South Africans have been stockpiling since the Coronavirus started. They’ve been squirreling away face masks and hand sanitisers and zink lozenges and protective gloves. They’ve been turning their homes into bunkers. And they’ve been keeping pretty quiet about it.
One Cape Town stockpiler has allowed The Grotto to view his stash. It cost him more than R20 000, although one would not say so looking at the purchases. It’s enough to see him and his companion through a three month quarantine.
The Grotto examined the purchases. The stockpiler’s first purchase was a durable plastic cupboard which he calls his ‘pantry’. Don’t be fooled by the nostalgic associations that the word evokes. The cupboard was manufactured by Keter, the well-known manufacturer of outdoor furniture. It cost him R3000. In size it is closer to being medium, than to being big. It’s been a squeeze fitting the purchases in the cupboard, the stockpiler admits. On the top shelf catfood and flea treatment compete for space with bottles of vitamins meant for human consumption.
The groceries have set the stockpiler back by approximately R5000. Note that he bought most of the items at Checkers, and not at Woolworths, which would have made things more expensive. The pantry’s shelves are stacked with instant noodles, rice, lentils, curried vegetables, baked beans, Ricoffy, bags of decaf coffee and cartons of long life milk. There are also some chips and peanuts, tissues, Carlton and 2-ply toilet paper.
The liquor stash cost about R2000. Tins of Castle lite dominate. There are 90 litres in all, and the stockpiler has stacked them in a small Mount Castle lite next to the new cupboard. More beer is kept in in the fridge. There are also two liters of whiskey in another cupboard. Should things get really bad, the stockpiler plans to stop drinking beer and switch to red wine.
Masks, gloves, hand sanitiser
The stockpiler says that he’s reasonably positive of beating the odds, and staying healthy. To boost his chances he has laid in a three month supply of his chronic medication. He uses medication for his high blood pressure and cholesterol. He has also invested in multivitamins, zink lozenges and hand sanitiser. He has gone to great trouble to order the face masks that offer 99.97% protection from overseas. He shows The Grotto one of the masks. Shape-wise it looks like one of the gas masks one sees in WW2 documentaries. It’s been colored an angry red-purple. It is guaranteed to frighten children, and hopefully, viruses.
Getting hold of the masks was a battle. One package arrived with signs of having been opened, another package was held up at customs. The safety glasses that he bought proved to be the biggest headache. They got lost along the way. They are at present still stuck in New York.
Being a typical South African male at heart, the stockpiler has also laid in an impressive quantity of wood and meat, and two 9 kg bottles of gas. He also keeps his car filled up.
In case the proverbial shit does not hit the fan, everything can still be used, the stockpiler points out. He’s satisfied that he’s got all the basics to see out a three month quarantine. Ideally, he’d like to get hold of more alcohol to disinfect surfaces, but it’s impossible getting hold of this at the moment at the shops, and he’s a bit tired of ordering online. “I’ve been training all my life for it,” he says with a gleam in his eye at some point during the interview. “I’m ready for this.”