Friday, May 18, 2007

Kids these days

Do not look at the picture on the left if you are under the age of 21! Apparently that's what making kids drink. At least that's what several anti-alcohol groups, such as the Center for Science in the Public Interest and the Marin Institute would have you believe. Critics claim that the drink, called Spykes, is being marketed towards underage drinkers because it it's strong flavors (lime, mango, melon and hot chocolate) mask the taste of alcohol. They also so that it's ingredients (caffeine, ginseng and guarana, which are components of energy drinks) are aimed at making the drink more attractive to underage drinkers.

Anheuser-Busch is caving under the pressure from these groups and removing the drink from the market.

Why does this bug me so much? It's certainly not that I have any allegince to Anheuser-Busch. I have no feelings one way or the other on their company. It's not that I really like Spykes. In fact, before I read the aritcle that inspired this blog entry I had never even heard of Spykes. (Although it does sound kind of good and if I wasn't going to be getting pregnant soon I might go out and get some just for the fun of it.) It bugs me because Anheuser-Busch is caving to the pressure of stupid people. And I hate stupid people making decisions for the rest of us.

Critics of the drink are claiming a that having this drink removed from the market is a victory over underage drinking. Stupid person and Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said, "This move by Anheuser-Busch, ceasing sales of Spykes after attorneys general raised significant concerns, is a significant victory in the fight against underage drinking."

I would tell Mr Blumenthal that this drink being taken off the market does not mean diddly squat when it comes to underage drinking. No teenager is going to go "Hey! They took my favorite drink off the market! No more partying for me!" And no teenager is going to decided not to start drinking because this product doesn't exsist. They'll just drink something else.

Teenagers drink. It's what they do. I mean, I'm sure my kids never will (humor me ok?) but for the rest of us, we have to deal with the fact that teenagers drink. Let me tell you a couple of stories. I can remember when I was in high school, sitting in a class and being surrounded by people who were so hung over that they could hardly move. It was not at all unusual for people to pour alcohol right into their pop cans and have a drink as class was going on. When my parents were teenagers they drank with their friends. Hell, from what I've heard they probably were the ones that were throwing the parties. One time when my grandfather was a kid a friend of his brought a jug of wine to school. They hid it in the woods and at recess all the kids went and sipped from it.

What do these stories have in common? None of the people in them had Spykes or similar type drinks in them. Kids were drinking long before drinks like this came along and they'll be drinking long after they're gone. If people want to stop underage drinking they need to focus on it's root causes and not on individual products. Do teenagers drink Spykes? I don't know, probably. But if you're going to get rid of a drink just because teenagers drink it then you might want to start with beer or wine coolers or hard liquor or Boone's Farm.

As a parent I realize that underage drinking is a problem but moves like this are simply not the solution. I have no idea what the solution is. Ijust have enough common sense to know that getting one brand of drink taken off the market isn't a victory over anything.

6 comments:

Pendullum said...

We used to go to bars and order Grasshoppers and other sweet drinks that came with umbrellas...
And I can remember Purple Jesus'...
So, are they going to take kool aid off the market as well...

I mean... kids are drinking cold medicine for goodness sake to get high...
I guess what I am saying is...
You are right...

Judy said...

Bottom line is kids, i.e. teenagers will experiment, it's part of the development... alcohol is one of things they will experiment with..and it is by far not the worst thing to experiment with....I still remember my first hangover at age 17 (almost 18) from drinking Southern Comfort and coke..(my stomach still gets queasy when I look at a bottle of Southern Comfort)I am definately not an advocate of underage drinking, but no matter what product is or is not on the market, teenagers will drink... You are absolutely right!! The best things parents can do is encourage their kids to act responsibly...if you are drinking, stay where you are, or call a parent to come and get you. I guess that goes for "of age" drinkers, too. Judy

nell said...

Right on, sister. I am in complete agreement with you. People who campaign for the abolition of fruit flavored alcohol are wasting their time. If they spent half as much time focusing on the root of social problems rather than the various symptoms, they'd get a lot more done.

That or they could just, you know, accept the existence of things they don't like... and go from there.

Maria said...

When you are a teenager, you are just plain stupid about things. There is a reason that old farts like me look back on their youth and wonder what the bloody hell they were thinking?

I did stuff that I would never want my child to know about. She will do things that I hope to never have to find out.

It is the state of mind.

But all this running around drawing attention to fruity flavored drinks is just going to make them all the more popular.

Ben said...

That's the same AG who just made them take an energy drink called "Cocaine" off the market. cool!

Kel-Bell said...

I live less than five miles from the Budweiser plant, would you like me to picket?
=)