One Year Booze Free

Changing the UK to Minimize Binge Drinking

A while ago I wrote a post called, “Is there a cure for stupidity?” that discussed an idea that could work well for curing binge drinking too. It outlined a world where coffee shops and stylish, well kept community centres opened all night for groups to meet up and talk about their passions; play board games and cards; and drink their favourite beverages. Also, you could have open-house workshops (always big spaces) where you could take art lessons in things like woodwork or sculpture before relaxing with a coffee.

Today, I met a woman who inspired me to think a little bit more about this “it shouldn’t be all about the pubs at night” thought thread. Ant and I were sat in Churchill Square in Brighton enjoying the Spring sunshine and waiting for the shops to open. This young Chinese woman approached us, asking for information on the shops opening. When we said 10 or 11, she looked as if she didn’t understand. So I, of course repeated, using my fingers for 10 and 11.

She nodded but still looked confused. In pigeon English she asked us why it is different times for shopping on Sunday. Although, we answered it was for religious reasons, it did seem silly to say this to a foreigner because it does not really represent our country as it is today. How many people do you know that treat a Sunday as the sabbath or even go to church?

Anyway, she explained how things are in China. That, like us Brits, they work hard in the week so at the weekend the shops open from early till late because that’s when they’re going to get the most business. This also happened in the week – shops open late in the evenings, rather than during normal working hours (when no one can shop).

I started thinking about how logical this is. And why haven’t we done this? I know we have 24 hour e-Commerce now, allowing us to buy at any time. But for many people, going out shopping and browsing the stores is not just about making a purchase – it’s a pastime and a passion as well as being good exercise.

So why not? If shop opening times reflected those of bars, it would be a lot more convenient for workers and a great alternative to going to the pub. And with all those profits the shops are going to be raking in, they can afford a bouncer to keep the drunks out.

Do you think this would be better? Or do you think we should keep things the way they are? Maybe you have better ideas for minimizing binge drinking? Any comments welcomed.

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