I think I made a great purchase today. A division of "Inn on the Creek Foods” makes a six 1⁄2 gallon plastic bucket of instant food. The bucket is called an "ARK" and can be purchased at www.getyourark.com for $119 + $25 shipping and handling. Each bucket has 90 meals inside in 285 individually sealed pouches. The shelf life for this kit is listed as 15 years, and the buckets have a “Store until 2022” label on them. I saw on their web site that Sam’s Club was a sole source distributor of them if you didn’t want to pay for shipping, but only a few participating Sam’s had them. Fortunately one of the Sam’s was here in Tampa . I went down to the store to check them out, and perhaps purchase one or two. Imagine my surprise when I found a pallet of them marked at $19.81 each. A whopping $100 discount per kit! I asked a clerk to scan the item to confirm the price, and she confirmed the price at $19.81 claiming it was a discontinued item that they were no longer going to carry. So, being a Preparedness Oriented Person, and having read your novel twice, I purchased all I could afford which was 36 buckets! I paid $713 for 36 kits. I would have paid $5,184 for them if I had bought them on the Internet. I plan on keeping 12 kits, giving 12 kits away to family and close friends, and selling 12 kits either to friends or co-workers, or on E-bay. So, what do you think, good buy or not?
JWR Replies: This was covered in SurvivalBlog back in August of 2006. This product--or one remarkably like it--was originally marketed as a "three month food supply for one person." There was at least one lawsuit over their claims-- which focused on the number of meals and caloric content. It might be a product worth buying, but realistically, consider each bucket just a 15 to perhaps 20 day food supply for one adult. This product is not some miracle Lembas Bread out of a Tolkien novel. Survival requires calories, and calories require volume. If you were to believe their claims about "X days supply", you would quickly find that the caloric content per "meal" would put you below the starvation level of the 1940s Nazi death camps. So take the manufacturer's "Days supply" estimates, and divide by six. Be sure that you re-label the actual number of days supply before you distribute these for charity or for sales.