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The dilemma of friends who don’t prep

And family. And neighbors.

You know how it goes: You gently nudge acquaintances into prepping, and they (all too often) respond, “Haha, if anything happens, I’ll just come to your house.”

Worse, they mean it.

Kit Perez writes about this infamous problem at the new American Partisan blog. She examines various possibilities, many of which may have crossed our own minds.

So, while it’s a little early for a Friday Freedom Question, here are two:

1. What do you say when people respond to you with this wildly unoriginal “joke”?

2. And what would you do if they really did show up at your door in need?

I realize the latter may — or may not — depend on who they are and how closely related they are to you. It can be complicated. But give it a shot (before you find yourself having to give imposing acquaintances a very different kind of shot upon arrival of the zombie apocalypse).


  1. Desertrat1
    Desertrat1 June 28, 2018 3:59 pm

    I’m an old solo widower. My son seems permanently emplaced in Germany, so I have fewer concerns than most.

    The majority of my preps have already bugged out to a more suitable SHTF location. If need be, I’ll easily do the ten-mile trip.

    My preps are mine and will remain so–and I don’t take kindly to threats.

  2. Comrade X
    Comrade X June 28, 2018 4:24 pm

    I’ve had it said often to me. I kinda just let it slide.

    Be careful who you help, I remember a story Selco once told about during SHTF (he’s been there) where a fellow who heard a knock on the door and saw some kids outside and he asked what they wanted, they asked for food, he went and got some but when he opened his door to give it to them what he didn’t know was that there were others out of sight ready to pounce and take everything he had. You only need to make a mistake like that once.

  3. WolfSong
    WolfSong June 28, 2018 6:19 pm

    Anyone who shows up at our door had better have something of value to offer…whether it’s an actual thing or a skill, or they’ll be run off (or otherwise).
    No room for free loaders here.
    I’ve said it often, the only thing ’round here that gets to eat money (or preps) are the horses…and if the shtf, they’ll be worth their weight in gold for several reasons. Then they’re money eating debts will be paid. 😉

  4. david
    david June 28, 2018 6:42 pm

    I don’t share anything about prepping. I do point out to some that cyber warfare or an EMP event could shut down the power grid for years. They can make their own choices. It’s not my job to teach them, and aside from ‘family’ or ‘tribe’, I seem to lack compassion. When millions will die anyway, it seems futile to try to help those who ‘weren’t ready’.

  5. kentmcmanigal
    kentmcmanigal June 28, 2018 6:45 pm

    My first ex-wife has made that joke. I wouldn’t turn her away, but Nemesis would have a conniption. But others who make the joke, I suggest that they’d better not be counting on my help, as I have more than enough to handle without trying to save them, too. The time for me to help them is now. Or yesterday. And I’m perfectly willing.

  6. Larry Arnold
    Larry Arnold June 28, 2018 7:52 pm

    “There’s one more seat in the lifeboat. It belongs to the last one of you standing.”

  7. Jorge
    Jorge June 28, 2018 7:52 pm

    I am pretty circumspect about prepping, as in what tools, weapons, things stored, etc I have. That having been said quite a few people are aware that I raise a lot of my own food. They are also aware of at least some of my skills.

    I do occasionally ask friends what they would do if X happened and unfortunately most say something alone the lines of “show up at your place” in a joking tone. I joke back “and why would I let you in?” The problem is they just don’t take the possibility seriously. Things are going to have to deteriorate quite a bit for them to wake up.

    Other than my ex-girlfriend, who would not show up empty handed, has tools, weapons and useful skills I can’t think of anyone I would let in.

  8. Jorge
    Jorge June 28, 2018 8:01 pm

    I guess I should add that my ex-girlfriend also preps but is not in the same position I am. For a few days she would be fine. Given a serious SHTF situation coming over here is a better option. I would welcome her.

  9. Stanley
    Stanley June 29, 2018 2:40 am

    Like everyone with 2 brain cells to rub together, I STFU about anything related to prepping, but some intel always leaks out, if for no other reason than frequent brown truck visits, or a couple yet-to-be-stored Mountain House cartons visible when someone stops by.

    So, after getting the standard “come to your house” comment too often from someone who doesn’t know enough to STFU – he fails to understand that I may – emphasis on may– be a “limited resource to his benefit” but if that becomes compromised by his mouth I can’t be, I responded with “why would you want to die in my front yard instead of yours?” His shock led to the explanation that his mouth today, and his lack of preparedness tomorrow, posed a direct and immediate threat to my life and safety, and should push come to shove threat reduction will be the order of the day.

  10. E. Garrett Perry
    E. Garrett Perry June 29, 2018 3:15 am

    Part if the reason my family and I chose to relocate to the Czech Republic is that what Americans call “Prepping,” Czechs and Slovaks (along with most other Slavs and Balts) call “Going On Holiday.” Small country cottages, on plots of between .2 and 1.5 acres and universally equipped with at least a small garden, are common among urbanites. Country folks and those in small towns keep kitchen gardens as a matter of course, and even people with only limited space will buy fresh veggies at the market and can them. This not counting, of course, the fact that Slavs (and Brits) will out damned near anything in a can and sell it by the half-ton at Tesco. I exaggerate, but not by much. When people return to Prague after visiting the country for a weekend, they seem always to bring food. Fresh fruit, mushrooms in season (Czechs and Moravians are inveterate mushroom hunters), vegetables from September to New Years, leftovers from an autumn pig-killing, you name it. One fellow showed up at the Secondhand Speakeasy a few weeks ago with a 4-liter glass jar of homemade kimchi, of all things. Got a headache? Have some hashish from Grandpa’s place. Guns are very much A Thing, and Fuddism is just sighed at. You have your shotguns for game, your Mauser for deer, your CZ-75 for burgalers or muggers, and your VZ-58 for invading authoritarian asshats- what’s so strange about that?

