Are You a Member of the O’Briens Wine Club: Read on!

In the forthcoming Public Health (Alcohol) Act 2018 a number of important changes will come into law across the land in relation to the purchase and sale of alcohol in Ireland.

Read the Statute HERE

Looking for Quality Legal Wear? Shop at Gowning Street

One brought to our collective attentions by O’Briens Wines last week is that Wine Club Members’ loyalty points can no longer be used against the future purchase of alcohol (or anything else either). It will be the law of the land and nothing can be done about it. O’Briens Wines has been very clear and responsable with its communication.

If you don’t want to read the whole Statute (who would?) the relevant section states the following:

6) For the purposes of this section, the sale or supply of alcohol products at a reduced price or free of charge includes—

(a) the award, whether directly or indirectly, of bonus points, loyalty card points, or any similar benefit, to any person arising from the purchase by that person, or by any other person, of any alcohol product,

(b) permitting the use of any such points or benefit, whether directly or indirectly, to obtain alcohol products, or any other product or service, at a reduced price or free of charge, and

(c) permitting the use, whether directly or indirectly, of bonus points, loyalty card points, or any similar benefit, arising from the purchase of any product or service to obtain alcohol products at a reduced price or free of charge.

I’m an O’Briens Wine Club Member. It’s a great Club and will continue as O’Briens tells us, ‘we are reinventing our Loyalty Club by introducing an exciting program of extra special offers and exclusive deals for our members on wine, spirits and beers. Keep your current card to scan and redeem these exclusive offers. These special offers and extra discounts for members will start on 1st October’.

‘Thick’ comes to mind! Legality by stupidity. A point a Euro, or thereabouts, eventually used to purchase a very small amount of something effectively already purchased! How can this, in any conceivably useful universe, be useful in the ‘battle’ against the overuse, misuse, control or otherwise use of alcohol help anyone?

Maybe I’m missing the point – I sometimes (often?) do – but hasn’t the big and potentially and presumably dangerous spend to us and the rest of society already taken place?

Perhaps the idea that we are earning points encourages us to spend bigger than we otherwise would? Really? ‘Double up that order, I need the points…‘ eh, I don’t think so. Obviously there is a belief that loyalty points encourages problem drinking. God help us!

Will we now spend less because we can’t use our few miserable points in the future? No, we won’t. Why can’t we continue to offset our earned loyalty points against non or low alcohol products? Because the Statute says so dummy! Seems like the baby has been thrown out with the spitoon.

  • Herd mentality? Legislation designed to limit alcohol consumption by limiting purchases is a blunt instrument and seldom helps the extremes of problem drinking while it seems to always curb everyone elses choice.

So, why go to the bother of banning the practice of encouraging customer loyalty in off licences? We can still earn bonus points in the supermarkets against the future use of glue, sweets and bleach! Just think what we can do with those.

I like a rant. I also like common sense. If an industry is licenced then it is also legal. If there is a Public Health Alcohol requirement to reduce a perceived overuse of alcohol by legislation then so be it.

If a Minimum Unit Pricing model is seen as a solution to reducing alcohol purchasing by volume by increasing prices (it won’t stop people buying alcohol!). Then So be it.

Banning the use of loyalty points? Nonsense. But, I suppose, So Be It.