By Emily Reed – Fashion PR student
A bit of a controversial topic but an interesting one at that so let’s go with it…
Whatever your opinions on our boozy nation, and let’s face it it’s a subject that will undoubtedly divide the public, there is no denying alcohol is something that most of us will come in to contact with on a weekly, maybe even daily basis!
The thing I want to talk about though isn’t the crazy things people do under the influence, the vulnerability of an intoxicated person, the health risks that all come with over indulging on the good stuff, that’s a whole another story in itself, no I want to talk about the price of alcohol and the impact it has.
Is it really ethical for big companies, whether its bars or clubs or even supermarkets, to be selling cut-price alcohol for their own gain to our ever increasing generation of binge drinkers? Is it morally right? And what would happen if companies went against the grain and increased the price of their ‘dirt cheap’ booze? Would it have an effect on the amount people consume? So many questions…
In my opinion, and from past experience of being a poor student, people will look for the cheapest alcohol they can get their hands on in order to have a good time, the aim quite simply is, how do say it? To get trolleyed? Battered? Smashed? Off their face? Hammered? The price is the main pull-factor for many.
Many of the faces behind the decisions to sell cheap alcohol will have families of their own, children of their own. I question how these people can make such decisions when they know the consequences these actions are more than likely going to have. It was reported that in the UK alone, in 2014 there were over 8,500 alcohol-related deaths and even more seriously ill. That’s a huge figure, and a huge strain on public healthcare that didn’t need to happen.
In 2010, supermarket giants Tesco, became the first supermarket to ban ‘cut-price’ alcohol, a decision that encouraged spilt reactions. Many of their competitors were believed to feel the move would be like committing ‘commercial suicide’. Soon after Tesco’s bold statement, the government bought in new measures that made it illegal for supermarkets to sell alcohol for less than they buy it in for. However some campaigners believe this new law will only have an impact on a mere 1% of products sold in these supermarkets. So what do you think? Is that small change enough to make a difference? By looking at statistics, it would appear not, in the year after this new legislation was bought in alcohol-related deaths actually increased from the previous year.
This small change introduced by the government doesn’t seem to be enough to make the much needed difference just yet. As I’ve mentioned previously, it isn’t just supermarkets that are selling alcohol for pennies, clubs are enticing party goers with drinks for as little as 89p! 89p for an alcoholic beverage, that’s less than a bottle of water! What kind of a message is that giving out? Let’s face it, clubs aren’t going to change their ways, why would they, it makes them huge amounts of money each year. So if we can’t make the needed changes via the businesses, does the answer lie with educating the consumer instead?
On flip side however, you could argue that why should the other half of the nation, the sensible drinkers if you like, the drinkers that know their limits, know the risks and are aware of their recommended daily intake of alcohol, essentially be punished and forced to pay higher prices for their relaxing glass of red with their dinner or their vodka and soda on a Friday night?
Who knows the right answer, with this topic I think it isn’t a case of right and wrong, it’ll be different for everyone. And therefore, the big booze debate lives on….