This forum deals with the more expensive items that you will rarely want to barter. These include water pumping equipment, power generation equipment, security devices, lighting, and so forth. These items are basic to maintaining something resembling a middle-class lifestyle in the midst of chaos -- well, not exactly in the midst; maybe 100 miles away.
Here you don't want to make a mistake. You don't want to pay too much for what you buy, but it had better still work six months into the year 2000 -- and six years after. Here, experience really counts.
More than any of these forums, this one's for me. I want to find out the things I should buy, and where.
If you can recruit an experienced person to participate in this forum, please spend some extra time to do so. The person you know may be the one to give advice that will literally save lives later.
With these items, expect to pay retail. Some of these products are not widely available. They have thin markets. If demand grows, you may not be able to get delivery. Don't haggle. Buy. A word to the wise is sufficient.
Warning: I have told all of the moderators that I advise against answering too many questions by e-mail. Any question worth asking a moderator is worth posting on the forum.
Of course, if you want to buy a bulk order of something from a moderator at a discount, send that e-mail! Every seller wants to hear from potential buyers. But understand that these moderators serve for free. To ask them to do more than moderate for free is to be overly greedy. Don't be greedy. The post-1999 world must be built on mutually beneficial trade, not a quest for zero-price wealth at the expense of others.