USA: Walmart Makes Alcohol Even More Available
In the United States, Walmart makes alcohol even more available through new online purchasing option. Walmart Inc. is an American multinational retail corporation that operates a chain of hypermarkets, discount department stores, and grocery stores.
Online grocery retail is becoming increasingly competitive as the giants of the industry are attempting to out-compete each other. Recently, Amazon announced grocery delivery free would be free of charge. Therefore, Walmart had to counter-attack and did so through including alcohol into its online grocery services.
Walmart launched the new service – which is considers a “milestone” – of giving customers the ability to purchase alcohol online. Over 2000 of its stores in 29 states are set to offer the new service. Beer and wine can now be picked up along with other grocery purchases – even through alcohol is not grocery and no ordinary commodity.
Lobbying for more alcohol laws to be weakened
Additionally, more than 200 stores in California and Florida are also offering alcohol delivery. The mega store chain is planning more expansion on both online purchase and delivery of alcohol.
However, the alcohol pickup service as well as the the alcohol delivery business has to abide by local alcohol regulations, setting boundaries to alcohol retail for the benefit of public health and safety. Walmart, like Amazon, consider those alcohol laws obstacles to their expansion, however, which is why both are increasingly attacking alcohol laws and lobbying for weakening of these regulations.
Looking for more profit, over time, Walmart seeks to increase their online alcohol shopping options.
Their Sam’s Club subsidiary has offered this option, too, by way of Instacart. This way, Sam’s Club has been able to offer delivery of liquor, like Tito’s vodka or those from Sam’s Club’s own “Member’s Mark” brand, among others.
Recently online sale of alcohol and also alcohol delivery has been growing in the USA. This is cause for concern as it makes alcohol more available. Higher availability leads to increased consumption and more alcohol harm.
Alcohol harm in the USA
More than 30,000 cancer deaths, and more than 34,000 liver cirrhosis deaths are caused by alcohol in the U.S. Every second male alcohol consumer is engaging in heavy episodic alcohol consumption. Almost 14% of the population has an alcohol use disorder – significantly above the regional average, and the Americas region is the second biggest alcohol consumer in the world, after Europe.
A recent study also found the total harm caused by alcohol use is $2.05 per unit of alcohol in the United States, and, of this, the government ends up paying about 80 cents per unit of alcohol.
However, the federal government and states only bring in about 21 cents per unit of alcohol on average in alcohol taxes. Which hardly covers the cost of harm.
No doubt more online sale and delivery of alcohol will increase the already heavy alcohol harm in the country. The United States needs to urgently strengthen alcohol control policy to address this dangerous trend and better prevent and reduce harm and save lives.