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Food for thought and underage drinking


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Friday, 7 May 2010

Food for thought and underage drinking

A group with children’s interests at heart has proposed a swipe card to prevent adults buying alcohol for children.

The scheme would allow purchases to be traced back to the card owner by matching the card used for the transaction to the product packaging.

Without wishing to appear negative, the idea is completely nuts.

It would cost a fortune to issue the cards and an even larger fortune to print unique codes on bottles, cans and other alcohol packaging.

It is also unlikely that the hard-pressed police officer, faced with a child clutching a tin of strong cider, would be bothered to pursue the matter -- particularly as there would be no way of knowing where it had been purchased unless a) the officer applied “reasonable force” to extract a confession or b) was equipped with a special scanner to trace the expensively tagged item at further public expense.

Then there is the problem of the retailers, a minority of which would bypass the swipe card system just as they ignore the law prohibiting the sale of alcohol to minors today. Without rigging the tills of every outlet so that no one could buy booze without a card, and rigging their premises to ensure that cash transactions that bypassed the till were also impossible, it’s hard to see how the scheme could work. Last in a long list of practical objections is that the first thing the enterprising juvenile toper will do if you attempt to cut off his supply with a swipe card is to swipe it when you’re not looking.

In other health news, the Telegraph reported the therapeutic qualities of the green belt. “Five minutes exercising in the countryside boosts mental health,” declared the paper. The words “sweeping”, “unscientific” and “generalisation” spring to mind in no particular order. The literary evidence is also against the Telegraph: King Lear’s time in the wilderness was a period of dubious decision making, family strife and -- not to put too fine a point on it -- ranting, raving and unbecoming behaviour for a member of the royal family.

Finally, an intriguing article claimed that children will eat more healthy food so long as it looks good.

Imaginative presentation will apparently overcome your child’s aversion to fruit and vegetables, by arranging them in the shape of a hedgehog, stegosaurus or Power Ranger. But don’t expect this healthy behaviour to last. The researchers concerned admitted that most attempts to get kids to eat good food come to nothing, because children soon get bored and always know when they’re being patronised. Like adults, only more so.

mgreen says:
Apr 18, 2011 05:55 PM
Its an interesting discussion, that of the under-age drinker. But lets for one minute think about the older persons drinking habits.

I had reason to be in a geographically upmarket healthcare provider region the other week and per chance met and talked with some of our wonderful front line ambulance staff. What I heard amazed me. The affluent older drinker was one of their main sources of anxiety. Used to drinking the odd glass or two of wine or g&t on a daily basis and over a prolonged period of time has created a generation of tipsy, argumentative, opinionated geriatrics, most of whom apparently are in denial.

Seems the drive against the dreaded alcohol should not just be aimed at the young high energy end of the drinking spectrum, but also at the oblivious I-need-an-end-of-a-hard-day-glass-or-two drinker.

FNoF due to alcohol induced fall Vs cut lip and bruised ego. I wonder? Not that I'm condoning drinking in the young or the old. However, wouldn't it be good if the data-miners out there could come up with a cost comparison?