March 23, 2015 in Editorial
This week is the Walking Dead finale, which means that a whole load of people are reviewing their zombie defense plans. We tried to make ours a little simpler, by saying that instead of buying things now (e.g. silencers, which look a little suspicious) we could just trade for them with other survivors when the dead are walking. But this got us wondering; how does pricing work in the apocalypse?
The price of things doesn’t necessarily relate to how useful they are. Today for example, water isn’t very expensive. Compared to fine art it costs basically nothing, because water is abundant and fine art is not, even though water is infinitely more useful. In this case, price is determined by supply.
In the post apocalypse world, ‘supply’ is different. No-one makes anything, and dollars’ main use is as a fire starter. If you want an item, be it food/ a bicycle/ signed picture of Danai Gurira then you have to go house to house looking for one. Or in other words, the amount of ‘supply’ is in fact how long it would take you to find something by going house to house looking for it.
After an apocalypse going into a home is a little complicated. The ‘residents’ are probably still in there, and while they don’t mind you borrowing their stuff, they’d really like you to stay for dinner. If the average household in the USA contains 2.54 people, then for each house that you search you need to drop 2.54 zombies. So we have two (related) ways of pricing an item, either by the number of houses that you need to search to find a good, or the number of zombies between you and your beloved boat/horse/crossbow. Or towel. Every hitchhiker should travel with a towel.
To help you out in an apocalypse, we’ve looked at several useful items, and found out how many of them there are in the USA. From there we’ve worked out on average how many houses you would have to search to find one. This gives you that item’s cost. We’ve even prepared a table in a handy easy-to-print format for when the dead rise. If someone comes along and wants to trade, then you can compare the relative ‘supply’ of the items on offer and come up with a reasonable deal.
For example if someone wants to purchase your crossbow, that cost you 42.96 house searches, and is equivalent to say three power boats and four firearms. They might well point out that before the apocalypse 3 power boats would be worth far more money than a crossbow. And they’d be right. But if they can’t adjust to how the world works when it’s full of the living dead, then you can just wait a few days and collect their stuff at the cost of one zombie.
The Zombie Survival Guide is a bit of an outlier, as to get Brook’s excellent book on how to deal with zombies you first have to kill 311 zombies. Chances are that if you need the book you won’t make it that far; this is definitely the sort of thing to buy before the dead start rising.
Now find out why you should prioritize fuel over food in a zombie apocalypse.
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