Why Do People Buy Bread and Milk Before a Storm Hits?

Rain, sleet or snow, there's always milk in the refrigerator and bread in the pantry. This may sound a bit like the delivery slogan of the U.S. Postal Service, but it's actually the tactic most Americans employ during severe weather. The compulsive desire to stockpile perishables isn’t always based on logic. That begs the question: Why bread and milk? Why not beans and tuna? There’s actually a psychological reason for why we buy bread and milk. Buying perishables — like bread and milk — is like saying, “The storm will be over soon and I won’t be stuck in this situation for long.” However, buying beans and tuna sends the message that you expect the storm to keep you housebound for an extended period of time. Although practical, non-perishables are a psychological admission that you’ve surrendered to waiting out the storm and its aftermath; perishables are about optimism. Filling the refrigerator with perishable items has another root as well. We’re all in the habit of buying perishables like milk and eggs — it’s a routine. Buying perishables to prepare for a storm means sticking to our normal routine, which makes us feel safe and comfortable in the midst of possibly dangerous weather. So, what do the experts say we should be buying to prepare for a storm? Along with buying bottled water, it’s a good idea to buy things like peanut butter and crackers, nuts, dried fruits, granola bars, canned meats, soups, and canned vegetables. Just make sure you have a manual can opener on hand. Of course, if you’re preparing for a snowstorm, don’t forget the hot chocolate. When a steaming cup of hot chocolate appears, we all seem willing to adapt to being housebound…….at least temporarily.