The local Agway was having a great propane sale this past weekend – refills for only $10.99. I had an empty tank waiting for just such an opportunity, so off I went on Saturday morning.
Turns out a lot of people had the same idea. When I got in the propane line, there were three people in front of me, each with a tank or two. Except for one lady – she had 12 empty tanks in the back of her pickup. It turned out that only nine of them could be filled – three were more than 12 years old. So she called up her husband who instructed her to get three new tanks filled – also on sale for $35 – to replace the aged-out tanks.
My first thought was: “Prepper.” I mean, that’s 240 pounds of propane, which would last a good long while, at least for me – we barely use a tank a year in the grill under normal conditions, whatever that means. But then I got to thinking: this guy must have had 12 empty tanks lying around, which is just the opposite of effective prepping. He should have been refilling as he went. They still have sales at other times in the year, after all, and he should have been rotating his stock so as to use the oldest tanks first. Yes, quantity has a quality of its own, but a quantity of empty tanks isn’t exactly a quality prep.
I dearly wanted to ask the lady what was up, but she was a bit flustered and obviously angry at having to play propane mule for her husband. I suppose it was a missed opportunity that will haunt me forevermore – like the time I didn’t ask the impeccably dressed, expensively coiffed woman in line in front of us at the grocery store one New Year’s Eve many moons ago why she was purchasing 13 one-pound blocks of lard, and nothing else. The future Mrs. P was with me that night, and to this day we regret not asking about that purchase, or at least stalking her from the parking lot to whatever grand lard-themed New Year’s gala she was apparently en route to.
Come to think of it, lard is a great prep item. Maybe she was a… nah, not likely.