In the 21st century, the headline rules all. The number of people that can be seen commenting on stories on social media without having clicked on them is astonishing.
It happened again last week, as the Telegraph (among others) screamed that alcohol is now “so cheap that you can get 13 pints for the price of a cinema ticket”. Cue outrage.
Quick game: tell me how much a cinema ticket is? I’d imagine a large majority of you would struggle. I certainly did.
For the purposes of the story, it’s £8.24. A figure that was on the tip of your tongue, I’m sure.
The price of one thing is in no way relevant to the price of another
Another quick game: guess what type of alcohol they’ve used to prove this killer stat? Unsurprisingly it’s “the cheapest white cider”. You know the one.
Just because it’s unsurprising that things are reported in this way doesn’t make it any more palatable. Do you know what else this magical “13 pints” is cheaper than? An entire outfit in the Primark sales. I can’t believe that people can buy alcohol for the same price as being clothed! Or how about two small casserole dishes from Lakeland – why aren’t we encouraging people to cook at home more rather than spending money on cider?
Here’s a suggestion: the price of one thing is in no way relevant to the price of another. Should we criticise the cost of toothpaste as opposed to jam, as dental health is improved by the former and harmed by the latter?
“Harmful drinkers and children are still choosing the cheapest products: predominantly white cider and cheap vodka,” said a spokesperson for the Alcohol Health Alliance.
Some facts: underage drinking is falling. The overall level of alcohol consumption – reported this week by the British Beer & Pub Association – is falling.
Work on harmful drinking is really making a difference, and independent convenience stores are helping to drive this as internal awareness of their community status grows and grows.
Ill-thought out comparisons like this help no-one make sensible choices.