Are Preppers Selfish?

Are Preppers Selfish?

Are preppers selfish? With all the store shelves being emptied in response to the Coronavirus, this is something I’ve been seeing a lot lately on social media. People calling preppers selfish and the backlash against us. Many people say that preppers are the problem and we are hoarding too much food, toiletries, and more. We should have left more on the shelves for everyone else. 

This is a common response when things are suddenly unavailable to people. My first thought is, well you should have been better prepared yourself. Which is just a knee-jerk response to a much bigger problem. Our supply chains are shaky, at best. It takes one snowstorm to stop trucks from making it to a store. One recall of a specific food to take it off the shelves. Even a strike in processing facilities or with the truck drivers. All of these things can cause a shortage of food or anything we buy. Any time that supply chain is damaged or threatened, people panic. 

We’ve Been Spoiled

The other big issue I see is we’ve been spoiled. Every single one of us has been spoiled by convenience. We are accustomed to grocery stores being a block away and open 24 hours. Even I am guilty of this, and I’m a prepper. There have been a few times I’m making a recipe and totally forgot that I ran out of something and Nathan goes to the store for me. I could easily deal without it, but I don’t want to, and so he volunteers to run to the store. 

It can become easy to fall into that habit of forgetting something and running to the store. That quick in and out trip can start happening more and more often, until that is the normal thing. I try extremely hard not to allow that in my house through organization. But it still does happen, and it is an easy trap to fall into when I get busy. 

Prepping Was Once Normal

If we look at history, our grandparents and great grandparents were all preppers. They didn’t have the fancy title, it was simply a way of life because the grocery stores were not a block away or open 24 hours. If they didn’t have something, they either improvised or went without. There was always food in their pantry and they canned extra food to save for the winter or when money was tight. 

I’ve been talking to a couple of friends about this post and the idea behind it. When I tell them the title, their response is an overwhelming yes. This has been an interesting experience for me because my first thought is, y’all do know that emergency preparedness is what I’ve based my career on, right? How am I selfish when all I want to do is teach and help everyone be better prepared for the unknown? I had to take a step back and realize that we were talking about a combination of misunderstandings and stereotypes and not me personally. 

Are Preppers Selfish?

One friend said that preppers refuse to talk about what they’ve stockpiled or how to do things. This would be a very accurate statement. Is it selfish? No, and let’s talk about why I say no. If people are willing to trample each other to buy an Elmo doll on Black Friday, just think what they’ll be willing to do when they’ve gone a few days without eating and know or find out that you have food. That can turn into a life-threatening situation very quickly. I call that self preservation, not selfish. 

I find that I always inherently want to help everyone. That idea of everyone working together to solve a problem or simply make a bad experience more tolerable. The reality of what happens is far different, sadly. Because when people are scared, they look for a place to lay the blame on. In this case, it would be preppers. 

Another friend said that preppers are the ones buying up all the toilet paper right now and causing the shortage, as well as reselling for a huge profit. For me personally, this isn’t true. I had my stock of toilet paper long before this started, and I didn’t buy a single roll once the panic buying began. Which I think is the case for most preppers. There is no reason to buy out stores when this is exactly what we plan for in the first place. It is easy to avoid empty store shelves if everyone picks up an extra item or two every time they go to the grocery store. 

Panic Buying is Not Prepping

The people who are mass buying items right now are one of two things. Scared or an opportunist looking to resell and price gouge. Neither of these are a good place to be, and preppers don’t generally fall into either category. The preppers that I know and talk to simply want to see everyone adapt the same kind of lifestyle. Because every single person who makes the choice to be prepared is one less person knocking on a prepper’s door for help in an emergency. 

When I first started prepping, Nathan asked me why. His rationale was to just go to the grocery store when we needed something. That’s great right up until the store shelves are empty. Then what? After the last two weeks, it is pretty obvious why I prep and I am so grateful for it. With everybody being ordered to stay at home, businesses are closing both temporarily and permanently, making budgets very tight. My prepping will be a major help in getting through the smaller budget hurdle. 

Don’t Stop Living

I’ve heard from these same friends that most preppers are totally consumed by it and can’t seem to see beyond that. This is actually a very accurate statement for some. I still say that prepping is a way of life, as it should be. But at the same time we can’t stop living and doing things because of the fear of an emergency. There is a fine line between being ready for something and living in fear. 

