ZYTARUK: Salt-hoarding hordes signal trouble ahead

Sodium chloride is necessary to sustain human life. But road salt? Not so much. You'd think they were giving away diamonds.

Salt-hoarding hordes an assault on sensibilities

Salt-hoarding hordes an assault on sensibilities

So let it be written…


Canadians. Supposedly polite to a fault, and generous to all kinds of refugees from all kinds of places.

But just someone call out, “Free Salt!” and all bets are off.

Did you know that soldiers in ancient Rome were actually paid in salt?

That’s where the saying “worth one’s salt” comes from.

It means to be worth one’s pay.

But the modern-day gladiators who did battle outside Vancouver fire halls this week for free, un-earned salt?

Their shockingly selfish behaviour proved worthy of tears.

Sure, sodium chloride is necessary to sustain human life. But road salt? Not so much.

The City of Vancouver clearly underestimated the greed and stupidity of its residents when it offered free road salt, at two buckets each, to help people clear their sidewalks and driveways of snow.

You’d think they were giving away diamonds. Within an hour, the supply ran out, more had to be delivered and the two-bucket bargain was reduced to one.

Idiots began hogging the supply; one guy tried to load up a pick-up truck. Snot and tears followed, with angry red faces and mean words getting exchanged. Police were called in to babysit crowds at three of the ten fire halls. One firefighter called it a “salt-apocalypse.”

This spell of snow we’ve had, while a nuisance, is not apocalyptic by any stretch. But a massive earthquake, like scientists have been warning us about for years now, could well be.

If there’s this kind of banal run on free road salt, which let’s face it, is merely a convenient commodity to those who prefer not to shovel, imagine the chaos that will erupt when people begin fighting for food, or medicine?

So this is the world we live in. At least, the world Vancouverites live in.

Surrey has not yet experienced its own Salt Warz, for the simple fact city hall hasn’t given any away. Rather, it’s also been hoarding the white stuff, to fight the white stuff. Rob Constanzo, the City of Surrey’s manager of engineering operations, said there’s a shortage of road salt in the region with more deliveries not expected until late January. “Every grain of salt counts,” he says.

Strange, considering we live next to an ocean…

Those who fought over road salt this winter will be the same people pushing babies aside to grab all the food and medicine for themselves after the big one hits. It’s a terrible character flaw.

People who fight for road salt now will no doubt be prepared to do their worst after a real disaster strikes. They’d do the rest of us a favour by jumping into that salty ocean and taking a few gulps.

Not that I want them to come to harm, but c’mon. Grow some self control, eh.


So let it be done.