Businesses Cash in on Doomsday

The prophesied end of the world is just around the corner, and businesses all over the world are taking full advantage of the panic surrounding doomsday. While some people are building underground bunkers, booking rooms in luxury doomsday condos, and even hiding out in caves, still more are stocking up on doomsday supplies and even ordering their own arks.

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Chinese businesses in particular are using the plot points from the movie "2012" to bring in new customers. Among the more expensive end of times items up for sale are doomsday arks, designed and built by 32-year-old entrepreneur Yang Zongfu, who started the craze by building his own vessel in which to ride out the inevitable apocalypse. Taking to the water is a somewhat derivative method of surviving doomsday, as it borrows from the Biblical tale of Noah and his own divinely inspired ark, but it is also a creative spin. Yang believes that an ark on water is more likely to protect its inhabitants than a bunker or shelter.

Of course, China is not the only country where entrepreneurs and business owners are capitalizing on various doomsday scenarios. ABC News reports that gun sales have spiked considerably over the course of 2012, and that at least part of the reason lies with fears of the apocalypse. And, of course, many business owners have made hundreds of thousands of dollars selling doomsday bunkers that range from the primitive and rustic to the luxurious and swanky.

Whether they are setting sail in an ark, building an arsenal, or investing in a luxury doomsday condo, people want to meet the end of the world in style. After all, what would be the point in surviving the end of the world if you didn't have access to a library full of reading material, an Olympic size swimming pool, and modern conveniences like running water and electricity?

Retail giants are also profiting from sales related to doomsday. According to The Motley Fool, companies like Costco and Wal-Mart are selling "prepper" merchandise, such as bundles of supplies designed to last anywhere from 11 days to one year. People from all over the world are filling their homes and bunkers with everything from dishwashing detergent to toilet paper, and many of them are taking advantage of bulk retailers like Costco and Sam's Club because they get a discount on larger purchases.

Certain appliances and tools have also seen an uptick in sales. People worried about the end of the world are buying water purifying devices, camping stoves, electricity generators, and more. Freeze-dried foods and other non-perishables are in heavy demand by the so-called "preppers" who believe there will not be reliable food sources in the world after December 2012.