What to Tell Cashiers When They Ask About Your Preps

OK, so you’re a little annoyed because whenever you buy new preps, the cashiers have clever remarks as to the quantity of food you’re getting. You find yourself in need of some clever answers for the next trip.

Not to worry, I’ve got plenty of comebacks for you and I’m sure you’ll love them. The ones you choose to use will depend on what you’re buying and what the cashier is asking, so don’t just fixate on one or two of your favorites. You should know all of them and even better, you should come up with your own clever responses too.

Before we begin, just remember cashiers are people like you and me and they’re just making small talk, nothing more. So don’t act or be paranoid, you’ve got other people interested in your preps besides them.

#1. Don’t say anything.

Or you can just say “yeah” and leave it at that. If you say nothing, they might think you’re prepping but who cares? At least it won’t bother you that much because you ended everything before it began.

#2. “I’m going camping…”

…with my whole family. Which you probably should do, anyway. No one can deny that a lot of the stuff you buy for stockpiling purposes is useful when camping. It’s a good excuse and most cashiers will buy it.

#3. “I have a big family event coming up.”

A big family event could mean up to 20 or even 30 people! Of course, this won’t work if you’re getting canned food, MREs, or freeze dried products. It does work when you’re stocking up on beans, rice, water, pasta, salmon, cooking oil, spices, baking soda, vinegar, tea, and coffee. (Check out the list of the most important 37 foods items to hoard here.)

#4. “I’m prepping for Doomsday.” (said sarcastically)

You want to say it sarcastically because then you’re sure they won’t believe you. On the other hand, if you truly don’t care about what others say and think, then you don’t need to read this article at all.

Of course, you don’t NEED to say these word for word. It doesn’t matter how you phrase it as long as you come across the same way.

#5. Just say “Yes” or “No”

When you give one word answers, you don’t engage and the other person typically just gives up on further conversation.

#6. Say something funny.

So cashiers might think you’re a little crazy if you joke a bit, but at least they won’t know what you’re up to. You can have any number of sarcastic comebacks such as:

  • “I’m aiming for high blood pressure.”
  • “I’m going back to the dating game and I plan to have a lot of dinner dates right at home.”
  • “Just getting ready to watch the Superbowl.”
  • “I’ll be placed under house arrest starting midnight for the next month or so.”
  • “I’m doing food experiments at home.”
  • “I’m giving all of this away to food banks.”
  • “Yeah, this is for my pet rhino.”
  • “This is exactly the reason they say you should never shop when you’re hungry.”
  • “I’m really hungry tonight.”

Just be careful with these. Don’t use the ones that are too cocky unless the cashier is open and friendly or they’ll end up remembering you, which is the thing you were trying to avoid from the start!

The whole idea about buying preps is to become gray and one of the ways you do that is by not standing out too much (or at all). Using humor is a good way to not stand out, by the way.

#7. “I hate shopping and don’t do it very often.”

Well, it is believable, I guess. Cashiers aren’t supposed to be smart-asses so they’re not gonna say anything back. In fact, there’s nothing wrong with shopping every 3-4 weeks. You don’t have to say you hate it, you can just say it saves you time.

#8. “I’m just building up a pantry.”

You can go on and admit to it. It’s always smart to have a well-stocked pantry, especially since food prices are rising and packages are getting smaller. Plus, you can let them know that these foods have a very stable shelf life, just to subtly assure them everything’s normal.

#9. “I’m stockpiling for my hunting/fishing cabin.”

Another good comeback which works best when you’re not lying. If you really do have a hunting or a fishing cabin, you should definitely use this comeback. And you should have it stocked up too because you might end up bugging out there, sooner than you think.

#10. “I’m just helping out my church.”

Who can argue with that?

#11. “I have a large family.”

Are they gonna come home with you to find out? Nope.

#12. Turn the tables on them

A fantastic way to avoid answering too many questions is to start asking questions yourself. This way, the cashier will end up talking more than you and forget all about how much you’re buying.

What you need is a good hook, but it can’t be something unrelated to their comment. For example, if they’re asking why you’re buying so much rice, you can change the subject but you can use “rice” as a hook like this:

Yeah, I’m not sure which one is better, though, white or brown? White is tastier and has longer shelf life but brown is healthier.

And you take it from there.

#13. “I’m shopping for the restaurant where I work.”

Well, it can happen. A restaurant runs out of food and needs a few quick supplies, right? Another way of looking at it is that SHTF in that restaurant, but you probably don’t want to mention this to the cashier. 🙂

#14. Flirt

It just works, particularly if the cashier is cute. And if she’s not, be careful because she probably doesn’t get a lot of attention normally and you will stand out.

Do You Really Need to Do This?

Not really. But I found that the less arguments, the more peaceful I feel. Even when you don’t want to admit it, other people’s words, can get under your skin. So the less negative comments or confrontation you have the better.

Last but not least, don’t forget that a cashier’s job is also to be friendly and make small talk. In the vast majority of cases, they won’t even remember what you told them after two minutes. They make small talk just to be polite and someone buying too much of one thing is always a good thing to ask about.

How can you completely avoid these remarks?

If you’re not comfortable having to explain complete strangers why you’re buying so much of one thing, you can just avoid everything by:

  • buying less stuff but more frequently;
  • paying attention to when there are different cashiers so they don’t remember you;
  • buying in different places;
  • sending your wife or kids for you;
  • buying online;
  • buying directly from farmers.

Stay safe,

Dan

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About Dan F. Sullivan

My dad was military. My grandfather was a cop. They served their country well. But I don't like taking orders. I'm taking matters into my own hands so I'm not just preparing, I'm going to a friggin' war to provide you the best of the best survival and preparedness content out there.

2 comments

  1. I use scan as you shop, so everything is scanned as it’s removed from the shop shelves, then it’s immediately bagged, so nobody knows what i have.

    Most shops will also give you their empty boxes. If possible get banana boxes and just put a strip of cardboard from another box over the gap in the base. Then once filled put the lid on it and start on filling the next box. You can have a lot of supplies in each box, and nobody knows anything.

    When finished you head to the self service till, pay and away you go with everyone none the wiser

  2. I tell them it’s for my dog. My dog had bad kidneys, and couldn’t eat a lot of protein. So I used to make him a mixture of fried ground beef, bacon fat and a LOT of rice. He thought he was in pig city! So when a cashier would be curious about the rice, I’d tell them I have a sick dog whose kidneys can’t handle much meat, so I use the rice for a filler. Big dog, lots of rice. That was absolutely true, and I still use that story even though my Sandy Pup has died.

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