Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Day 66 ... plus 6 bottles of wine

Double 6 today.

I'm a bit tired because of work. Earthquakes can cause my employer some trouble and extra work, so I drove to the office when they called all hands on deck. The most remarkable thing was that I was sober after midnight, and fit enough to drive to the office and to help out. A few months ago that would have been unthinkable. I would have had passed out way before midnight and probably would not have felt the quake at all. It was not too strong where I live, but the lamp shades were swinging. Anyway, I pulled a few hours of night shift and still have some sleep to catch up on.

But I did not want to miss writing a post on my day 66 of sobriety, so here it is. Let's make it short. Scroll back to Saturday.

Arriving in Auckland airport at 7 am after an international flight, immediately after passport control there is the onslaught of duty free shopping. Displays with bottles block the traveler's path. The marked walking track meanders around booths and shelves. Bottle upon bottles beckon. Bright lights and sales assistants with too much makeup and pasted-on smiles make me want to run even faster. It's like they are lying in wait, ready to pounce on you, so all you can do is walk faster so they don't drag you into their booze aisles and force feed you the free samples.

Floor to ceiling adverts spell it out for you, in case you missed the message before:

You can bring in three absurdly large 1.125 l bottles of spirits. But that's not all. On top of that you can bring in six bottles of wine.

What an invitation for a nation famous for its binge drinking problems. That looks like the weekend is sorted, right?

By comparison, you can bring in a measly 50 g of tobacco to roll your own cancer sticks, I think. I don't know how many ready-made cigarettes are allowed. That information is given much more discreetly. There is no visible tobacco product in the duty free shopping area. Legislation does not permit the promotion of tobacco.

But - Man! - do they make up for it with the alcohol ads!!

These over-sized ads create a sense of urgency and pressure to buy cheap while you can. Don't miss out. Three bottles of hard booze. Plus six of wine! Go for it!

To me these ads and the way the traveler is forced to walk through the duty-free shopping area felt like an assault. I felt harassed and bullied.

I think alcohol does at least as much damage as tobacco does and should be treated in a similar way. It should be hidden away behind opaque doors and in order to buy it you would have to know what you want, approach someone and ask for it in person.

This duty-free pushiness is one of the reasons why people buy more alcohol than is good for them. I wonder how many duty free bottles are instrumental in creating new alcohol dependencies. I wonder how much longer it will take the authorities to realize that danger and curb alcohol trade like they have curbed tobacco.

Glad I got that out of my system. Off to bed now. Sober and happily so.


  1. That is Crazy how much alcohol they let you buy there. I have no idea how much they allow in the UK where I live or the US where I grew up, but I can't imagine its that much. I totally agree that they should regulate it a bit more like tobacco and feel like they never will. Its too big of a money making machine.

    Really enjoying the blog. Congrats on double 6.

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