mad anthony

Rants, politics, and thoughts on politics, technology, life,
and stuff from a generally politically conservative Baltimoron.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Defending liquid crack...

There was a little debate going on at Instapundit and a couple other blogs over if subprime lenders and check cashing places are taking advantage of the poor or a providing a necessary service to consumers who voluntarily purchase them. I tend to side with Reason and Tabin - if people choose to use them, it suggests that check cashing places are providing a useful service. And as someone who frequently has to plan my day around the couple hours that my credit union is open and I'm not at work, I can see why people may choose to pay for the convinience of cash on the spot.

But in the course of this discussion, this article was linked about 40's of malt liquor - or liquid crack, as the author refers to them.

Malt liquor is cheaply brewed, high alcohol beer, and 40's are 40 ounce bottles of it. They are popular in the inner city, which many see as "the man's" attempt to bring down the poor.

Of course, like check-cashing places, people choose to buy 40's because they decide the costs (blissfull intoxication on the cheap) outweigh the cost. And I would submit that it's not just poor inner-city dwellers who buy 40's, mainly because I drank a bunch of 40's in college. They appeal to anyone who want to get drunk quickly, and middle-class college students from the 'burbs fall into that catagory too. The liquor stores we bought them from were generally in decent neighborhoods, and carried both 40's and a selection of fine (ie not screwtop) wines. One of my favorite college drinks was St. Ides Special Brew, a fruit-flavored malt liquor that was 6% alcohol but tasted like fruit punch. Alas, it was only available in 22oz bottles (aka the Deuce Deuce), but it provided hours of enjoyment. Plus, when you started puking after drinking it, your puke was red.

So while 40's may appeal to many in the inner city, my guess is lots of poor rual types as well as college students - basically anyone who wants to get drunk cheaply - buys them.

And there are lots of other cheap ways to get drunk other than the 40. Do you really think that cheap (or as the industry calls them, popular priced) beers in 30-packs are designed for fine beer enthusiasts and not for college students to chug in rapid succession? And for pure cheap drunkenness, it's hard to beat the plastic-bottled 1.75 liter bottle of vodka (Rikaloff, "distilled" in Baltimore, was a staple of my college years, and was <$8 for nearly 2 liters of vodka).

This was probably one of the most disjointed posts I've written in a while. But in conclusion, if people are willing to pay for cheap beer and check cashing, I will assume they feel that they get their money's worth. And stay away from Rikaloff, except for use as a disinfectant.


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