Episode 296: Shopping

Zombie Cliche Lookout: One Stop

If you mention zombies in front of a group of guys who are between the ages of twelve and twenty-eight or so, odds are you’ll get a load of ideas for zombie survival. Mention fighting and you’re get loads of ideas about guns, katanas, molotov cocktails. Mention travel and you’ll hear all about motorcycles, mountain bikes, and maybe an RV. But talk about food, water, first aid, and batteries, and the discussion turns right to WalMart or Costco. If I had to guess, I’d say this notion has a lot to do with Dawn of the Dead, both the original and the remake. Things worked out pretty well for all those guys (you know, in the short term), so it seems like a pretty good idea, right?

Reality, as it is wont to do, has other ideas.

Perhaps the biggest flaw in the “When the zombies show up, I’m bugging out to Costco” plan is that a hell of a lot of people tend to come up with the same idea. Want proof? Just wait until the next huge storm is about to hit and start watching the news. You won’t wait too long before you start seeing all sorts of stories about empty shelves, fights breaking out over the last D-cell batteries, or shop owners threatening to shoot looters on sight (you know, once you get past the celebrity gossip and sports).

About this Episode:

One thing that makes LEGO® a really fun medium to work with is that the scale is just not quite right. Take a look at the coffee cup Russell is drinking from, for instance. It’s as big as his head.

I like putting coffee cups and whatnot in characters’ hands because it makes them look more like real people. While everyone is talking, they’ll take the occasional sip, or fiddle around with whatever they have. The goofy scale just makes me smile.

Discussion Question: Looting

Looting is a curious thing in a survival situation. If it’s a life or death thing, and stealing a bottle or water or a can of soup is going to keep you going, well, it’s hard to argue against. But where do you draw the line? Imagine you’re somehow left with no supplies, but you happen upon a sleeping family who carelessly left a full backpack unguarded for the night. Swiping it might help you make it through, but then again, it might just doom the rightful owners. Can you justify it?



The end justifies the means- Nicholas Machiavelli. That is my answer. Also negotiation is always an option if they seem friendly enough.


It all depends on which side of the muzzle you are. Oh, and the numbers too. Are they many and am I alone, or am I with one or two more people? That could possibly help.


So you’re saying you’d join a gang of marauders to keep your belly full?

Just remember that if your food storage consists of your AK47 and your neighbor’s food storage, your neighbor might have an AK47 and a friend with an AK47.

It’s hard to eat when you’re dead, you know?


That discussion question is a no-brainer: Simply wake the family up, and ask nicely for some of their supplies. With a smile and a friendly attitude chances are you’re more than likely to get enough of the contents of the backpack to give you a day or two’s worth of survival, if you’re really lucky or look like you really could use it you could end up with a week’s worth of supplies.

Stealing is stealing even in a zombie apocalypse.

The only problem then is whether that family has become zombies and is no longer in need of those supplies. Still I would recommend only to take what will give you two day’s worth of supplies and leave the rest, you never know if anyone else is going to stumble across that backpack and leaving them something useful could save their lives in turn.


Waking the family and asking is definitely a possibility, although it poses further risks. What happens if someone freaks out when they see you in their camp? Near their kids?


Well, if they’re like Clark, the first thing they’ll want to know is if you’re infected. Because if they’ve been in a zombie apocalypse for any length of time they’ll know what a zombie is and why they should avoid contact with it.

Second, there’s a high probability they’ll probably be quite pleased to meet someone who’s not out to kill them or scare them to death. If nothing else, they’ll probably at least give directions to where supplies could be found.

By the way, how many parents do you know who’d want to scare their kids with a shot in the middle of the night? My guess would be if they’re sensible, not many. Maybe there are crazy parents, but it’d have to be a risk you’d be taking even just moving on through the darkness, so would therefore be a risk one’s weighing up anyway. One can’t stop for too long at night in case a zombie comes up behind you.


There is one question that would really be worth answering in a zombie apocalypse, perhaps Dave could consider it for the next discussion question:

Clothing, something we normally take for granted, but what happens if the zombie apocalypse is moving too fast for you to stop and change clothes? Would the need to change outfits bother you? Would having to scavenge for wearable clothes be high or low on your priority list? Would finding an operable washing machine be important to you for laundry or would you be able to withstand pounding away at laundry on a rocky river’s edge?

Foolish Lego

I would to say I’d wake them up and ask…. or negotiate or whatever is the noble thing to do…

Truth is though, that I really don’t know what I’ll do… I don’t know how I’ll be when my real survival instincts emerge… maybe I tried to negotiate and didn’t get anything or my question for food got answered by a gun in my face…. and maybe I’ll just be one hell of an *ssh*le. I hope not…


“maybe I tried to negotiate and didn’t get anything or my question for food got answered by a gun in my face…”

I think this is the likely outcome from negotiating or asking nicely. Unless you have something pretty damn compelling to trade, what parent is going to give away food from their kids’ mouths?


Would probably wake them up and ask, or just take like a small bottle of water. I don’t know, it’ll have to wait ’till the zombie apocalypse

legomaster 3700

Oh shopping one of the hardest things to do during the apocolypse and hardships of everyday life.


This is a topic about which I have strong feelings. While other folks have been been buying boats or taking vacations, we’ve been getting educated and gathering supplies. For instance, my wife and I spent our first tax refund on long-term food storage. We had foresight and prudence to purchase staples that will last, instead of spending the money on frivolous items of no worth in a breakdown.

