Two angles facing left, which often indicate, “return to the beginning.” Two angles facing right, which often indicate, “advance to the end.”

  • Where can you turn in the event of an apocalypse?
  • Well, when it comes to different national retailers, some chains are more useful than others in case of an emergency.
  • Costco, Sam’s Club, and BJ’s all sell supplies that could potentially be crucial, while you’re better off skipping over other shops and restaurants.

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We’ve all heard of the retail apocalypse. But which retailer should you turn to in the event of an actual apocalypse?

Business Insider spoke to John Ramey, the founder and editor of The Prepared, a site that teaches people how to get ready for potential emergencies. We ran a few popular chain stores by Ramey to get his insight into which would provide the most helpful supplies or the best setting to ride out doomsday.

But according to him, the idea of sheltering in a retail setting “doesn’t map with the reality of how things go in a disaster.”

“You wouldn’t want to set up shop in any of those stores,” he told Business Insider. “They’re easy targets and too many other panicked people will be thinking the same thing.”

Read more: 15 things you can buy from Costco, Amazon, Sam’s Club, and BJ’s to be ready for when the apocalypse hits

Basically, you’re better off sticking around at home. But if you find yourself trapped at the mall or forced to venture out into the post-apocalyptic world to gather supplies, some outlets could be more useful than others.

“If you have to, go to the bigger box stores with a wider variety of products ranging from non-perishable food to medicine, clothing, tools, and shelter,” Ramey said. “Costco and Sam’s Club are much better choices than Trader Joe’s.”

He added that most Americans “only have a few days worth of food and liquids” in their own homes.

“So getting food and water will be one of your first priorities when things fall apart — but a lot of other people will be thinking the same thing, so you’ll need to move fast before the shelves are empty,” he said.

Here’s a breakdown of how helpful a number of big-box stores, chain restaurants, and other ubiquitous retailers would prove to be in the event of a widespread emergency:

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Most Costco warehouses are big, largely window-free buildings stocked with bulk-sized provisions. So make sure you have your membership card when disaster strikes.

Most Costco warehouses are big, largely window-free buildings stocked with bulk-sized provisions. So make sure you have your membership card when disaster strikes. Charles Krupa/AP Images

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Sam’s Club would also make for an ideal place to scavenge after the collapse of civilization, as the chain carries massive, years-long supplies of food.

Sam's Club would also make for an ideal place to scavenge after the collapse of civilization, as the chain carries massive, years-long supplies of food.
Getty Images

Source: Business Insider

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And the same goes for the warehouse chain BJ’s, which also stocks plenty of crucial supplies and emergency food kits.

And the same goes for the warehouse chain BJ's, which also stocks plenty of crucial supplies and emergency food kits. Josh Reynolds/AP Images for BJ’s Wholesale Club

Source: Business Insider

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If violence reigns in the streets after civilization crumbles, keep in mind that Walmart stocks both food items and, in some states, firearms.

If violence reigns in the streets after civilization crumbles, keep in mind that Walmart stocks both food items and, in some states, firearms. Lisa Poole / AP Images

Source: NPR

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Target also boasts a number of survival and navigation supplies in its stores.

Target also boasts a number of survival and navigation supplies in its stores. Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

Source: Target

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Ramey recommended that survivors “hit supermarkets” in the wake of an emergency. At Kroger, you can even cart off first aid kits and freeze-dried options.

Ramey recommended that survivors AP Images / LM Otero

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Ramey also added that survivors should use grocery expeditions as an opportunity to “grab calorie-dense food” at places like Safeway …

Ramey also added that survivors should use grocery expeditions as an opportunity to Aranami/Flickr

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… or Albertsons …

... or Albertsons ... AP Photo/Paul Sakuma

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… or “non-sugary” drinks at a chain like Publix.

... or Chelsea Greenwood/Business Insider

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But before you go to an organic grocer like Whole Foods, remember that organic foods likely spoil faster than foods pumped with preservatives. This might not normally be a big deal, but if you’re attempting to build up a post-apocalyptic stash, it’s something to keep in mind.

But before you go to an organic grocer like Whole Foods, remember that organic foods likely spoil faster than foods pumped with preservatives. This might not normally be a big deal, but if you're attempting to build up a post-apocalyptic stash, it's something to keep in mind.