    We’re getting ready to move to our own country house in two weeks, a bed-and-breakfast on abous 1/3 acre. The first thing it’s getting is a henhouse, followed by an herb garden. Our new neighbor across the way keeps sheep, horses, and at least one rooster’s worth of chickens out back behind his machine shop and heavy-equipment garage. Every town with more than a thousand people has its own butcher, baker, greengrocer, convenience store and doctor or dentist. Popular culture celebrates rural life and trade skills, even to the point that showing potbellied, sweaty, muck-smeared middle aged men working in the garden is an effective piece of marketing for beer and cheese. Advertisements for the local equivalent of Home Despot or Lowes Home Demolitions would never use some neat-and-clean hipsterised wannabe- they show a mom-and-dad pair pouring with sweat as they power through building a greenhouse before the kids get home from school, and then the kids helping plant out the seedlings.

    “What to do about friends who don’t prep” is much, much less of a concern here. As my good friend Z. put it twelve years ago: “If terrorists come or economy is bad, don’t worry- we go to Moravia. We have everything we would need, you will see it.” He was right. My friends here regard the lack of similar affections in the US, land of amber waves of grain and 2-acre suburban backyards, as one of the most damning possible proofs of a dysfunctional, irresiliant culture that may not have as much to offer as many Americans like to think.

  11. DistOne
    DistOne June 29, 2018 7:51 am

    Preparing for this eventuality is part of our plan. We have a defensible position, but four of our nearest neighbors do not. Most of these same neighbors are related and all but one has skills, livestock or equipment that could be useful. So if TEOTWAWKI comes after this year, we should be able to help these folks out and organize them to take care of the group. Survival alone for humans is very difficult for even the best prepared, so the idea is to enlist help and give help. The lifeboat scenario does not appeal to me at all.

  12. Joel
    Joel June 29, 2018 9:01 am

    1. Nobody ever says this to me.

    2. But I’ve given the matter a lot of thought. What some people call prepping I just call living, because in my particular case the shit hit the fan around the turn of the century and I’m very careful about the condition of my pantry. I have neighbors who have been as kind and helpful for a lot of years as I can imagine anybody being, and I fear some of them haven’t taking the matter of long-term supplies as seriously as they ought – so if the stores ever stop stocking I’ll probably end up sharing my pantry with them as long as it lasts. These aren’t feckless parasites who show up at my door when the poo hits, they’ve been helping me all along and I owe them.

    I’ll enjoy the irony of that, you know, the poor feeding the formerly rich. But I’ll also shed a tear over being forced to hunting and foraging when my years-deep pantry evaporates in two months.

  13. […] “When the world comes to an end, I’ll just go to your place” scenario. [ 1, 2 ] If you’ve been into preparedness for any amount of time, you’ve heard that line from […]

  14. historian
    historian June 29, 2018 11:46 am

    I get this a bit from acquaintances who I had thought were worth a clue.

    My stock response is, ” So, you think I’m pretty well prepared, do you?”
    “Oh, yes, Historian, you’ve obviously given this a LOT of thought!”
    “So what makes you think I am unprepared for uninvited visitors?”

    Those who don’t know me very well say something like “Oh,” ( nervous laugh) “you wouldn’t shoot me, would you?” (Hahahah…) Those folks are not worth salvaging.

    Those who know me better say “what do I need to do to get an invite?” These folks, having asked the right question, usually get a response like- “show me a decent food supply and useful skills, and we can talk more about that.”

  15. fred
    fred June 29, 2018 1:02 pm

    Better not happen.While Im well prepped relatively speaking,If I said no (and I probably would,certainly to the scumbags) it only takes one asshat with a single match to exact revenge on me and all my neighbors.From literally miles away.

    I fully expect if major shtf here some idiot would burn us all out.My hope is they would hop on first FEMA bus for free food,free housing…I have high hopes for the FSA (FreeShitArmy) to bad decision their way away from us.

    Some things just cant be prepped.Earthquake,check.Bank failure,sorta check.Grid down,uncomfortable but check.Sewers back up and take us out?

    Famine….we are dead meat (see asshat above) .Glad we have lived long nice lives so far.

  16. rochester_veteran
    rochester_veteran June 30, 2018 5:26 am

    I’m not really a prepper but I’m on here and the cabal to learn from those who are. Since my wife died, it’s just me now and my adult kids who are self sufficient and take care of their own affairs. I’m actually paring things down and shedding things in preparation of my move to Colorado. I’ll be moving into a one bedroom apartment and if I need a place to bug out to, I can do so to my younger son’s place that’s in a town of 230 people, where he and I will protect his wife and my grandson.

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