...what do I need to bring? How much can you realistically take with you when leaving by car, by bike, or on foot? What are the most important items, and will you be able to grab them quickly enough? To simplify things, would it make sense to maintain a small cache of supplies in the trunk of your car or at a friend's place - and if yes, what should be in that box?
Still, these extraterrestrial-looking foodstuffs seem to be having something of a moment: For the past four years, Costco has been selling pallets of shriveled vegetables, fruits, grains, and meats that promise to feed a single family for up to a year—and if you’re not a member, you can purchase similar survival kits, many of which boast a 20- to 30-year shelf life, at Walmart and Target. One top seller, Wise Company, saw its sales nearly double over the past four years, reaching around $75 million, according to a Bloomberg Businessweek cover story last November. The company’s CEO, Jack Shields, told me he estimates the industry as a whole generates between $400 and $450 million annually in retail.
For muggings, keeping several $10 or $20 bills in your front pocket (and having real valuables somewhere else) can be enough to send them on their way; in busy locations, you should also be able to just ignore the mugger and briskly walk away. For more serious incidents, it may be useful to respond with something that is non-threatening but catches the assailant off guard. Simply feigning a panic attack or initiating a startling conversation ("hey, are you a friend of CJ? Pretty sure we've met last year!") can throw them off balance - allowing you to fight back or get away. Of course, you also need a plan for that next step; that's where your running skills, your bare-hands self-defense talents, or your weapons proficiency can come into play. But again, you need to actively practice and develop approaches that have a chance of working in real life; there's no verbal diversion strategy in the world that would give you enough time to fumble through your purse to find an old, gummed up can of pepper spray.
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