What Would You Do If … Dilemmas In A Zombie Apocalypse: No. 25 – The Hotel Guest’s Dilemma

30 Aug

You’re on holiday on your own when there’s a zombie outbreak in your hotel. According to the local news, the authorities have the hotel sealed off but it will take them several weeks to clear out all the undead which now infest it. You’re safely locked in your hotel room so you’re not in immediate danger, but there’s no food or water in it. There are, however, vending machines in the corridor by the lift which are full of snacks and drinks. Through the spy hole in your door, you can see a lone zombie lurking outside your room and stopping you getting to the supplies. Then you hear a noise and realise there’s someone trapped in the room next door. You start talking through the wall and find out they have nothing to eat or drink either, but between the two of you, you come up with a plan: if you both open your doors at the same time, the zombie will be distracted, giving you the precious seconds you need to kill it, meaning both of you can get to the vending machines. However, there’s a risk that one of you might get injured or even killed, but you agree to the plan as it seems like the only possible solution to your predicament.

You’re in position with your hand on the door when a thought occurs to you. The person in the other room can’t see you, you could just not open your door on the agreed signal. They would open their door, with no choice to distract it, the zombie would rush into their room and attack them. You could then shut the zombie in the next door room and get to the vending machines with absolutely no risk to yourself. Then you realise the other person might be thinking exactly the same thing and it could be you that’ll get attacked if you open the door and they don’t. Yet, if neither of your open the door, there’s a good chance you’ll both starve to death before you can be rescued. You hear the person in the next room start the count down: Three, two, one … What do you do?


As always, this dilemma is just here to make you think, so there’s no right or wrong answer. Vote in the poll to let others know what you do if you were in this situation, and if you want to give a more detailed answer, leave a comment on this posting.

This dilemma is based on the prisoner’s dilemma much love by those who study game theory. The basic premise behind it is that the best option for each of you as an individual is to screw over the other person, yet if you both do this, you’ll both lose out. It all comes down to whether you can trust the other person to do what’s in the best interest of the pair of you as a group, or just for themselves.


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From the author of For Those In Peril On The Sea, a tale of post-apocalyptic survival in a world where zombie-like infected rule the land and all the last few human survivors can do is stay on their boats and try to survive. Now available in print and as a Kindle ebook. Click here or visit www.forthoseinperil.net to find out more. To download a preview of the first three chapters, click here.

To read the Foreword Clarion Review of For Those In Peril On The Sea (where it scored five stars out of five) click here.

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10 Responses to “What Would You Do If … Dilemmas In A Zombie Apocalypse: No. 25 – The Hotel Guest’s Dilemma”

  1. RStorey 31/08/2013 at 04:20 #

    Wow, it’s a pretty tight race for what people would do. I have to keep trust in my fellow living beings. Without hope, I have nothing left.

    • cmdrysdale 31/08/2013 at 11:22 #

      It’s probably a bit closer than I would have expected too, but I guess it depends on peoples’ past experiences. I’d like to think I’d trust the othjer person. However, I suspect I’d still have a moment’s hesitation at the last minute and that might blow the whole situation.

  2. tradingdreams 02/09/2013 at 16:39 #

    I’ll open the door and kill the zombie. I don’t care what the people in the other room are thinking. Haha 😀

    • cmdrysdale 02/09/2013 at 17:46 #

      Successfully taking on a zombie one on one with no weapon would be an impressive feat – I salute your bravery!

      • tradingdreams 02/09/2013 at 17:52 #

        Oh I’ll find a weapon, of course.

      • cmdrysdale 02/09/2013 at 17:56 #

        I guess you could bash its head in with a bottle of beer from tthe minibar – although given how much they usually charge for such things I might prefer to go up against it empty handed than risk the cost being added to my bill!

      • tradingdreams 02/09/2013 at 18:11 #

        Nah. Not strong enough, I’m thinking… tequila! That ought to knock the zombie out

      • cmdrysdale 02/09/2013 at 18:15 #

        A bottle of tequila would certainly knock me out …

  3. Gabriel Vargas 23/11/2016 at 00:04 #

    This another good dilemma but how strong is the zombie? Like if it’s the walking dead type of zombie then you can push/guide it to a window and make him do a swan dive but if it’s the World War Z zombies that can easily get into a zombie olympics then…. can’t we hang on for some more time?

    • Colin M. Drysdale 24/11/2016 at 13:16 #

      That’s another interesting twist on the dilemma that hadn’t occurred to me before: you won’t know until you open the door and the zombie attacks whether it’s a slow, walking dead-type zombie, or an ultra-fast World War Z-type one. There’s also the issue that the longer you wait, the weaker you’ll become, and so you’ll be less able to fend the zombie off. One simple scenario, so many ways it can go horribly wrong if you don’t think things through properly before you do anything – a bit like life really!

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