Read that lede again. “Hurricane Irene sent East Coast shoppers into stores to stock up on essentials this week, instead of the clothes, notebooks and other supplies that retailers were counting on selling as children get ready to go back to school.” This is the broken window fallacy. Rather than buying school supplies, and things families want, people are buying supplies to deal withe the hurricane. This is effectively the example of paying the window maker to make a new window, rather than buying a suit. Rather than buying school supplies, they are buying duck tape and generators.