Telltale Autumn Sale

Taking Food: a Moral and Positive Act

I found it interesting, how some folks have just assumed that taking the food from the unoccupied vehicle in Episode 2: Starved for Help was wrong. They may have taken it anyway, but no one seemed to want to argue that in fact taking the food was morally right.

I took the food, and what taking the food does is teach Clementine a utilitarian viewpoint that's absolutely essential to learn in the zombie apocalypse. It's also a positive act in that it makes optimal use of a resource that has been very scarce to at least some folks walking the ZA,

There are three likely outcomes wrt the car and the food in it:

1) You leave it alone, continue on without it, and
a) its owners return at some point and eat the food
b) its owners never return and the food spoils

2) You take the food and eat it.

The result of 2) is superior to the cumulative result of 1) because, with 2), the food never goes to waste.

It's not even the case where by choosing 2) you're implying that you're more important than the owners of the car. It's simply by choosing 2), you're ensuring that valuable food does not go to waste.

And that doesn't even take into account the likelihood that the car owners are beyond aid and won't return. After all, under what circumstances would you leave a vehicle open and unlocked like that? The chances that the food inside would spoil are good.

Finally, there's another scenario in which not taking the food is a genuine mistake, namely: it's value to you is enormous. The value to its owners, if they're even alive and still in the area, may be comparatively insignificant. The food may have been only a modest part of their total supplies, an amount they won't inordinately miss, whereas you are certain of it's substantial, even critical value to you and your group. In short, this food cannot be of greater value to the owners of the vehicle than it is to you.

In contrast to what I've seen written elsewhere, by taking the food you've taught Clementine a valuable, positive, moral lesson that will go some way towards increasing the chances of her survival. Later that evening you will, of course, sit down with her and explain the choices and outcomes wrt the car. You'll also be clear with her that if the owners of the car had been present you would not have done more than ask for some of their food.

I'm morally certain that simply leaving the car and its contents alone and taking the good chance that the food will spoil is a profoundly foolish act.
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Comments

  • edited September 2012
    you shouldn't waste food (any parents advice) and in the zombie apocalypse unattended food is potential wasted food, i felt like it was a good lesson for Clementine, by telling her the world has changed and that she should take supplies when she can get them
  • edited September 2012
    Morals ≠ pragmatism. It is morally wrong to steal. In the car situation, it would have been pragmatic to take the food.
  • edited September 2012
    It's only stealing if you get caught....
  • edited September 2012
    Awesoke wrote: »
    Morals ≠ pragmatism. It is morally wrong to steal. In the car situation, it would have been pragmatic to take the food.

    as far as i am aware they didn't steal anything, you cant steal something that nobody owns
  • edited September 2012
    I figured there was nothing wrong with taking the food. In fact, I said to my fiancée who was sitting beside me, "It has to be done, I've got to take the food, I can't let it go to waste."

    In a ZA it's survival of the fittest. We already know we were low on rations, and the last meal got rudely interrupted. Leaving the food in car to me would have been signing your own death warrant by making our party weaker than it already is.

    If the previous owners did happen to come back to the vehicle, you have taught them a very valuable lesson. One that they surely will not repeat.
  • edited September 2012
    Make 10 people fast for three days prior to playing the game, I'm willing to bet 100% take the food.
  • edited September 2012
    I think that's a safe bet.
  • edited September 2012
    as far as i am aware they didn't steal anything, you cant steal something that nobody owns

    The food didn't magically appear. Someone owned that car and food.

    It's smart to take the food but it doesn't make it right.
  • edited September 2012
    the reality was that they needed it. it doesn't have to be right. Survival above all else :D
  • edited September 2012
    You got that right.

    Besides, who runs off and leaves a well stocked vehicle?

    My guess is they became fast food for zombies.
  • edited September 2012
    Plus the world has gone to hell. Morals don't really exist anymore. No Laws either :D
  • edited September 2012
    There's a fine line when it comes to "survival above all else." If we don't acknowledge the fact that we're stealing when we take the food, what separates us from the bandits?

    Like I said, it's the smart thing to do (humans can live without food for months, water is much more important) but it's morally wrong. I'm trying to figure out if the OP has morals and pragmatism mixed up.
  • edited September 2012
    Awesoke wrote: »
    There's a fine line when it comes to "survival above all else." If we don't acknowledge the fact that we're stealing when we take the food, what separates us from the bandits?

    Like I said, it's the smart thing to do (humans can live without food for months, water is much more important) but it's morally wrong. I'm trying to figure out if the OP has morals and pragmatism mixed up.

