As we enter the final stages of the tobacco legislation that has seen shutters introduced to block the choice of a legal product, and the introduction of a sea of olive packs making sales and merchandising practically impossible without a Master’s degree, I have to wonder how long it will be before the government turns its attention to alcohol in the rest of Britain, as the Scottish government has.
While I agree that tobacco and alcohol wreck lives when not consumed responsibly, I feel that with education, age restriction and the correct social circumstances, both can be enjoyed by adults as part of their weekly ritual.
Shops selling alcohol and tobacco have a responsibility to customers to help protect the young and vulnerable, and attempt to offer guidance to those who have become dependent in excess. How long will supermarkets push the boundaries with branding such as ‘Everyday Value’ and ‘Basics’? Should alcohol really be viewed as an everyday product?
C-stores tend to know their customers, and are often pillars of their local community. This puts us in a unique position to help customers make informed choices and offer age-restricted products in a controlled environment at sensible prices.
Tesco and Booker could soon become one, bringing many supermarkets and c-stores under the same umbrella. While I welcome the union, I think it’s time we taught the big boys a thing or two about responsible retailing before the government crushes another category in the interest of public health.
It’s not necessarily the drinking that’s the problem, it’s the excess.