For that reason, and others, looting turns my stomach. In nineteenth century America, stealing horses was a capitol offense. Why hang folks for stealing horses? Without a horse, a man could die before reaching water or shelter. In a WCS, that MRE might make the difference between life and death.

In summary, don’t steal. Get your own supplies right now. First, I and many others will use lethal force to protect our supplies. Yes, I will kill to protect my family. I am trained and prepared. Finally, let me pose a question in reply: What does it profit a man to gain the whole world, only to lose his own soul? Better to die as a human than to live as an animal.


“better die as human than to live as an animal”, this may be very true and noble but I’m afraid many people already live like animals today so there is no hope in seeing things improve in an apocalyptic scenario (yeah, I more of the half empty glass kind).


Heyyyy… what happened to the white frames around the pictures?
And why is Russel trying to hide himself behind his coffee mug?
Yeah, sorry Dave, I felt like asking dumb questions today…

Silver Fox

Shouldn’t the more important question be, would they still have any supplies?

legomaster 3700

Looting not cool even for last options for death I would rather kill some zombies in a supermarket full of food than steal from someone who in the near future could be a possible aly


I too love the casual action; it makes the scenes vert dynamic. Awesome comic book artist, Alex Ross, did a futuristic series for DC Comics called Kingdom Come. He did all kind of secondary, unspoken plot lines with just the backgrounds. You actually go back time and again to see what was going on “elsewhere.” So the cup think & the character tinkering in the background really enriches the sooty.


I’d like to think I am prepared enough that I wont have to resort to even thinking about looting/stealing.

However I might find myself in a situation where my prepared stuff may have been destroyed, or I have lost an item or two, whatever, and thats when I would negotiate… I’d wake the family from a safe distance (ie behind a solid object) and have a chat with them. Who knows…. maybe they have heaps of food and no water, so I could help them with that.

As has been said above… who knows how we will all act… initially I think most people would keep some semblance of moral code… but eventually when things get desperate, and our basic survival instincts will kick in. Survival of the fittest and all that jazz. And… at the end of the day… we are just a creature on this planet, we just happen to be top of the food chain at the moment because we have got big clever brains and can turn a rock or a stick into a weapon.

Heh, zombies would probably overtake us at the top of the food chain, we become prey… I think it is Max Brooks that describes/explores this idea in World War Z.


I am. And I will reply in kind. I will not tolerate thievery, especially strong-armed. I would likely hang them as shoot them.

To looters in general I say, if you’re gonna come, come heavy.


If it comes down to a point where I have to loot? If there are no other possibilities even with all the natural eating I’ve been taught, the trapping skills I have been learning, or even fishing that should of occupied good parts of some of my days.
If I had to take some food to survive? I’d take one can of food, and even that might be just a small thing of potted meat. I’d leave them something of greater value and a note. I know that I would make them feel as if they have been violated, but I want to soften the blow as much as possible.

The first survival skill all humans learn is at the age of 3, and that is stealing. I wouldn’t compare a thief to an animal just out of pure understanding of human evolution. To be honest though humans were first bred to eat just about everything they came across, and look at us now. We are still alive, and if gets so bad people -HAVE- to steal then the world is most likely on fire. Let’s hope the weakest you’ll ever find me is in a field full of berries with a stuffed belly snoring it up.


I’m not going to steal from someone I know is in possession. Post-apocalyptic, if there’s an abandoned store? Fair game. But breaking into a place where there are still people? Hell no.

I’m determined to be one of the good guys. And that means not stealing from people who can still use the stuff, not cheating, lying, or killing… except zombies. Killing zombies is fine.


To me this all begs a different question. How many survivors will there be? We arent talking about a civil collapse or a natural disaster here. In a situation like the ZA how many people who are caught unarmed and away from home can be expected to survive more then the first day or so. Personally I think that a 90% mortality rate is a little on the conservative side. If Im right about that then avoiding the zeds will be a much larger problem then finding supplies. Sure, sombody may beat you to Walmart or Home Depot, but there will most likely be lots of places to grab enough food and gear to sustain you until you can set up shop someplace. Don’t get me wrong, I have food, ammo and fuel stashed in my bug out location, but that is for more realistic situations. I have no guarantee that I will be able to reach ANY specific locale once the streets are clogged with zeds and food stashed anywhere might become unreachable.


Yeah, I am not sure. I think that a real-life zombie outbreak would be over by dinner, especially if it’s the Romero type, with the dead clawing their way out of the ground. I mean, if it’s shambling, rotting corpses, yeah, just call out the posse: a ten dollar bounty and no limit. If it’s plague zombies that look like sick people, it may take a few minutes for the word to spread. It wouldn’t be long before Facebook and Twitter was reporting the outbreak, where they were, and how to take them down.

I think zombies work as movie monsters because the protagonists are usually about as dumb as they are; so they’re on equal intellectual footing.


I agree on the fact that in a real infection, humanity would win much more easily. But what if it spreads in countries that have no clear/caring/competent government? They would be doomed. And it would take a lot of convincing for the others to do anything but quarantine it.


And in an infection, I’d probably be the looter. i have no preparations whatsoever, and no one in my family has a gun. We do have a ton of supplies (six people need a huge pantry) and baseball bats, though. I hope that the power doesn’y go out, either, because half of our food is refrigerated.

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