The SAQ for Children

I line up at a branch of the SAQ, the Quebec Liquor Commission. I am getting our order for our concert venue, Bistro le Ste-Cath.

By Raymond Viger 

Waiting my turn at the cash, I look at all the “cuties” being offered to me. Let me define that word. I’m talking about those cute tiny little bottles of alcohol that some people collect. The correct term for those collectors is that they are “buticulamicrophilic.”

Don’t worry if you can’t pronounce this big word, because I’m a proud dyslexic and I can’t pronounce it from memory either. I have to look myself in the face and convince myself that I can pronounce it. I just want to convince my proofreader, Simon-Claude Gingras, that I too am capable of reproducing words that aren’t in current frequent usage.

Anyway, I’m in line, and I’m contemplating these little bottles in all sorts of colors, exact miniature replicas of the same brands’ bigger bottles. In front of me, a child is accompanied by his father. The child has a closer direct line than I to the bottles. The bottles sit at his eye level. He turns and asks his father:

“What are those bottles, Dad?”

“They’re little bottles of alcohol.”

“Are they bottles for little kids waiting to grow up so they can buy the big ones?”

“No! Not really.”

To conclude, the young boy took a picture of the “cuties” with his cell phone, to share with his friends. Witnessing this scene – no less than a child who, no ore and no less, is promoting tiny bottles to his friends – shook me.

I was astounded by the first reaction this child had to the little bottles. If we don’t permit the presentation of cigarette packs at the point of sale, why can’t we adopt the same policy with alcohol? That’s what the LCBO does in Ontario.

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