Clothing chain blasted over booze bag shame

Christine Humphreys
by Christine Humphreys
Published: October 15, 2021 Last updated: August 10, 2023
Shopping bags promoting alcohol at a family clothing and homeware store have sparked dismay among Alcohol-Free Community members.
A mum was shocked when her daughter brought home purchases from a town’s Matalan store in a shopping bag featuring the slogan ‘It’s always beer o’clock’ and an image of clinking glasses frothing with ale.
Her daughter had picked up the ‘bag for life’ when she purchased clothing from the store.
The mum, one of thousands of members of the online Alcohol-Free Community, slammed the store for selling the bags promoting alcohol consumption.
Posting in the Alcohol-Free Community Facebook group, she added the hashtags #subliminalmessages #brainwashed underlining her view that such images indoctrinate people into accepting alcohol consumption as the norm.
Although her daughter is an adult, she was angry that the bags can be bought by young shoppers under the age of 18 and were ‘ingraining’ the notion that booze is an integral part of everyday life.
She said: “My daughter went to Matalan. To buy some clothes, she had to buy a ‘bag for life’ and this is the only one they had.
“The shop doesn’t even sell alcohol! It’s so bad, it’s laughable.
“What actually made me really angry is that they are selling these bags to youngsters – so it really is ingraining their brain.”
Her post sparked chimes of agreement from fellow community members who’s comments included: ” Societal Conditioning at its finest. We are always being programmed.’
The Alcohol-Free Community is a free group on Facebook managed by aimed at supporting those who abstain from alcohol and those trying to cut their alcohol consumption or quit.
John Risby – a sober alcoholic for 17 years and a founder of and retail site The Alcohol-Free Shop, which launched in 2006 – suggested Matalan should rethink their policy and withdraw the bags from sale.
He said: “It’s shocking that you can’t go to a clothes shop and buy a bag to carry your items home without advertising alcohol. There are so many people who just wouldn’t want to be seen carrying a bag like this.
“It sends a terrible message to children too who already see adverts for alcohol several times a day as it is without this unnecessary addition. Alcohol promotions should have no place in a family clothing store.”
Matalan have been contacted for a response to the criticisms and their reply will be published once they respond.
Christine Humphreys

About The Author

Christine Humphreys
Chris Humphreys is the co-founder of The Alcohol-Free Shop and She was a journalist for more years than she cares to remember. Ex-wife of an alcoholic, enthusiastic amateur musician and a passionate dog lover.