Saturday, January 30, 2021

Still Life with Robin: 'S NO Need for Panic-Buying

Popular Mechanics: Best Snow Shovel

by Peggy Robin

Here’s yesterday’s tweet from the Capital Weather Gang:

Capital Weather Gang



@NWS_BaltWash issues winter storm watch for DC area (zone shaded in blue in map below) for late Saturday night to late Sunday for the potential for 5"+ snow. Additional snow could fall Monday + Monday night (lower confidence). Update:


So what did I do? If you know anything about Washingtonians, you must think I immediately hopped in my car, drove like mad to Strosnider's to buy a new snow shovel, and then stopped off at the big Giant a block north to pick up bread, milk, eggs, and toilet paper…..before all the other hordes would descend to strip the shelves bare.

But you would be wrong! I did none of those things, because, having lived through the panic buying that took place at the start of the emergency health order back in April 2020, I have learned a few things and have tempered my panic-buying reflexes. Now I know that:

1. You should always keep a reserve of toilet paper on hand. A couple of 12-packs of Charmin should be kept in reserve for any sort of event that might disrupt the supply chain.

2. Bread can be kept in the freezer for up to six months. Good instructions for freezing and thawing bread are found here: 

3. Eggs are not critical. If you buy eggs with an expiration date three or four weeks on, you’ll probably be OK. For some good tips about buying, storing and using eggs before they go bad, go to:   ttps://

4. Milk is even less critical (to me, at least). I put milk in my coffee, but I keep some sort of the powdered non-dairy creamer (it lasts up to 18-24 months in a jar), which is good in a pinch, in case I run out of milk. For those who actually drink milk or have some other more pressing need for milk, you might want to have some shelf-stable (non-refrigerated) alternatives, like evaporated milk or UHT (ultra-high-temperature pasteurized and aseptically packaged milk) that can be stored in the pantry for months. See  

And finally, as for that snow shovel….a few years ago, after my old-fashioned decades-old metal snow shovel sustained some serious dents when I used it to chip away at some ice, I resolved to buy myself a new, improved model. I got a nice, new, large and well-constructed shovel with an ergonomic handle, that looks something like this: Mine has a deep purple scoop. It wasn’t expensive. We’ve had very little winter snow since the year I bought the new shovel, so it’s barely been tested. But I have confidence in it.

So ….snow panic buying? Moi? No need, as I sit in my well-stocked house, like any good Scout, following the “Be Prepared” motto.

Oddly, it’s my very preparedness that leads me to believe the predicted big snowfall is going to fall short. I think it’s one of those Murphy-Styled Laws that tells us: “The inches of snowfall will be inversely proportional to the quantity of supplies on hand to cope with a prolonged period of being snowed in.”


Still Life with Robin is published on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on Saturdays.

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