Sharpening our wits on the grindstone of Life: 20/20 hindsight: MREs, edible .comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Sharpening our wits on the grindstone of Life

Monday, September 26, 2005

20/20 hindsight: MREs, edible

The Houston evacuees from Hurricane Rita may have been polite and patient, but they sure were litterbugs. Once traffic cleared out and it was down to us die-hards left in town, I drove down the service road along the highway - just to remember what it was like (having been denied the privelege for the preceding three days).

It looked like the morning after a Huey Lewis concert. Snack bags, fast food wrappers, styrofoam containers, aluminum cans - you name it. It coated the shoulders of the roadway like a bad case of dandruff.

I have an idea that will help reduce this litter and make it easier to stock hurricane supplies and keep our grocery store shelves relatively stocked during an emergency. Contract out the manufacture and sale of meals, ready to eat (MREs) to Frito Lay, Hershey's, Pepsi, Taco Bell, etc., and sell them on the internet.

To meet MRE standards, they'll have to be compact and complete, with virtually no expiration date. Cost is not a factor, which marketers should love. They won't need refrigeration, won't take up a lot of space in either the cupboard or SUV, and will produce less litter. And with marketing and test groups involved, they might even be palatable. Or at least marketable.

Think about it, you corporate conglomerates who are looking for the next big thing to sweep consumers off their feet. Think about it, you soccer moms and NASCAR dads who had to use half the space in your SUVs to store chips, snacks, crackers and beef jerky, only to find them gone by the time you got 20 miles into your evacuation. You could have achieved the same effect in the size of a suitcase. These things will go like hotcakes (which, unfortunately, don't travel well).

Twinkies last forever anyway, so surely there's a way for them to be shrunk and packaged so they won't get squished. Pringles has the right idea with chips (okay, purists, they're really not chips, but this is an emergency, okay?), if they could just package them in sturdy foil, the packages would crinkle up into an easily recyclable ball, resources could be recycled and reused, and our roadways wouldn't be so junky, even after gazillions of cars parked there for hours.

I know, I'm dreaming. You'd probably throw those little foil balls out the window anyway. Or, during extremely slow, boring evacuations, at the other cars. Hey, but at least your kids would have entertainment.


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