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An Ill-equipped world?

Discussion in 'Where, When, & How Do We Carry All This Stuff?' started by Hahn, Oct 13, 2009.

  1. Hahn

    Hahn Empty Pockets

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    So long story short we lost power at work this morning for nearly two hours; and nearly everyone seemed to be unable to do their job. I work at an architect firm, and while there are certain teams that fully rely on computers; more than 75% of the work done at my office could be done with no electricity. The people that did continue to do their work (mainly redlining/drawing up plans) did so using the ambient light the windows and emergency lighting provided. Seeing as how I sit at one of the darker areas I reached into my Malaga and grabbed my cheapo flashlight, clicked it on and was back to work in all of ten seconds. What just really amazed me was how many people commented on how smart it is to have a flashlight handy. Three to four people mentioned that they had flashlights and headlamps in their vehicles for camping and caving (Northwest Arkansas is a beautiful area for outdoors activities, with lots of water, woods and caves), and ONE other person actually had a light on them. I worked for nearly two hours using a flashlight that costs $.99 (Shipped) on eBay. Went to lunch and it wasn’t until I was eating lunch that I really thought about how scary it was that nearly no one was even slightly prepared for such an event. I was very happily suprised to find this site and others that ate like-minded, but to see this lack of preperation in such a large scale (~200 people) was shocking and disturbing :brickwall:

    Now I know some of you guys will question the 99 cent light. It was one my dad picked up from eBay (where he makes a living selling stuff) and offered to me off of a whim. I took it to use as a placeholder until I get something better. Not near as nice as some of the ones I’ve seen on here but much, MUCH better than nothing at all.
     
  2. tradja

    tradja Loaded Pockets

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    Good story and welcome to EDCF!  Yes, nice gear is a treat and sometimes a necessity, but when I started experimenting with EDC I found that carrying a cheap knife and flashlight were an epiphany:  the vast majority of the time, when I need to cut something, my cheap knife would do.  When I needed to find something in the dark, the very modest flashlight would do.

    Now I like my nice gear, but as you've identified, just having something is the important part (I would argue that taking a few basic 1st aid/CPR classes is important as well).  Basic personal preparation does not have to be expensive, weird, geeky, or a full-time hobby, although it is fun when taken to those extremes.  In fact, compared to the gourmet gun/knife/light/nylon forums, I find EDC a relatively affordable pursuit.

    Sounds like you set a good example today.  Hopefully some of them will put a flashlight on their keys or in their bags, not just in their cars.  The holidays are coming -- you could give some kind of dealextreme 1xAA light or Photon/Fauxton to selected colleagues, along with a lighthearted remark about today's power outage.


    EDIT:
    I agree 100%.
     
  3. codewarrior

    codewarrior Loaded Pockets

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    Yes, great story. And I can definitely see it happening in my office. I'm considered eccentric for carrying a flash and a multitool, which I find odd being as one of the people that seems most bemused is Civil Air Patrol search and rescue. He has these items, but in the office his pockets are empty...
    :shrug:

    But guess who's desk they all head to when someone needs a screwdriver ...a light last week...pliers yesterday....? ;)
     
  4. landwire
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    landwire Loaded Pockets

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    My EDC flashlight cost less then $10. I was fortunate to be an active reader here when they were being discussed and where to get one. Growing up, a lot of my camping gear was hand-me downs. It would have been nice to have newer/better stuff. However, having that cheap gear allowed me to go on a lot of camping trips.
     
  5. zshiner

    zshiner Loaded Pockets

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    The issue is not really how much your gear costs - it is the fact you have it and it is useful for YOU.
     
  6. Valerian

    Valerian Tea-powered admin

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    Absolutely, a light in your pocket is worth more than ten in the drawer.

    If it had been darker, perhaps this would have been a learning experience for your coworkers. Possibly it still was, for some of them. I used to work in an archiving library, where almost everyone spent at least an hour or two every day in the archives, which were two windowless underground floors. They'd had a power out in the previous summer and a few people had been stuck there, in absolute darkness. Consequently, almost everyone had lights in their keychains and when I started working there, quite a few of them mentioned this incident and showed their lights to me. People can learn.
     
