...kind of feel bad for them...for a couple of seconds anyway. MASS die-off if something remotely bad happens..... Buyers' remorse for emergency supply purchases - Boulder Daily Camera This says it all: Buyers' remorse for emergency supply purchases By Christina Rexrode Associated Press Posted: 08/29/2011 10:57:00 PM MDT NEW YORK -- People along the East Coast gave thanks when the storm passed by Sunday and inflicted relatively little harm. But by Monday morning, they were complaining. Some were annoyed that they'd braved long lines to buy batteries and canned goods that they didn't end up needing. Others were in stores demanding refunds on the extra flashlights, tarps and even junk food they'd snapped up. Many were planning to host post-hurricane parties to get rid of all the extra food they bought, or were preparing to sell their unwanted stuff on eBay. Hurricane Irene, which barreled through the Carolinas and the Eastern Seaboard, has exposed the new thriftiness Americans have adopted during the economic downturn. In previous years, people might have just stuffed the extra emergency supplies into their cupboards. But stagnant wages, high unemployment and a volatile stock market have turned spenders into penny pinchers. And many people are having buyer's remorse. David McDuff stood in the returns line at a Home Depot in Falls Church, Va., on Monday, waiting to get his money back for the $500 gas-powered generator he'd bought in case he lost power over the weekend. In years past, McDuff said, he might have been tempted to keep the generator. But now? "I just feel like I don't need it," said McDuff, 55, a contractor. "I'll buy it again if the need arises." So far, Hurricane Irene gave an unexpected windfall to home-improvement chains and grocers and a blow to department and clothing stores. Stores aren't eager to give back those sales, but they also don't want to alienate their shoppers by being difficult to deal with. At a Home Depot in Brooklyn on Monday, a handwritten sign warned there would be "NO Returns" on sump pumps, opened batteries or flashlights. Both Home Depot and rival Lowe's say on their websites that customers can return most items within 90 days of purchase. But Karen Cobb, a spokeswoman for Lowe's, said the store hadn't seen a rash of returns Monday. "There are people who still don't have power," Cobb said, "and we also know that hurricane season is not over yet, and customers in the Northeast know full and well that there are snowstorms coming." Emergency-preparedness professionals agree that people should hold onto their supplies for future need. "At the next storm, rather than trying to beat the crush of people running out to get those things, you can sit back and be safe and comfortable with your family, knowing you already have those things on hand," said Heather Paul, a spokeswoman for State Farm Insurance. But some people just don't see the need in keeping things they don't plan to use right away.