The Great Marketing Scheme of January 2020

The way they reported the coming of the storm, we thought we were in for a major disaster. They said there would be widespread power outages, and it could be days or weeks before power was restored. They said this storm would be a record breaker.

People listened. The stores were full of people buying supplies that they would need to ride out the storm and its aftermath. I was among them. I went to Dollar General and bought food that would keep me fed when I wouldn’t be able to use my stove. I made some preparations around the house. Got out all of my flashlights and candles. I was ready

On Facebook, under a Flint Police Operations post, I saw a woman comment that if her power went out, she would have to leave home, because she had an infant. People responded to her comment, telling her she should leave her home before the storm hit, because she wouldn’t want to be on the road during the storm.

The woman agreed. Her next comment said that she had booked a hotel room and she was leaving her home right away.

Well, the storm hit. It rained ice and I guess it was pretty windy. But Sunday morning, I still had power. My patio chairs had not moved an inch and neither had my outdoor garbage can. I didn’t see any tree branches in the yard.

On Facebook, one of my cousins was disappointed that he didn’t get to use his fancy new generator. A few people reported that their lights had flickered, but I haven’t heard about any actual outages. Someone very accurately said, “Well, that was the Detroit Lions of winter storms.”

I’ve been calling the whole thing a marketing scheme. I went out and spent money that I had not wanted to spend, to purchase supplies that I thought I would need to get through a few days without power. A lot of other people did the same. For nothing.

The storm was pretty weak in comparison to some of the storms I’ve lived through. It sure as hell wasn’t a record breaker. Now what’s going to happen next time they cry wolf?

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