  7. grimm_kaosboy

    grimm_kaosboy Empty Pockets

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    Don't confuse high price with high quality. At a certain point you start paying for the reputation as well as the quality. It doesn't matter how much something costs so long as it functions reliably when its needed and can do the task its needed for.
    That being said, WELCOME ABOARD! I'm sure you will get a lot of good ideas from here, I know I did. And I understand completely where you are comming from about people being unprepared at work. I know I am the only one here (out of 7 warehouse employees) who carries a flashlight. Four of us carries knives (the secretary has hers in her purse). And only 2 of us carry multi-tools. And we are a manufactoring/shipping facility......
     
  8. gern_blanston

    gern_blanston Loaded Pockets

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    The title of this thread really hits home. 98% of the people in the world are ill-prepared for ANYTHING out of the ordinary. Car breakdown, power outage, water across the road, anything. Kinda' scary. Cool that you were ready to rumble and just kept right on doing what needed to be done. O0
     
  9. JonSidneyB
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    JonSidneyB Uber Prepared
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    I think 98% is a bit high. I think some of the most prepared people are actually some people not thinking that much about preparadness. I will have to come back and explain this.
     
  10. gern_blanston

    gern_blanston Loaded Pockets

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    I'll definitely agree that a lot of people are more 'prepared' than people who 'prepare'.
    And I might give you a couple of points and say that 95% of the people in the world are ill-prepared for ANYTHING out of the ordinary. ;)
     
  11. JonSidneyB
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    JonSidneyB Uber Prepared
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    I have lived rural and in cities and have worked in major metropolitan areas as well as very small towns. I worked at a major pharmaceutical company for several years. Having lights didn't bat an eye except for they admired the quality of my Larry lights. This was sometime ago but things like Surefire L4s were not unknown there and many people there had them, no one made a big deal about them. Pocket knives were almost as common it seemed to me as key chains. Multi -tools were not rare either and this was a white collar job.

    The social clubs I belonged to the people had lots of gear much of it quite pricey and the people used it and used it well. When I would head out home (rural area) people carried flashlights frequently, it was not unusual at all. Knives again were just as common. Quite a few people were armed, not a rare thing at all, and the people I ran into all the time had good gear, the tactical look was pretty rare even among ex soldiers but quality gear was often seen. The state I am talking about here is not that remote of a place. That is Indiana.

    In Oklahoma I see the same thing. People have gear but they don't think of themselves as being prepared, they have the stuff that they use. Sometimes they will go back to get something from a tool box but it is handy to have portable items with them.

    I am sure that there are tons of people in flyover country carrying the items they use as I have encountered it frequently. Now I have been in some places where I don't think as many people do. I have a feeling that most people in many areas don't have much on them.

    I have just seen enough of it to know that there are a great many people out there that have never seen this forum using stuff they carry everyday.
     
  12. Gorbag

    Gorbag Loaded Pockets

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    I can agree with that one wholeheartedly. Living in the foothills of the Sierras, we can get sudden snowstorms that seem to aim for the powerlines. People that move up from the Bay go through about one snowstorm, get caught by a power outage or an unplowed road on a hill, and then make a trip to the hardware store for essentials like flashlights, candles, heaters, tire chains, etc. Most people don't pocket carry, but they've got their stuff in their car, at least.

    Now as to on-person carry, not many people do that around this area. I'll see the occasional multi-tool on the belt, or a pocket clip of a knife, and there's a rare few that do more than that. As an example, two years ago, we had a couple of thunderstorms that knocked out power, one right after the other. During one, I was at work, out on the smoking deck on a break. There was a sudden gust of wind, and the lights went out. Everybody started freaking out, I went into my pocket, out came the flashlight, and I continued reading my book. The only other people that regularly carry flashlights at work are the maintenance guys, and about half them had dead or low batteries in their flashlights. The generator kicked in, but it only has enough juice to keep the gaming floor running full steam, everything else is down for the count. So when I went back from break, we had to shut down the kitchen by the light of my flashlight, a couple of tea lights they had for buffets, and a really old 2D Duracell flashlight that someone found in the back of a file cabinet.

    The maintenance folks are now subject to a weekly battery check, and my boss layed in a supply of flashlights and batteries that gets kept for easy access in the office.
     
  13. JonSidneyB
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    JonSidneyB Uber Prepared
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    Ok, maybe more people carry lights that live 7 or more miles from the nearest streetlight or have to drive on dirt roads for 5 or more miles to get home.

    I did still see tons of them at my office in downtown Indianapolis.
     
