One of the VERY valuable lessons that I learned post Hurricane Katrina was that buying anything was a problem.
When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, all of the electricity for the entire New Orleans metro area failed.
Then the levees broke and the flooding started. It did not flood where I worked in the central business district. Neither did my residence flood. Both were high and dry.
However, all of the main branches of ALL of the banks in New Orleans were flooded and without electricity. This had more of a far reaching effect than I had ever imagined.
Everyone that stayed in the New Orleans area, post Hurricane Katrina had the same problem. Because ALL of the branches of ALL of the banks in the New Orleans metro area did not have electricity and/or were flooded, this placed ALL of the banks computer systems underwater and/or without electricity to power their computers.
No merchant could confirm that you had any money on deposit with the bank that you used. This meant that NO business would take ANY credit card, ANY debit card or ANY check because there was no way to verify how much money you had on deposit with your bank.
The only thing that any merchant would take was CASH! If you did not have cash, you were not able to buy anything.
Another problem was that because payroll checks, Social Security and retirement checks, etc. was electronically deposited into our bank account, there was no way to confirm that any funds were on deposit in your bank account. So, NO auto bills were paid from our checking accounts, making all of those bills delinquent.
I found one gas station that had a generator powering one gas pump. I tried to use silver American Eagle coins to purchase gas. The manager told me he had no idea what the coin was worth.
The station manager then told me that it said “one dollar” on a one ounce silver U.S. coin and that is what it would buy, one dollars’ worth of gas. I had a 32 gallon gas tank. You can figure out how many one once, silver, American Eagles it would have taken to fill my gas tank? To the gas station manager, it was just a U. S. dollar coin (there were other ways to get gas).
DO NOT store only gold and silver coins for emergency purchasing purposes.
I HIGHLY recommend that along with your emergency supplies, you keep some cash money in varied denominations. If you decide to do this, store only one, five, ten and twenty dollar bills. That is the only thing that merchants would accept without any problem.
Bartering is another way to obtain items. However, that is the subject for another article.