Family Matters

The thoughts of a husband, father, brother and son

The Teenager Vodka Supply Chain

According to my sources, the chain of events that may lead to the young person in your life, who not so very long ago had no greater ambition on a Friday evening than fish and chips for tea and a Star Wars DVD, getting his or her hands on the evil that is VODKA may go something like this:

  • The relevant crowd will compare diaries and identify the evening on which they are to get wasted.

    Evil VODKA - every little counts

  • Arrangements may be made for a camp-out, or sleep-over.  I suspect that the kid with the parents least likely to intervene, or most likely to be absent, may volunteer or be volunteered to be the host, just in case their oh-so-impressive and oh-so-funny efforts to disguise their inebriation should happen to let them down (although I can’t imagine how this could possibly happen).
  • They will find a supplier.  This will usually be an older brother or sister who is either of sufficiently advanced years to buy the stuff themselves, or who looks the part and can get hold of somebody else’s ID, or who knows/is going out with/has enthralled, in a way you wouldn’t want to know, somebody who is themselves old enough.
  • The little darlings at the bottom of the chain will club together (perhaps 3 or 4 of them) and each will need to get hold of a relatively small amount of money (say £5).  This is quite cunning.
  • The combined fund will find its way to the supplier.  It may pass through several pairs of hands, as may the VODKA itself on the way back down.  Every person in the chain will cream off a small commission.
  • Kids may get roped in simply because they travel on the same bus as, or live near, another player.  There appears to be a significant degree of trust involved, and an unwritten code of honour (as indeed there is in the trafficking of IDs amongst the older ones when they want to move up to pubs and clubs).  If you’re called on, you’re expected to play your part, because, who knows, you may be the one in dire or urgent need of cheap, potentially lethal neat spirits at some point in the future.  It’s strictly cash-based – handlers taking a couple of swigs as payment is regarded as completely out-of-order.  Inevitably social media networks play a big part in the organisation.
  • VODKA is highly favoured as a commodity, because it is (a) cheap (in units per pound terms), and (b) relatively easy to transport and disguise (it’s certainly going to be easier to bring into school and distribute in “tutor” than, say, 24 cans of Stella or a mixed case of Australian reds).
  • The booze in question will eventually find itself in the hands of the original consortium.  It’s quite possible that new shares in the consortium may have been issued in the interim, or that there may have been a buy-out or two, or some off-balance sheet trading in VODKA futures.
  • If you’re looking for clues, a tell-tale sign of involvement may be an unexpected and urgent, but surprisingly short-lived, need for your little angel to hook up with somebody who generally isn’t part of their immediate circle.   There may be a mumbled explanation about borrowing something or (if they’re really devious) homework may be mentioned.  This won’t be true.  The reason will be so that money or VODKA can change hands.
  • The whole thing is so organised and complex that you wouldn’t be entirely surprised if McNulty from The Wire turned up and started tapping phones.
  • When exchange and completion have taken place, the swag will be stored until the evening in question.  This will be a convivial and sophisticated affair, with the more worldy-wise choosing from a menu of casual, public and probably unprotected sex, squabbling, minor vandalism, and fighting.   Vomit will definitely play a part.  And there will be weeping.  Most of it (the evening and the vomit and the weeping) will likely be recorded for posterity on countless mobile devices.

I don’t know what it’s like where you live, but round our way this is called chilling, or having a laugh.

But on the bright side, I don’t imagine our future generations are going to want for entrepreneurs.

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