BOOTH: We get what we demand, not what we need

Give us convenience or give us death.

The San Francisco think tank/punk band Dead Kennedys coined the phrase in the 1980s and its spirit has only multiplied in the ensuing decades.

We are a society that not only wants it all, we want it yesterday. Nothing is too fast for us – we demand it. Faster internet speed to download pictures of cats; quicker pizza deliveries to clog our arteries more rapidly than the past; up-to-the-second news coverage on self-absorbed celebrities of questionable talent; not just regular transit – rapid transit; microwave ovens to cook chemical-laden frozen “food” in seconds instead of having to wait for the regular oven to heat up; hundreds of television channels including east coast stations so we can watch programs three hours earlier than stations on the west coast; electronics companies releasing newer and flashier versions of their products mere weeks after the devices debuted.

This obsession for all things bigger, better and faster with shinier bells and louder whistles has become a driving force in our society and economy. Lord help the companies that can’t keep pace with the relentless demands of consumers. Often the losers in such matters have a superb product – betamax video tapes, HD-DVD – but once the herd has adopted a path, there are rarely any off-ramps.

Our society’s drive for an instant hit of satisfaction has not been lost on governments. Most elected governments save all of its bad news moves for the first two years of their term in office, followed by two years of shovelling money off the back of a truck in the form of voter friendly announcements and mega projects. The strategy bets that voters will be so dazzled by the government’s recent largesse, they will forget the misery that befell them just two years previous. And it’s a good bet to make, as election results prove.

And speaking of betting, the governments have that figured out too. In the 1970s, the federal government introduced a lottery to help fund the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal. It was so successful that smaller lotteries followed. The Western Express offered a prize of a quarter million dollars every two weeks and people snapped up the tickets as fast as the government could print them.

That was followed by a weekly 6/49 scheme with a weekly $1 million prize, which was in turn followed by lotto insanity. Like laboratory rats incessantly nudging the feeder bar, people plunked down their hard-earned cash for scratch and win tickets, thrice weekly lotto draws, pull-tabs in pubs and Keno games with winners every hour. Not satisfied with that stream of revenue, the government turned the cash flow into a river by legalizing a multitude of casinos across the province. Now anybody can itch their gambling jones whenever the mood strikes them. The people demanded it and the government responded to the point now where gambling revenues are a key part of revenue.

With an ever-expanding eye for more vice-related revenue, Christy Clark’s Liberals made another move last week with sweeping changes to the provincial liquor laws. Granted, many of the changes were long overdue. Allowing only beer sales in certain areas at sporting events and roping off sections of a facility for a beer garden were rules that created a monstrous pain in the posterior for consumers and vendors alike. Same with limited hours when liquor can be delivered to hotel guests through room service.

But the end to that red tape wasn’t the rules the general public was so happy to hear were coming down the track. In almost every news story concerning the forthcoming changes, the biggest attraction was a promise to allow the sale of alcoholic beverages in grocery stores and convenience markets.

Does anyone over the age of 19 currently have a problem acquiring liquor between the hours of 10 a.m. and midnight? In the past, it may have been an issue. I’m old enough to remember – pre-Expo 86 – when bars were not allowed to be open on Sundays, with off-sales and bootleg beer being your only option once the government liquor stores closed at 6 p.m.

Not anymore. In addition to the network of government stores, the province is now riddled with private beer and wine — and more! — stores that dispense every kind of spirit one could wish for until midnight daily.

If that kind of accessibility to alcohol is too limiting for you, I respectfully suggest you get professional help.

But now that’s no longer good enough for us. Polls show we want to do one-stop shopping and purchase booze along with our frozen microwavable meals, fat-saturated snacks, disposable diapers, processed cheese products and organic veggies (because we want to eat healthy, wink wink).

Do we need it? No. Do we want it because other provinces and states have it? You betcha, and that’s all that matters. How much longer before drive-through liquor stores are legalized? They have those in Australia so it’s probably just a matter of time before they turn up here. Alcohol and driving — what could possibly go wrong?

If we have something, we want more of it faster and if we don’t have a product or service, then we have to have it and the sooner the better. Never mind the social costs that come with such moves. That’s just the price of convenience, right?

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A reminder to students at Surrey’s Strawberry Hill Elementary to physically distance during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Five Surrey schools reporting COVID-19 exposures, including another at Panorama Ridge

INTERACTIVE TABLE: Search for schools, organize by exposure dates

Surrey firefighters battle a house fire near the 70A Avenue and 126A Street intersection early Sunday morning. According to a witness, it appears that the occupants were able to get out without injury. (Shane MacKichan photos)
PHOTOS: Fire causes extensive damage to Surrey home

Occupants able to escape without injury: witness

NDP headquarters on election night, Oct. 24, 2020. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
ELECTION 2020: Live blog from B.C. party headquarters

BC NDP projected to win majority government – but celebrations will look different this election

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

John Horgan has been re-elected the MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca. (File-Black Press)
Horgan trounces challengers to be re-elected in his Vancouver Island riding

MLA has represented constituency of Langford-Juan de Fuca and its predecessors since 2005

NDP Leader John Horgan celebrates his election win in the British Columbia provincial election in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan celebrates projected majority NDP government, but no deadline for $1,000 deposit

Premier-elect says majority government will allow him to tackle issues across all of B.C.

FILE – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets Premier John Horgan during a press conference at the BC Transit corporate office following an announcement about new investments to improve transit for citizens in the province while in Victoria on Thursday, July 18, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Trudeau congratulates Horgan on NDP’s election victory in British Columbia

Final count won’t be available for three weeks due to the record number of 525,000 ballots cast by mail

Comedic actor Seth Rogen, right, and business partner Evan Goldberg pose in this undated handout photo. When actor Seth Rogen was growing up and smoking cannabis in Vancouver, he recalls there was a constant cloud of shame around the substance that still lingers. Rogen is determined to change that. (Maarten de Boer ohoto)
Seth Rogen talks about fighting cannabis stigma, why pot should be as accepted as beer

‘I smoke weed all day and every day and have for 20 years’

Provincial Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau speaks at Provincial Green Party headquarters at the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe in Victoria. (Arnold Lim / Black Press)
VIDEO: Furstenau leads BC Greens to win first riding outside of Vancouver Island

Sonia Furstenau became leader of BC Greens one week before snap election was called

NDP Leader John Horgan elbow bumps NDP candidate Coquitlam-Burke Mountain candidate Fin Donnelly following a seniors round table in Coquitlam, B.C., Tuesday, October 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan, NDP head for majority in B.C. election results

Record number of mail-in ballots may shift results

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Mounties looking for teen boy ‘unlawfully at large’ from Riverview psychiatric hospital

Nolan Godron left the hospital, located at 2721 Lougheed Highway in Coquitlam, without consent on Saturday

The Canadian border is pictured at the Peace Arch Canada/USA border crossing in Surrey, B.C. Friday, March 20, 2020. More than 4.6 million people have arrived in Canada since the border closed last March and fewer than one-quarter of them were ordered to quarantine while the rest were deemed “essential” and exempted from quarantining. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Majority of international travellers since March deemed ‘essential’, avoid quarantine

As of Oct. 20, 3.5 million travellers had been deemed essential, and another 1.1 million were considered non-essential

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Average daily deaths from virus reached 23 over the past seven days, up from six deaths six weeks ago

Most Read