Question Of The Day

How Long Until You'd Die Living Only Off the Food in Your House?

"A day" – person on the street, when we asked them about the possibility of Brexit rations.
17 January 2019, 9:45am
Brexit rations people photographer in 2019
Al, Megha and Daniel, who we all asked about Brexit rations (Images by the author)

The greatest 'will they, won't they' of our times: Brexit! If we assume for just a moment that the great divide is coming, despite all of Theresa May's faffing, it could mean we're stuck in a minor food crisis. As the Guardian found in a feature, some people in the UK are stockpiling goods in case they get stuck without their favourite items when we… do whatever we do about leaving the EU. These fearful folks are in a Facebook group called 48 percent Preppers where they discuss what they're carefully putting away in the case of imminent emergency.

That made us think: if you were without your usual goods in stores, and had to rely on whatever you had in, right this moment, how long would you really last before keeling over dead? And now you've had a bit of a nudge, what are the things you'd want to race out to shops to buy before the rationing starts? We asked people for their survival plans.

Megha, 20


VICE: How long do you think you could survive with the food you already have in your house?
Megha: Two weeks.

Wow, very direct. And not bad. What do you think are the most important things to hoard?
In general, food water, maybe a generator, warm clothes, and a portable heater, batteries and things like that.

If you met someone who was hoarding for Brexit now, would you think they were a little bit crazy?
Yeah, I feel like because the UK is so developed, it’s never going to get to that point where Brexit is going to make Sainsbury's never unavailable, that type of thing. I think it’s too integral to the economy that they wouldn’t let that happen.

Is there anything kind of weird that you specifically would want to hoard?

Isabel, 19


VICE: How long could you survive with the food you already have in your house?
Isabel: Like a week?

Do you think it’s weird to hoard for Brexit?
I mean, I’m from the EU, so if things get really bad I can always just leave the country.

What do you think are the most important things to hoard?
I haven’t really thought about this… canned goods maybe? Things that keep you alive or things that make you happy.

What about you personally, what kind of things could you not live without?
Wall decorations.

I don’t know I just love them. Like a poster, artwork, or a print or something.

Starving but in excellent interiors. Fair enough. Do you know any hoarders?
My dad. He has seven bikes, no more than that. He used to have this vintage store with furniture and he has a fuck-ton of lamps and couches and stuff.

Do you think that’s a little bit crazy?
Yeah, it used to be so bad you couldn’t see the walls because he had so many paintings. Then one day, when I was about eight years old, my mom picked me up after school, and she was like "okay, we’re going to take at least 50 percent of the paintings from the wall." When he came home and he found out, he didn’t speak to her for about a week.

Dan, 21 & Al, 24


VICE: Hey guys, how long could you survive with all the food you already have in your house?
Dan: A day.

One day?? What about you?
Al: A couple of weeks.

How many weeks?
Al: Maybe a month if I really stretched it. My mom’s big on buying in bulk.
Dan: I’ve got three other siblings and they eat all the food.

Ah, right. What do you think are the most important things to hoard?
Dan: Canned items.
Al: Non-perishable foods.

Do you think it’s weird to prep for Brexit?
Al: Yes and no; it depends on what you consider a necessity. If you’re from the European continent and you’re living here, your idea of a necessity is things that make you feel at home. They’re going to be very different to somebody who’s, you know, a traditional British person, if you will. You could argue it either way, I think it’s a matter of perspective, prepping for Brexit.
Dan: I think you need to prep for Brexit. The fact that it’s going to change everyone’s lifestyle, even if you’re not from the union. We need to prep because I’m quite interested to see how laws and different things will change. How ordering online from a different company will change. Even traveling, the way that other countries will treat the UK, visa requirements and all that.

You've got to hoard something. What would you need?
Dan: It’s not weird, but I’d need my Bible.
Al: That’s a tough one, a good tracksuit probably. They're comfortable.

Daniel, 27


VICE: How long could you survive with the food you already have in your house?
Daniel: How am I eating this food? If I’m rationing it, then about four or five days.

What do you think are the most important things to hoard?
Books. It depends on my situation though.

You can't eat books b– never mind. Do you think it’s odd that some people out there are prepping and hoarding for Brexit?
Yeah, really weird. Firstly, Theresa May's deal got rejected this week. It’s a possibility of a no Brexit anyway, if we’re going to have a second referendum. Secondly, nothing is going to change for the everyday man in my opinion. Obviously, some trading laws are going to change, but as far as for us, food shortages sound ridiculous.

Let’s say there were shortages on things and you were stocking up on stuff, what’s your choice?
Peanut Butter. I love peanut butter. I always think about clothing, like warm clothing maybe. If something apocalyptic were to happen in the future, then I’d like to have warm clothing, so that when I go outside I’m not cold.

Katherine, 21 & Ellie, 19


VICE: So, you two, imagine the scene: the end is coming. The government is about to start rationing butter and eggs and milk. How long could you survive on what's in your house right now – as in, everything in it?
Katherine: A month maybe.
Ellie: Two weeks.

What are the most important things to hoard?
Katharine: Canned food.
Ellie: Toilet paper.

Let’s say there was a zombie apocalypse and everyone was hoarding; what would you choose to hoard, even if it might seem like a weird one?
Ellie: Medicine, but that’s not that weird.
Katharine: Well, if it’s the end of the world, I would choose like chocolate, pastries...
Ellie: I wouldn’t be able to! Maybe the end of the world isn’t that great for veganism.

Vegan donuts might be your way forward. Anyway do you guys think it’s excessive that people are stocking up and preparing for Brexit?
Ellie: No. It’s a fucking disaster. We’re all going to die, I can understand why people are stocking up. Apparently, it’s going to effect the import of vegan foods, which is a fucking nightmare. Apparently like American or European meat alternatives will be affected. I can understand any kind of fear or reaction to Brexit out of fear, because it’s going to be a fucking disaster.

Do you think it’ll affect vegans negatively then?
Ellie: Um, maybe not, vegans who live on whole foods. But for vegans who rely on meat alternatives it could. It could mean that fewer people decide to go vegan, because there aren’t those transitionary options of meat free food.