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Cup Noodles and the true, devastating price of convenience

“Cup Noodles are a beautiful thing. We can add some hot water to this thing in a styrofoam cup and have half a meal ready in five minutes. That kind of food technology was once thought to be reserved solely for astronauts orbiting the earth, with very little space or access to water. Now we can walk into a 7-Eleven and pick up 12 of those bad boys for like, $10.”

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By Martin Castro (The Cascade) – Email

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Cup Noodles are a beautiful thing. We can add some hot water to this thing in a styrofoam cup and have half a meal ready in five minutes. That kind of food technology was once thought to be reserved solely for astronauts orbiting the earth, with very little space or access to water. Now we can walk into a 7-Eleven and pick up 12 of those bad boys for like, $10.

As a matter of fact, I looked up Cup Noodles to double check their price at 7-Eleven, and apparently you don’t even have to leave your house to get your hands on food anymore. That’s right! You can buy a 12-pack of chicken-flavoured Nissin Cup Noodles for $9.55 from Amazon and have it delivered to your front door in 8-12 business days.

What a time to be alive! Everything really is at our fingertips.

Everything is just a button or keystroke away. You have to love it. One button here, and you’ve got yourself a whole new wardrobe; another button, and you’ve downloaded all of Margaret Atwood’s life’s work onto your Kindle.

And then, in a secret military complex housed deep in an unmapped mountain range, a security guard named Earl puts down his iPad (not his Kindle. Earl is a steadfast Apple consumer, and we all know brand disloyalty is treason) and reaches for his Cup Noodles. Earl’s kind of annoyed.

Seriously, who has five minutes to wait around for noodles? he thinks, leaning out of his chair. And just as he’s grabbed his hot, noodly prize, an alarm goes off. Earl looks down in horror; he’s pressed his iPad to the “Fire Missile” button. And this is how the world ends.

Electricity is no longer a thing, houses lose their heating, our iPads run out of power and we have no way of charging them back up, wi-fi is a thing of the past. People wander out of their tanning beds and outside dazed, unaccustomed to actual sunlight.

Down the street, in the supermarket, Debora, Earl’s wife, is desperately trying to find one more $5 bill in her purse. The ATMs are down, the debit / credit system is broken, there’s no electricity, and stores only take cash. And so after minutes of ravaging through her purse, Debora scrounges up two fivers and a ten to pay for groceries.

But five days later Debora is near death, because as she prepared to heat her Cup Noodles, she realized nobody in her neighborhood had actual kettles, only electric ones. And everyone’s got electric stoves.

And on the off chance somebody gets a fire going, what are we going to do? Nobody can cook. I don’t know how to hunt a deer, or gut it, or cook it. Neither does Earl, or Debora.

And there’s only so many Cup Noodles.

And so, on the 27th day of the apocalypse Debora and Earl realize they can’t even start a fire, because they have no cash, only credit cards. They can’t even use the pages of books for kindling, because all their books are on Kindles.

“I know they said the print industry was going out of business,” says Earl, “but all of Ray Bradbury’s life’s work was on sale for $29.99, and I didn’t really want to wait for them to ship here.”

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