    What separates us from the Bandits? We didn't kill anyone to get the food (Thats exactly what my Lee said)
  • edited September 2012
    Stealing: Taking from an obvious owner.

    Finding: Taking something that appears abandoned.
  • edited September 2012
    It's not as black and white as you all make it seem.

    Whatever though. That's how I'm interpreting things.
  • edited September 2012
    its pretty black and white too me :p

    The car was just sitting there with no indication of where its owners were. So your survival instinct kicks in and you take the stuff
  • edited September 2012
    How is it not black and white?

    No one was there.

    There was no sign of a struggle, and no one responded to their approach or their appropriation of the items.

    They found the vehicle, abandoned, at night. Whoever owned it was long gone or was dead.

    Forest - Zombies - Night... not a good combo.
  • edited September 2012
    im wondering if all these decisions are gonna come back and bite me in the ass in Episode 4? lol
  • edited September 2012
    DreadMagus wrote: »
    How is it not black and white?

    No one was there.

    There was no sign of a struggle, and no one responded to their approach or their appropriation of the items.

    They found the vehicle, abandoned, at night. Whoever owned it was long gone or was dead.

    Forest - Zombies - Night... not a good combo.

    I'm not trying to change your opinion but for argument's sake - how is it not black and white?

    How about the fact it was an actual decision we had to make in the game. The decisions in the game are meant to evoke a response from you whether it be an ethical or emotional choice. If it was black and white, they wouldn't have put it in the game, or they would just show the cinematic of them getting food from the vehicle without our input.
  • edited September 2012
    I don't think it's black and white, either. The owners could've been around, hiding from us. We were armed, bitter and a large group. The fact that they weren't there doesn't allow us to steal it without repercussions.
    I stole it because we were all hungry and the group needed the food if we were to survive a little longer as a unified team. Had we stayed hungry, we would've fallen apart long before ep. 3.
    Still, stealing the food was wrong and I know it might come and bite me later in the game.
  • edited September 2012
    Stealing would be fine in a ZA and morally could be acceptable.
    But since Duck heard the car and the lights were still burning and the door open it looked like they just left the car a minute ago, maybe looking for a place to stay and then return afterwards to get all their stuff. In that case you would have screwed them over hard.

    And even more so, they had a kidssized Hoodie meaning it might be possible they might have a kid themselves in the age of Clementine.

    I stole it but I can see why people wouldn't. In a real scenario people who choose to not take the supplies would never survive a zombie apocalypse.
  • edited September 2012
    Awesoke wrote: »
    There's a fine line when it comes to "survival above all else." If we don't acknowledge the fact that we're stealing when we take the food, what separates us from the bandits?

    Like I said, it's the smart thing to do (humans can live without food for months, water is much more important) but it's morally wrong. I'm trying to figure out if the OP has morals and pragmatism mixed up.
    What you still haven't addressed is the plain fact that we don't know whether taking the food is stealing. If the people driving the car stole the food, is it stealing to take it from them? In addition, if the people who were driving the car are now dead, the food has no owners, therefore when we take the food, surely we're not stealing it. Further, the group has been on a starvation diet for a while (a fraction of an apple for a meal). You can survive without food "for months" only with excellent medical care. In a matter of days your strength is way down, your reflexes are shot, your judgment becomes poor, you're generally disoriented. Going without food for even a few days in the ZA significantly increases your chances of dying.

    You haven't addressed any of the interesting issues, and are sticking to a simplification the terms of which (does the food even have an owner? for instance) you haven't even been able to establish.

    Another interesting issue is along the lines of, "Even if taking the food constitutes stealing, don't you have an immediate and much greater moral responsibility to the child in your care to ensure she doesn't starve to death?" Also, aren't you obliged to keep her strength up, for her sake, at least?

    It's just way, way too easy (and flat out incorrect in some scenarios) to call taking the food "stealing", and there are scenarios where even if taking the food is stealing that stealing is the more moral, even the most moral, of the choices available to you.

    There are also scenarios where it's flat out immoral not to feed the child in your care. This is much more interesting than you are making it out to be.
  • edited September 2012
    as far as i am aware they didn't steal anything, you cant steal something that nobody owns

    haha, what about the car they were inside, Im sure whoever owned that previously put them in there
    but in a ZA, if you leave your stuff unattended, well, thats on you.

    (in the comics there's an exact scenario like this one, except they found the owner of the car hanged himself)

    But no matter the scenario, my group needs supplies and no one is around to claim these so...dig in.
  • edited September 2012
    I'm still not seeing how it's "stealing" though.

    They're three months into a ZA - it's canned goods and store food.

