Does Glassware Promote Drinking?

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A high school in Pennsylvania has made the news for the prom favors chosen by the students. Seems the students all received a shot glass as a take-home souvenir from prom. Parents were upset that the glasses promoted alcohol consumption and were being distributed to minors. The principal (who signed the invoice for the favors) didn’t realize what he was signing (or so he said), thinking it was just party favors.

First off, this is nothing new, even if it was on the national news. For the last 17 years, I’ve had a beer mug sitting in my cabinet that advertises one of my proms. But, did that glass promote alcohol consumption by my underaged classmates and I?

Frankly, we didn’t need much promotion. The glass was much more a sign of the times rather than a prom favor. But did it send the wrong message? That’s a tough question to answer.

Will we ever be able to eliminate underage drinking? Very doubtful. After all, where there’s a will, there’s a way. It’s doubtful we’ll ever be able to squelch the teenage desire to drink alcohol. It is, after all, something adults do and kids aren’t allowed. (ADD story: I have a theory we should ban all books. Why? Because it’ll make kids want to read! I volunteer MY book to be the first on the list to be banned! Simply put, it’s human nature to want what we are not allowed.)

So, will we be able to stop the desire? No, but we can stop some of the culture around drinking. Flip through any catalog of prom favors and you’ll quickly see it’s not just beer mugs and shot glasses. Hurricane glasses, wine goblets, champagne flutes, scotch glasses, pilsners – if you can serve alcohol in it, you can get it emblazoned with your school’s prom theme.

Simply put, I think it’s shameful that companies sell this stuff. Will it directly cause minors to drink? Probably not. Does it help create the unnecessary link between celebration and alcohol consumption? Certainly. And does it give students paraphernalia they’ll then display on their keepsake shelf at home, immediately recognizable as a device used to consume alcohol? Definitely.

And let’s cut the crap…sure, you can drink water out of a wine glass, but no one does. And people don’t get served Mountain Dew in beer mugs. And a shot glass is good for absolutely nothing except liquor.

Principal’s part in this? Yeah, he/she holds some blame. As tight as school budgets are, as famous as teens are for trying to get away with pranks and jokes and all around mayhem, don’t you think it’d be smart to take a little looky see before you sign your name on the dotted line?

Who wins in this situation? The parents. They’ve made their wishes known – they want their children to be sober and alcohol free. With all the bad rap parents get for throwing keggers and overnights for drunken minors, I was really glad to hear parents standing up for some safe actions of their kids.

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