Monday, July 21, 2008

So much for happy hour?

According to the news this morning there are plans afoot to ban "happy Hour" in pubs and also crack down on sueprmarkets selling multibuy options on booze. The argument goes, and I'm sure it would please the Portman Group greatly, that traders are not being "responsible", and that essentially we're all turning into a nation of alcoholics.

It's all in the name of our health because we are not responsible enough to make the 'right' decision (ergo what they want us to do) ourselves. We're all victims of the evil suppliers of alcohol who tempt us away from the path of light straightheadedness.

Yet it seems that no one in Government has a grip on the market driven reason for the rise in cheap booze and happy hours. Nor do they have a grip on the unitended consequence of their own actions having a direct role in creating the thing that they now see as a problem to be tackled.

Think about this for a minute. Why are pubs increasingly using Happy Hours to attract customers? It's pretty obvious that you do not start selling off your stock on the cheap unless you have a business issue where you are not making enough money. If you can get them in they might stay or they might eat etc.

So why are the pubs needing to do this though? Well, over 1300 public houses have closed in the last year since the smoking ban was introduced. Smokers leaving the pubs has had a detrimental effect on business in many parts so they need to lure people back.

The Happy Hour; doubles for the price of singles and other offers becomes ever more popular. At the same time, all the people that have left the pubs beacuse they cannot smoke have started drinking at home.

This shifts the competition in the market to the likes of Teso, Morrisons, Asda and Sainsbury, who are all competing for those people to come and spend there money with them. So they all start offering crazy offers on booze.

What is the Government's repsonse to a situation that it has created? Easy. Ban Happy Hours and legislate to stop supermarkets selling cheap booze. You know what that is in reality? Price control by proxy, yet another parallel between Brown's Government and the 1970s.


Anonymous said...

The cynical might say that they have the Happy Hour because they know that if you can get people drunk then they are more likely to stay longer and spend more money on drink.

Letters From A Tory said...

To be fair, the Happy Hour existed way before the smoking ban so I'm not sure this announcement is strongly linked to the smoking ban

dizzy said...

To be fair I didn't say it didn't. It's commplace has increased though.

Old BE said...

If the government really wanted to make booze more expensive it would increase tax - but of course it won't do that because voters won't like it and the pub lobby won't like it. Of course, Tesco and Sainsbury's will love having the competition removed, and will love being able to charge more than they would otherwise be able to in a competitive market.

Anonymous said...

The first words on the Today programme that I heard when I woke up at 7am this morning were "the government's voluntary scheme to reduce under-age drinking has failed, so they're making it compulsory". You really, really couldn't make it up! said...

This might be irrelevent, but I'll say it anyway: a few years ago I noticed that Wetherspoons had stopped doing its old "four shots for £5" offer. I asked the staff why. We're not allowed to do that any more, they told me, it encourages binge drinking. But it's OK, we just changed it to one shot for £1.25 and that's fine for us to do.

CityUnslicker said...

Here is the start, if NewLab stay in power then in 5 years this will move on to legislating maccy d's not to sell high fat food.

Seems surreal now....

Dave said...

Nobody asks why everyone is drinking themselves to death.
Shit job or no job. Shit country, Shit government. Shit-all pension. Shit-all hope of buying a house. Shit-all chance of changing anything. Shit-all hope.
Oh well. At least the pubs are open. (for now)

Unknown said...

I'm sure there's a link between the increasing student alcoholism and the £2 quad-vods from the local club

Anonymous said...

shhhhh dont mention Oakley

Sorry, but this is just far too common within Tory ranks. Not a week seemingly goes by without some gaffe. Cameron may have changed, and he may have fooled the population that his party has changed, but the evidence is still there...

Oakley – Oh dear.
Ray Lewis – Dodgy
James McGrath – Racist remark
Mercer – Black Bastards
Conways – On the fiddle
Hastilow – Racist Remarks
Cllr Ellenor Bland – Racist Peom
Ann Winterton – Banana Repudlic
Alun Cairns – Inappropriate comments
Giles Chichester – Nice little earner
I haven’t even mentioned Bozzer yet !!!!!

I could go on and on, still NASTY, and , still SLEAZY

Anonymous said...

Of course if the price goes up, so does the VAT take.

As J B Priestley said, first the government drives you to drink, then they put up alcohol taxes.

Anonymous said...

Am highly sceptical of the claim that the smoking ban is closing pubs.

I cannot believe that people who tolerate coughing their guts up of a morning, all manner of infections, longer recovery times from illness and the prospect of dying horribly from cancer yet seem put out by having to sit/stand outside for a ciggie.