Because the truth is that we can’t be ready for everything. No matter how many backup plans I make, there will be something I’ve missed along the way. Right now with the Coronavirus going around, it is a huge learning experience for me because I have the ability to really test out all of the things I’ve prepared. Being a prepper is one heck of an insurance policy, as far as I am concerned. I’ve been working on finding the holes in mine this week to fix and change. 

I can see why people view preppers as selfish, but we really are not. It is simply something that many people misunderstand and judge based on a limited number of people or even just a stereotype. We aren’t the ones panic buying everything in sight. 


Are preppers selfish? What are your thoughts and experiences with prepping? Tell me about it in the comments! Read more about my prepping tips.


  • Scott DeNicola

    I wouldn’t consider preppers as being selfish at all. I consider it smart. The people who are running out to the stores now are the ones who didn’t heed any warnings, didn’t take anything seriously and now realize they have nothing. I am not a prepper by nature but after reading your blogs for a while I did begin to take care of some essentials I thought we might need. We are now at a point in this pandemic that I believe people are starting to realize that there will be food if they just shop normally. I thank your blog for opening up my eyes a bit more to this world. Let’s hope we all make it through this and can look back at the changes we need to make moving forward.

    • Melanie

      Preppers aren’t the ones who went and bought everything off the shelves this past month. They already had the stuff. If anything, they helped the situation by NOT going out an panic buying.

  • Kelly Martin

    I don’t think preppers are selfish. It’s sensible to buy a little bit extra each time you buy groceries. I wish I’d started doing that before all the panic buying started.

    • Carol

      My husband Is the cook in our family and has a habit of going to the store everyday!! It’s so convenient and he likes buying fresh food. We‘ve been “prepping” the last few years and have a month-ish worth of food. It’s not the preppers that are acting selfishly, but those that weren’t prepared.

  • Kristin Harris/Tales from Home

    It’s kind of funny to me that preppers are being called out as being selfish when it’s likely that they are the only ones NOT running amok and buying everything right now…because…they don’t need too…because…they are prepared.

    Also in my expirience preppers tend to be pretty frugal, they wouldn’t be buying right now because they tend to buy when things are on sale not when they are at a premium. If anything this whole thing has proven to me exactly why we ALL need to be a bit more self sufficiant and prepared.

  • Britt K

    I think the problem here is that people mistake ‘preppers’ for ‘reactionary stockpilers’… Preppers have a mindset that allows them to prepare well in advance for a situation, so when it comes they are already equipped to deal with it appropriately. The people that are causing the anger and frustration are the reactionary stockpilers. They want to be as prepared as a prepper but without the advance effort – instead they rush out and buy everything and anything in sight, clearing the shelves and leaving others with nothing to purchase. Honestly, the preppers aren’t contributing to, for example, the shortage of toilet paper… they’ve had packages stored away long before this all started!

  • Em

    I really enjoyed reading this post! I think a large portion of people are under the impression that preppers and panic buyers are the same people, when they really aren’t.

    I wouldn’t go so far as to call us preppers, but we’ve been in the habit for the past year of buying a tin each, every time we go food shopping. It was intended as camping supplies, or spare food for if we have a few days bad weather and can’t get out, but we’re so glad to have it now. It also means that we have no need to take from almost empty shelves in supermarkets, so we aren’t adding to the current panic buying problem.

    If anything, those who have prepped and are using those supplies rather than rushing to the shops, are helping alleviate the situation.


  • Alison Kelly

    You are completely correct. The preppers are really the only people not contributing to the problem. Preppers have stored supplies over years, when the stores were full of supplies. The preppers aren’t shopping right now, they don’t have to. The problem is, suddenly everyone is trying to have a month’s supply of food at home and our food supply isn’t set up to handle that. I hope that when this is over people realize you have to be prepared all the time. When an emergency happens, it’s too late. Thanks for posting, it’s an interesting topic right now!

  • Grampa

    the opinion that one is selfish comes from people that haven’t taken the effort or had the forsight to prepare. they believe like the grasshopper who fiddles away the summer and then expects others to share what they have put aside to be comfortable in hard times. These people are just self centered believing that they come before all others. I say let them starve and we have one less to share what I prepared for—-Grampa

  • Smridhi m

    Preppers are not selfish. They are smart, thoughtful and minded people. There is nothing common between panic buyers and preppers. They can’t be compared on any grounds.

    I loved reading this post.
    Thanks for sharing this lovely post.

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