[Richard] Do The Grocery Stores Own The Weather Channel?
You've no doubt heard about the "tuck rule" and the "ten second rule." Well, how about a new rule that prohibits the media from talking about snow storms until the day before they arrive?
Since the middle of last week we've heard about the pending storm that would bring doom and destruction to Southern New England. Blizzard advisories were up by weekend with one Facebook poster gushing that he'd heard we could get as much as 40 inches of snow come Tuesday! 40 inches? That's more than three feet! Hell, that would motivate even me to run to the Piggly Wiggly for milk, bread and cat food! YIKES!
Problem is this, the media picks up on computer chatter at least a week out and begins to hype it up mercilessly. Hell, it's good for ratings in today's "all news all the time" age that we live in. People begin to freak, rush to the stores to load up on supplies that they just could not survive without if trapped in the house for say, 24 hours. Every battery disappears as does the bread and milk and you just know that tree that has stood in your yard for 175 years is coming down and bringing all of the power lines with it. Wonder why no one ever clamors for toilet paper?
By the way, I have lived in my house in the north end of New Bedford for more than 20 years and have lost power once. For like an hour. And yet every time the media said, "prepare for power outages," I ran dutifully to Job Lot to arm wrestle my 80 year old neighbor for the last flashlight battery. The flashlights, fully loaded with fresh batteries, sat unused on the kitchen counter next to the unused candles. The extra bread and milk, stashed for safe keeping. Didn't need any of it but man it was good to have it just in case.
When we over-hype weather events we wind up almost always disappointed, The kids are often home from school when they could have safely made it there and back. And when every storm is the "storm of the century," we become desensitized to the hype and are ill prepared for when the real thing comes.
As with many "blockbuster" storms in recent years, tomorrow's event appears to be a bit less sensational than first advertised. Don't get me wrong, 8-12 inches of snow, the current forecast, (unless it changes to rain), is still a formidable storm, but this is New England. It snows here during the winter.
I can't prove it but I think there is some kind of collusion between the weather forecasters and the grocery store chains. Whether it snows a little or a lot or just rains tomorrow, they make out like bandits. Just sayin'.
Whatever happens tomorrow, be safe and for God sake, don't get caught up in wall to wall storm coverage on TV, it will only make you crazy! And don't forget to check into the The Storm Center on WBSM and at WBSM.com for all of the latest.
Editor's Note: Barry Richard is the afternoon host on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from Noon-3pm. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.