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Big blow coming? Y2K food stash up for bids
JIM SLOAN of The Tampa Tribune
Gary Britt of Plant City and five friends were ready for anything Y2K might bring. With the non-event behind him, Britt has 30 one-year boxes of dehydrated survival food ? with a shelf life of 10 years ? up for sale.
Gary Britt was ready for the Y2K meltdown. Boy, was he ready. Fearing the worst, Britt and five friends bought $35,000 worth of dehydrated survival food off the Internet. Four hundred cases. Six No. 10 cans to a case. Enough to keep a family of four in freeze-dried heaven for seven years - or one person for 30 years. But, when Jan. 1, 2000, came and the lights didn't go out, his friends gave the 45-year-old Elvis impersonator and sign store owner from Plant City a new job. Food salesman.
``FOOD, survival,'' Britt's eye-catching classified advertisement reads.
``30 1-year units. 10 year shelf life. Price negotiable.''
It could be a tough sell. No beef Wellington with escargot and chocolate souffle on the menu here. Think dehydrated - broccoli, fruit and fruit drinks, powdered butter, corn, peas. Just add water and dig in. Britt figures a month, two tops, and it'll all be sold.
``This is hurricane country,'' he says with a smile. ``If there was a hurricane, this product would go overnight.''
Britt said he and the other families are not stocking up because they are hard-core survivalists, ready to hunker down with assault rifles to defend their freeze-dried apricots from the hungry Y2K hordes.
``We were very nervous'' about a worldwide computer shutdown, he conceded.
``Is there anybody you know who didn't check out their computer? If they weren't worried about it, why would they do that?''
``We just took the next step.''
The food cost each family about $6,000, Britt said, enough for themselves plus friends and relatives.
``We felt like that wouldn't sink anybody,'' he said. ``It wasn't like we wanted to start the world over or anything. We thought it would be enough to help out our family and friends.''
When the new millennium arrived without Armageddon, Britt was ``very relieved.'' But, even with a 10-year shelf life, he knew there was no way he was going to eat all that food. Figuring it would be easier to sell through one source, the six families stacked up the goodies in a shed at Britt's sprawling rural home off Knights-Griffin Road.
``I got the role of selling it because I'm a good salesperson,'' Britt said - ``or more likely, because I agreed to do it.''
He hopes to recoup at least 75 percent of the families' investment. So far, he's gotten four inquiries, ``one serious.''
But he's been out of town, competing as an Elvis impersonator at the Collingwood Elvis Festival in Collingwood, Ontario. Britt has long crooned The King's songs, but he got serious about impersonating Elvis last month after encouragement from other competitors.
Sunday, he heads to ``Images of Elvis 2000,'' a weeklong celebration in Memphis marking the singer's death.
But if you're interested in survival, leave a message and he'll get back to you. Although one item may be in short supply. ``The granola-blueberry cereal is awesome,'' he said. ``My wife has been eating it for breakfast.''
Jim Sloan can be reached at (813) 259-7691 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
-- (email@example.com), August 13, 2000
-- (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 13, 2000.
Someone should *re-post it weekly* to remind you that some people were SUCKERS.
Anyone have any idea of what that $6,000 stash for four really cost?
Want to bet it was less than 1/2 ?
-- cpr (email@example.com), August 13, 2000.
Weekly, why not post it hourly?
-- In jest (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 13, 2000.
Why is this for me? I don't follow you.
There is no such thing as rational thought for people like CPR, so I guess I'll never understand why he does things like this.
-- Navi (email@example.com), August 13, 2000.