“Have you forgotten something?” the pop-up window asked as I finished my online grocery order.
The pop-up had a special that caught my eye: two boxes of Carlton Pure Blonde beer. “That’s cheap”, I thought to myself, “and I don’t need to leave my couch to pick them up.”
But before I clicked the ‘buy’ button the reality of my potential indulgence hit me. Do I really need to make my life easier this way? Is the quick fix of an alcohol delivery service the best answer?
I closed the pop-up, finished my order and turned off the laptop. The website’s offer to make beer appear at my front door, almost like magic, was unsettling. It stuck in my mind.
I know companies selling alcohol, online and offline, don’t really have our best interests at heart. Their priority is dollars. But likeso many other Australians, I juggle the pressures and passions of a life that’s increasingly time poor. My schedule is crowded with work, friends, family, movies, books, mortgages, weddings, going on overseas holidays and binge watching Game of Thrones.
All of these, of course, are good things. But I look for efficiencies and short cuts. I’m not alone, either. The Top 10 Global Consumer Trends for 2016 reports that, “In 2016, saving time is often about new attempts to buy time, beyond convenience. Consumers are more willing to outsource aspects of their lives.” I can see this happening to me already.
Facebook helps me feel connected to people who are important to me even when I’m far away. Google Maps is my best friend when I’m running late for an appointment. If I need a perk-up, iTunes scans my thumb and I buy ELO songs for cheesy 70s pop rock. On the days when I want something immediately, the internet can remove the barriers of time and space to help me get what I want. Throw in an online alcohol delivery service and it’s a potent mix, especially when emotions are impulsive and access is fast and cheap.
Of course, I can just switch my devices off. Yet there are other ways I can use my skills with technology to gain time for the things I value in the long term. The Sober Selfie campaign and Hello Sunday Morning are encouraging health related examples. Both are free and supportive and offer a chance to network with others who want to waste less time on weekends with a hangover.
If supermarkets and companies were really interested in my saving time and money through technology, they would be better off promoting financial or time management apps than delivering alcohol to my door. But, of course, there’s no money in that.
Soon we may see Amazon Prime or a similar company begin a one-hour alcohol delivery service in Australia. They guarantee it. I wonder what processes will be put in place to ensure that they do not deliver to underage people?
Don’t look for a product recommendation from me on their website. I’ll be the bloke going old school – offline, off the couch, and enjoying every minute of it.
Written by Australian Drug Foundation staff member, Dr. Ben O’Mara.