How One Retailer Is Preparing For The Apocalypse

Tyler Durden's picture

Zero Hedge first revealed Overstock's contingency plans "in preparation for the next collapse" ten days ago. Today, the strategy outlined by Overstock Chairman Jonathan Johnson has resonated across the Atlantic and this morning as the Financial Times catches up to the story of an "online retailer hoarding gold as crisis defense" in which it calls the retailer a "redoubt of doomsday conservatism" adding its policy to prepare for the loss of central-planning control is "redolent of the small band of US survivalists preparing for the end of civilisation."

The FT reports that Jonathan Johnson, Overstock’s "anti-establishment leader", told the Financial Times it has "stashed away $10m in gold and silver coins as an insurance policy against financial apocalypse" and that it keeps "precious metals outside the banking system so the company could pay employees even if lenders slammed shut in a crisis."

Mr Johnson, who is running to be Utah governor, said Overstock also kept extra freeze-dried food so it had enough to feed each employee and one family member for three months.


“We thought there’s a decent chance that there could be a banking holiday at some point caused by a crisis and it could last for two days or two weeks or who knows how long, and we wanted to be in a position where we could continue to operate during any such crisis,” he said.


Overstock’s gold stash will resonate with libertarian conservatives who distrust the Federal Reserve and Wall Street and view gold as a refuge from government attempts to inflate and control the economy.

According to the FT, Overstock's stockpile "makes up about 10 per cent of the company’s liquid assets."

The Nikkei's most recent media acquisition also notes that in an "act of rebellion against financial convention", Patrick Byrne, its chief executive, "is a strident libertarian who champions bitcoin, the virtual currency, and its immunity from government money-printing."

Well, if the company had converted all of its fiat currency in bitcoin two months ago, it would have doubled in value as of yesterday now that the predicted Chinese exodus into the digital currency has been unleashed.

Mr Johnson said Overstock’s board had approved its accumulation of gold and silver after the last financial crisis when the Fed’s policy of quantitative easing, which he called dangerously “irresponsible”, was in full swing.

So with the Fed jawboning for a rate hike, and ZIRP expected to end in 6 weeks (the way it "ended" in Japan in August 2000), has Overstock's gloomy outlook changed? Not at all: "On the bullion hoarding policy, he said: “It was put in place during quantitative easing. It’s in place now and we don’t see a reason to change it.”

“Gold is just one of the financial contingency plans that Overstock puts in place,” he said. “We also have contingencies if sales don’t come in as expected.”

The FT concludes by poking fun of preppers and those who think the world's biggest experiment in central planning intervention will end the way central planning interventions always have - in absolute disaster:  

"Overstock’s policy is redolent of the small band of US survivalists preparing for the end of civilisation, but Mr Johnson said he himself was not a “prepper”.

We'll spare judgment on Overstock's policy and Johnson's "prepperness" since the final chapter of the financial crisis - namely the so-called unwind of emergency measures - has yet to be written.

* * *

Finally for those who missed it and who would rather make up their own mind about the strategy, here are the key highlights from Johnson's speech presented first here in late October:

We are not big fans of Wall Street and we don't trust them. We foresaw the financial crisis, we fought against the financial crisis that happened in 2008; we don't trust the banks still and we foresee that with QE3, and QE4 and QE n that at some point there is going to be another significant financial crisis.


So what do we do as a business so that we would be prepared when that happens. One thing that we do that is fairly unique: we have about $10 million in gold, mostly the small button-sized coins, that we keep outside of the banking system. We expect that when there is a financial crisis there will be a banking holiday. I don't know if it will be 2 days, or 2 weeks, or 2 months. We have $10 million in gold and silver in denominations small enough that we can use for payroll. We want to be able to keep our employees paid, safe and our site up and running during a financial crisis.


We also happen to have three months of food supply for every employee that we can live on.

His full presentation before the UPMA is below:

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Philo Beddoe's picture

Mormons are by definiton preppers. No need to be so apologetic. 


