News Column

Preppers Ready for Final Days

Dec 19, 2012

Mary Elizabeth Robertson, The News Herald, Morganton, N.C.

The end is near, or so the Mayans predicted.

According to the Mayan calendar, after 5,125 years the "long count" cycle will end Friday.

The long count cycle marks the end of one calendar period for the Mayans. Around Burke County, some have taken it to mark the end of the world, and have begun preparations.

"Our business has picked up in the last three months," said Randy Pitts, co-owner of Southern Survival Supply, a company dedicated to providing necessities in emergency situations.

"So many people that buy from us are looking at different issues," he said. "Some people think (it's the end of the world), some people think it's a solar flare, some people think the dollar will collapse."

Most of Southern Survival Supply's clientele do not foresee the end of the world stemming from Mayan predictions.

"Most of the people are preparing for natural disasters and financial collapse," Pitts said. "That, by far, is what more people are preparing for."

Pitts said the most popular items currently sold include water purification systems, freeze-dried food and first-aid kits.

"We try to maintain a pretty good inventory in Morganton so we've basically had what people are asking for," Pitts said. "They ask for advice on what they should have and we ask 'what are you preparing for?' 'How many people?' and 'what is your objective?'"

On occasion, customers have inquired on bunker or safe-house building.

"We represent several companies that build and install bunkers," Pitts said.

Bunkers may not be on the minds of clients at CBS Sports in Morganton, but basic survival is. As Friday approaches, some clients have expressed a sense of fear.

"Most of the folks are pretty calm, some of the folks are in a panic," owner Bryan Searcy said. "I don't know if they think it's going to be the end of the world, but they think it's going to be some sort of outage or panic."

In the past two months, Searcy said he has seen 12 to 15 people stop in to purchase survival gear.

"We had the same people that came around during Y2K," he said. "They are buying camping gear and freeze-dried food, just in case."

Searcy said the camping gear included sleeping bags, tents and other survival products.

"We have had an increase in water purification systems," he said.

He said some clients are forthcoming with their fears of the end of the world, while others are hesitant divulge their panic.

Searcy said the increase in survival product sales have not had a significant affect on the bottom line.

"They are marginal at best," he said.

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