Posts Tagged ‘alcohol’

Are American alcohol prices a ripoff?

July 26th, 2012

Wine at Spanish supermarket Amstel at Spanish supermarket

Ever feel like you’re overpaying for alcoholic beverages? If you’re in the US of A, you are probably right; our society seems to treat alcohol as a luxury rather than a commodity, and it’s priced accordingly.

I took the above two photos in Spain. If you factor in the exchange rate the bottle of wine comes out to about $2.25 and the six pack of Amstel is about $2.85. These prices seem low but neither of these were on sale or special deals; these are everyday prices in Spain.

Granted, you can pay more for imported alcohol (i.e. from outside the EU) or for fancier wine, but even the top shelf wines top out at about $30. The prices here are simply a fraction of what us Americans are used to paying. I’ve found this phenomenon to be true throughout western Europe.

This all makes me wonder: are we getting ripped off? Sure, you can attribute some of this to the import tax — but that can’t be the entire story since domestic alcohol isn’t much cheaper. American has a sad history of puritanical anti-fun policies, a particularly embarrassing heritage when our supposed “freedom” and “abundance” aren’t reflected in the prices we pay.

It makes me wonder: are we simply getting ripped off? Why is the rest of the world paying a fraction of what we pay for alcohol when we purportedly value capitalism and freedom? Who’s pocketing the difference, and how are they getting away with it?


December 6th, 2010

Yesterday was the 2010 Santacon, also known as Santarchy, also know as “mommy why is Santa vomiting on our front porch?” day.

I started out in the Castro where there were a lot of interesting costumes including Jack from the Nightmare Before Christmas, a blue Santa, and two young women inexplicably dressed as penguins.

This first photo is from the deck at the Lookout. On the left you can see one of Santa’s soldiers, complete with jolly war paint and a candy cane machine gun. The guy on the right with a mask was wearing an all red ninja outfit of some sort.


Photo by Alexia Anthem

Later in the evening I headed to North Beach, where the lack of interesting costumes was made up for by an abundance of alcohol.

In this photo, drunken Santas had effectively stopped traffic on Grant between Vallejo and Green. Two Santas had taken it upon themselves to misdirect traffic away from this mess and into a traffic jam, but it didn’t stop more determined/stupid drivers from pushing their way through the crowd.

Grant St.

One other interesting note is this year’s Santa madness happened to fall on the same night as Krampusnacht, the night when Santa’s evil alter-ego punishes bad Children. Who knew?