The Pope's picture

So I guess this means that the military will be sent in to steal the gold & supplies.

Chairman's picture

Actually the Feds tried that once already, it did not end so well for Uncle Sam.

The Pope's picture

<-- Fuck you for your serVITUDE

<-- Thank you for your serVICE

greenskeeper carl's picture

I posted this on the original article,


its a very interesting story, patrick byrne has been battling the wall street crinimals for over a decade. click the link, and click on 'story of deep capture' at the top. Its a long read, but once you start reading you won't want to stop. If even half of the shit on there is true, its a pretty crazy story(i have no reason to doubt any of it).


If you've seen me post the link before, i apologize, i promise Im not trying to spam yall, but i know the crowd on here would like that story.

Surviver22's picture
Surviver22 (not verified) greenskeeper carl Nov 5, 2015 11:26 AM

Obama will not finish his second term! Banned independent documentary reveals the truth. This will scare millions! Current Events Linked to Ancient Biblical Prophecy!

Socratic Dog's picture

It's a great read, thanks.  Just one more aspect of the capture of the government of this country by the mafia.  I've never seen this Kramer character perform, but he's painted as just another loudmouth moron shill here.  Seems he's a lot more than that, he's a jew mafioso, actively taking down good companies to make out on naked short sales.  That's taking down the functioning US economy.  Fucking criminals all.  Need to be decorating lamposts.

Praetorian Guard's picture

Everyone here is invited to sign up over at we have financials, food storage calculators, survival manuals, etc. Looking for moderators and those willing to post. Thanks.

A Nanny Moose's picture

Thank you for your service = "I cannot think for myself."

Rather thanking service members, the military should be disbanded. Rather than thanking service members, I prefer to apologize for not doing enough to keep them out of harm's way.

I have failed them, and their families.

Chairman's picture

Actually the Feds tried that once already, it did not end so well for Uncle Sam.

Badsamm's picture

Going off my personal gold : ammo ratio, that guy might have a small army.
Poor job of the interviewer, asked the wrong questions. ;)

ali-ali-al-qomfri's picture

mr johnson who is running to be Utah govenor,

he's campaining......

how would you campaign to Morom and the Utahnians,

and its not a stupid thing to be thinking ahead...

Anonymous User's picture
Anonymous User (not verified) Philo Beddoe Nov 5, 2015 12:06 PM

But did they have enough women to keep the flow going?

They should hoard some of those too. Preferably like this one here:

Mmm yummy!

Dr. Engali's picture

The first rule of prepping is you don't tell anybody you're prepping. The second rule of prepping is you don't tell anybody you're prepping.

Oldwood's picture

and the third rule is that EVERYBODY should be prepping.

SumTing Wong's picture

The fourth rule is to have a small, trusted community who is also preppring. They can know, and we can all work together to cover all needed contingencies. (I can't be doctor, security, farmer, mechanic, and lumberjack all at the same time.)

TheGuru's picture
TheGuru (not verified) SumTing Wong Nov 5, 2015 9:07 AM

Rick Grimes Manages it.

TheGuru's picture
TheGuru (not verified) SumTing Wong Nov 5, 2015 9:07 AM

Rick Grimes Manages it.

erkme73's picture

The fifth rule is to have that community located in middle-TN on the Cumberland plateau, where access and terrain are so difficult to navigate by foot, that the inner-city vultures will die of starvation or traumatic injuries before they ever reach your community.

NoDebt's picture

He did say he's not a prepper.  This is a financial contingency plan no different than the fact his company probably has an IT disaster recovery plan.  Just a prudent business practice, in my opinion.

pods's picture

I tell myself every day that I am a prepper.

That way, I won't have to admit that I'm a hoarder.


greenskeeper carl's picture

he did say that. I agree 100% with individuals not advertising that they are preppers. But I disagree with doc above about this case, since its a publically traded company, not an individual. They are doing a good service by talking about this. Maybe, just maybe, it will inspire other people or companies to do the same thing, since by talking about it in this way they remove some of the stigma from it. Good for them, and its funny they are getting ridiculed for this. anyone not trusting the largest monetary experiment ever conducted is now a crazy person, even though every instance of central planning on anything resembling this scale has ended in disaster.

