoprenre tubing-I'll add it to my bulk list for my next upgrade on the site.

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    2. Not to create extra work for you, but it comes in varying poundages. For the slingbow, if you wish to take larger game, you would need the heavy stuff. So this is probably what I will be purchasing. It matters not I suppose, for if it’s available at Amazon, I would buy through your links regardless.

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    3. Thanks for the heads up. Higher seems best.

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    4. Super interesting. What are you thoughts about the Palestinan Rubber Sling ? It seems that thing develops mads amounts of energy.

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    5. Myself, I'm not aware of that. Anyone?

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    6. I’m not familiar with the Palestinian Rubber Sling, but it sounds like it’s worth looking in to. However, in my research on the slingbow, I did come across a product by the name of the Theraband, and in particular, the Theraband Gold. As the name implies, it’s a band, as opposed to a tubing. Many of the serious slingbow/slingshot enthusiasts speak highly of it (See questions/reviews in link below).

      I was somewhat surprised to see that there’s a fairly large community out there that are dedicated to hunting small game with the slingshots, and are rather effective at it as well. This was mostly in European countries, with poor gun rights, as one might expect. Up until recently, I always saw them as more or less a toy, that you could never expect any serious accuracy from, but these chaps managed to change my view on this. Below is a link for the Theraband Gold, if you were to choose to link it.

      https://www.amazon.com/Precut-Thera-Band-Gold-25-mils/dp/B0023X8D1U

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    7. Interesting-takes all kinds.

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