Nearly nine years ago, I wrote a post detailing what I’d do if I were the last person on planet. Usually in these scenarios I’m also dealing with the undead or zombies but in this case, it’s just me, nature, and the rest of what’s left of the world. My previous post mentioned how I thought the lack of electricity would be a huge problem in such a scenario. In the almost nine years since I wrote that, I don’t disagree that having no electricity would be a bummer but I’ve come up with another problem: the issue of expiry dates for almost everything.
The most obvious things that expire are fresh foods. In such a world, all the fruit, vegetables, and meat in a supermarket would go bad in just days. One could argue you could just grow more fruits and vegetables, and also raise new cattle. There are other things that expire, however, which aren’t as easy to replace. Medicines and other remedies all have expiry dates. Even if I were able to survive half a decade, by that time, many items that you’d find in a drug store would be past or approaching their expiry dates. Now the question is, do these dates actually matter? Luckily, most of them don’t to some degree. In some cases they do matter though. I’ve purchased anti-acid soft chews which are good for treating heart burn. They come out of the package soft as taffy and are easy to chew. I didn’t use the whole package and a few of them were still lying around well past their expiry date. The chews had hardened inside their package over time to the point they were hard as bricks. There was no way to even chew them anymore.
While some drugs can be safely and effectively used past their expiry date, that won’t be the case for most foods. I mentioned fruits, vegetables, and meat but what about manufactured foods like cookies, crackers, protein bars, chocolate, and chips? We all know these dates do matter in most cases. I wouldn’t eat a box of cookies that five years past its expiry date. I’ve seen and felt a protein bar that was a year beyond its consume by date. It was also rock hard. While one could grow more fruits and vegetables, you can’t grow more cookies or chocolate. I guess I could try baking my own cookies but what if the flour has expired by then? Will I know how to start up the Oreo factory by myself?
Another important item that has an expiry date are batteries. Everyone knows those dates just aren’t for show. Batteries do indeed lose their change even just sitting in their package. Portable power in such a world would be absolutely necessary. When batteries start dying out, I’d be in a lot of trouble. I know some of you are thinking about re-chargeable batteries but what if electricity has been cut off in the world? How would you charge your batteries then?
The last man on earth scenario sure is an interesting one.