  14. Gorbag

    Gorbag Loaded Pockets

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    What's weird about it is I saw more on-person carry back in Chicago than I do out here in the Foothills. Dunno if it's just a California thing or what.
     
  15. mrsean2k

    mrsean2k Empty Pockets

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    I had a beautiful chance to use someone else's quote on here last weekend.

    I was ferrying my friends daughter and a car full of other girls to her 18th birthday. The youngest (about 4) was teary because she'd scratched her hand. So I direct them to my jacket with an urban wallet in the inside pocket containing, amongst other vitals, a large sheet of sticking plaster and a Micra with scissors.

    Cue cries of "that's cool" when they worked out how to unfold the scissors (honestly!) a bit of snipping later and a happy child. More psychological I think, but still.

    Her parent later asked "Why do you carry that?" leaving me the delightful chance to say "Given what I used if for, the question is why don't you?" She took the point in good humour and I was ridiculously please with myself.
     
  16. tradja

    tradja Loaded Pockets

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    Awesome. O0 Good write-up, and good for nudging people in the right direction tactfully.
     
  17. Hahn

    Hahn Empty Pockets

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    I understand and agree with where you're coming from. Where I live (Northwest Arkansas) there are quite a few people that live a decent distance from the city (myself included) and therefore have more EDC items than a typical nine to fiver; but that is what concerned me! I know of a handful of people that live out on the lake near where I do, or even further out. While some commented about having a light in their car, many looked at the idea of carrying a light (person carry or car) as totally revolutionary. Like it blew their mind that someone would actually have a flashlight in their car let alone on their person.

    I've looked at myself more than once and thought 'Hmm, that might be a good idea to have' (perfect example was last year we had a bad ice storm and I could see where a neighbor had used a chainsaw to cut out a nice ~12'x12'opening through fallen trees and thought about getting one to keep in the SUV during winter) But I still consider myself somewhat prepared, what worries me is when people look at preparedness not like it is the antinorm (which I'd say it is, if not 98% so then at least 75%) but like it is weird to be prepared.
     
  18. tso

    tso Loaded Pockets

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    i cant help wonder if its related to the "manbag" issue...
     
  19. gern_blanston

    gern_blanston Loaded Pockets

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    I'm gonna' have to push my estimate back up after last night. I'm staying at a hotel in the bay area and the power went out for the whole neighborhood at about 9:00 p.m. There were no street lights or anything, so it was very dark. I (foolishly) grabbed my flashlight and open the door to see if there are any lights on, and people are starting to come out of their rooms, some nearly in a panic. Over the friggin' LIGHTS being out for a few minutes!! A couple of 'em wander my direction insisting that they be allowed to borrow my little flashlight, and I must admit I was a little unnerved by their attitude. These people were not banding together jovially to shoot the breeze until the power came back on.
    The the dim emergency lights in the hall came on and the fire doors closed about this time, which got people's attention, so I closed my door, got my ax handle out of my suitcase, stuffed some toilet paper in the peep hole, lit my Esbit stove, and made a cup of coffee. A remarkably disappointing display by my fellow travellers over absolutely NOTHING, and an example of how poorly prepared the :censored: of the world are for anything out of the ordinary.
    Post mortem on my night: Should have kept my door shut and had coffee quietly while not making public the fact that I had a tiny bit of EDC stuff that other people wanted. I can't imagine people's reaction to a REAL problem. I guess I am a naive bumpkin when it comes to the big city. :(
     
  20. buckshot

    buckshot Loaded Pockets

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    I think it nearly all circumstances, and workplaces around the world you will find that people are woefully unprepared. You as well as the rest of the visitors to this site are well into the minority.

    What you described reminded me so much of a book I finished reading last week called one second after (Link to book at Amazon.com ) that it was scary. This is a great book and also a terrifying book to read and I recommend everyone should get it, read it and try to learn from it. It might seem paranoid but really its not far from what could be a very possible reality.

    I work with :censored: like you and over the years I have bestowed onto many of them Christmas gifts that I felt would hopefully help them be better prepared, and at the very least to stop them from borrowing all my EDC kit from me every day :)

    I have given them knives, sharpeners, keychain lights, pocket flashlights, multitools and more. Nothing too exotic or too expensive, but decent quality that I hoped would be able to help them in the future.

    I have done the same for members of my family and friends, so far nobody has been unhappy with these gifts or has seen through to my true motives which are to help them be more prepared and to keep them from borrowing my stuff :)


    Cheers