    Most likely, hell I'd be willing to bet on it even, whoever "previously handled the goods" looted them like any other survivor.
  • edited September 2012
    i believe the saying goes "Finders keepers, Losers weepers" :p

    In a ZA this is especially true
  • edited September 2012
    Amen to that. :D
  • edited September 2012
    alot of people are taking today's values and applying them to a ZA world (imo), which is why I must seem like the most soulless bastard in here, but I'm just being pragmatic
    When in Rome and all that
  • edited September 2012
    DreadMagus wrote: »
    It's only stealing if you get caught....

    Good point.
  • edited September 2012
    I'm thinking most people (like myself) didn't take it because of Clementine standing up to everyone in the group? And also because I killed Danny out of anger, and it was something I regretted she had to see. And as my favorite youtuber said when he also didn't take the food: "I already have too much blood on my hands". This is something I like to see, people's different points of view on things =]
  • edited September 2012
    You call it stealing, I call it salvaging. There's a world of grey between black and white when surviving and ideals are luxuries they couldn't afford.

    I still think those supplies and that Clem-sized hoodie were brought there by Jolene and I saw nothing in episode 3 to prove otherwise.
  • edited September 2012
    Oh wow, I hadn't thought about that.

    I had thought the food was a lame plot device... but, with that idea in mind, and her desire to protect Clem.. and it's proximity to the farm and the fact the light was still working...

    That makes perfect sense.
  • edited September 2012
    Maybe am a little bit off topic but do you think the guy talking in the talkie walkie in the last sequence of episode 3 is the owner of the car?
  • edited September 2012
    Djewom wrote: »
    Maybe am a little bit off topic but do you think the guy talking in the talkie walkie in the last sequence of episode 3 is the owner of the car?

    Not impossible, but I don't think he is. I think that guy has been in Savannah all along.
  • edited September 2012
    Djewom wrote: »
    Maybe am a little bit off topic but do you think the guy talking in the talkie walkie in the last sequence of episode 3 is the owner of the car?

    haha, can you imagine?

    'You MFers!!! Im cold and hungry!!! When I find you I'ma KEEEL you all!!"
  • edited September 2012
    I didn't take it because it bothered Clementine, not because I thought it was wrong. Everyone is trying to adapt to the new world. As a child, Clementine is adapting ok, but for some reason, this set her off. She needed to believe that prohibitions against stealing still exist. Since trust is the most important thing in TWD, I didn't want her to lose faith in Lee, so I left the supplies to show her that whatever happened, Lee would back her up. Maybe that was a mistake and Lee should have taught her that the world changed.

    In the future, when the situation is more dire or Clementine is more ready, I hope Lee will explain to her that it's not stealing. Stealing in the old world was taking anything that wasn't yours. Stealing in the new world is only taking stuff when you are pretty sure the owners are still alive. If they aren't nearby, then they're probably dead, so it's not stealing to take the supplies.

    I thought it would be neat if everyone put hourglasses (or something similar) next to their supplies. If the hourglass was still ticking, then (unless you knew the owner was dead or had permission), leave the stuff. If the hourglass is empty, then it's fair game.
  • edited September 2012
    I left the supplies because taking it, stealing or not, would have been killing the previous owner(s) if they were still alive. I killed Larry, Danny, Jolene, and beat Andy within an inch of his life before leaving him for the walkers. I felt that I had too much blood on my hands after leaving there so I left the food as a sort of redemption, or whatever, for my actions. In reality I probably would have taken the stuff and, hell, if given the exact same situation in one of the next two episodes I'd take the stuff without hesitation. After episode 3 I've become so jaded that I've decided to give up on "redemption" and will, instead, focus on surviving.
  • edited September 2012
    Even one is too much - once you start, might as well rack up a body count. ;)
  • edited September 2012
    That's my new philosophy. Gonna cross dat apocalypse finish line with a necklace full of ears danglin' from my neck.
  • edited September 2012
    You can't say anything is "Moral", you can just say by your morals you think this is "Moral".

    I think according to my morals it was bad morals because the occupants could have came back as Lily/Clementine said, first time I agreed with Lily, and by the way, the term "Black and White" is completely wrong in its entirety, there is good in everything. Black and white as in the term isn't impossible but its not likely either--I try to see things as far away from a black and white viewpoint as possible because the only case ive found where that is actually true is with blind murderers/etc, and as with Lily, stress and mental instability.
  • edited September 2012
    DreadMagus wrote: »
    Even one is too much - once you start, might as well rack up a body count. ;)

    Like potato chips?
This discussion has been closed.