BandGap's picture

I would wager they have an enthusiastic volunteer army to protect their stash.

Interesting times.

bluskyes's picture

In keeping with first two rules - it's unspoken.

Hulk's picture

That being the case, I should probably knock off my singing act where I run down the street with my battle rifle and fatiques singing:

I'm a prepper

He's a prepper

She's a prepper

Wouldn't you like to be a prepper too !!!

For you yungins, it kinda goes like this:

NoWayJose's picture

The most important thing about prepping is security. By announcing this he will have every starving family descend on his company. If he really wants to help his employees he would not have announced this - so the intention is really something else.

Oldwood's picture

Which indicates he is still hoping for a "civilized" collapse. It is socially responsible to sound the warning bells if you see danger, which is exactly what he is trying to less than what the majority of posters here are doing albeit anonymously. (cause we be a little bit chicken)

BandGap's picture

We don't have the voice/audience thius guy does.

I don't necessarily see what he is doing as prepping. It is a start but nothing near full blown.

ZeroPoint's picture

Maybe it is just 'lead by example'. Since America is constantly given the message that CEOs are VIPs, maybe this will make Boobus Americanus connect that the struggle he and his family and friends have been going through is connected to that Federal Reserve Note is his pocket, and he needs to do something to protect what little he has left.



azusgm's picture

This should resonate with the Mormon voters.

Chairman's picture

It is no secret that everyone in Mormon country, even non-Mormons, are already fully stocked with food, guns, and ammo as well as a garden and livestock so where exactly will the "starving families" be decending from?

Talleyrand's picture

California, Washington, Portlandia...if they can make it over the Sierra and cross the desert...well, maybe not...depends on the season.

A Nanny Moose's picture

There's always the Donner Camp sites. Heard they had a nice buffet.

Chairman's picture

It is no secret that everyone in Mormon country, even non-Mormons, are already fully stocked with food, guns, and ammo as well as a garden and livestock so where exactly will the "starving families" be decending from?

TxExPat's picture

Again, just a good Mormon announcing that he is part of the community and doing what the community thinks is right...

One of the good things about living in a Mormon community is that everybody is or at least is expected to be prepared, don't expect to see starving hords hitting his door on the first sign of trouble, most people will be able to ride out the 3 months or so He is prepared for...  (Unlike a lot of other urban centers around the country which will go unstable the first day the EBIT card's don't work...).


undertow1141's picture

I feel like Utah will be the first area completely FSA free post crash. THe looters there will be shot quickly. Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota will follow quickly.

Captain Benny's picture

The FSA won't be tolerated pretty much anywhere in Nevada outside of Vegas and Reno.  I have serious doubts that Nanny state Californians will make it halfway to Utah.  We'd barricade roads before letting too many of them get through the Sierras ...

A Nanny Moose's picture

You will be accused of hording.

Fred C Dobbs's picture

I will do more shopping at in the future. 

BKbroiler's picture

right? I wonder if they're hiring

FireBrander's picture

I've tried to shop there, but time and again their prices are WAY HIGH compared to multiple competitors; frankly, I can't believe the place is stil in business.

A Nanny Moose's picture

This is the beauty of the subjective nature of value!!

Latitude25's picture

I predict a nail gun accident.

Fukushima Fricassee's picture
Fukushima Fricassee (not verified) Nov 5, 2015 8:17 AM

I never shopped there. I will start today.

centerline's picture

Ironically, I have ordered some Augason Farms emergency food supplies from Overstock.

r3ct1f13r's picture

I couldn't get my payment to process with them, so I got bucket elsewhere, good deal it seems.

The lady did order a queen size mattress, (delivered to the door in a box for $160) from overstock. I kid you not, not a bad mattress either.