Overstock.com, the large online retailer, seems to be taking its company name to heart when it comes to the shaky global economy. The firm has stockpiled some $10 million in gold and silver coins as well as a huge cache of food supplies in the event that the economy collapses. The biggest beneficiaries of this move? Overstock's employees.
CEO Jonathan Johnson (pictured, left) announced the measure during a speech given to the United Precious Metals Association (UPMA) last week.
Johnson, who also happens to be running for governor of Utah, shared his company's somewhat unconventional "insurance plan" at a UPMA gathering in Salt Lake City where the topic was the imminent possibility of a huge economic downturn.
The UPMA is especially active in Utah, where recent legislation allows gold and silver to be used as legal tender in regular commerce. This fits well with the association's commitment to tangible alternatives to paper money as a way to store value and conduct business.
Johnson claims that Overstock has $10 million of bullion safely held outside of the banking system, most of it in "button-sized" coins. It has also stockpiled enough survival food supplies to last its entire staff for 3 months. Both measures are precautionary moves in the event of another financial catastrophe.
“We want to be able to keep our employees paid, safe, and our site up and running during times of financial crisis,” Johnson said. “We’re not big fans of Wall Street and the big banks, and we don’t trust them. We foresaw the financial crisis.”
In case of a bank holiday or financial crisis, Overstock could continue to cover its payroll by paying employees with the small-denomination coins.
One would hope that other companies take notice and consider doing the same—rather than encouraging workers into riskier pension plans and 401(k)s.
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