I Take No Responsibility…Now, Give me Money!!

Where does personal responsibility end and corporate responsibility begin? For me, this question has always been answered by determining who was primarily responsible for causing the effect. So, if I drink too much zinfandel, walk to my car, get in, start the ignition, drive away, then break my neck when I drive into a tree I pretty much have to identify myself as the causing the effect. I mean who else could be responsible for this?

Do I point to the person who first introduced me to Zinfandel? What about the car manufacturer who didn’t create a way for my vehicle to recognize that I was unfit to drive? Then there is the vendor who sold me the Zinfandel. No….this doesn’t work. I caused the effect. I’m responsible.

We who tend to fall on the moderate to liberal side of the aisle usually keep a close eye on corporations. Many have a history of screwing consumers, shareholders and employees. Yet, holding large corporations or whole industries responsible for the irresponsible acts of youth seems hardly fair.

Yet, this report demonstrates that a number of lawsuits filed against large alcohol companies seek significant damages for the companies’ alleged roles in alcohol related accidents and alcohol-related stupidity.

Most of these lawsuits claim that alcohol companies are aggressively marketing to youth and are therefore in violation of a number of state laws and responsible for the effects of alcohol-induced stupors that come when minors drink.

"The suits seek court-ordered limits on beverage promotion, such as restricting ads on TV shows and publications with large youth audiences.      They also seek damages for parents or kids who paid for alcohol illegally consumed by minors."

I had to read this last sentence three or four times. Does this mean, according to those who filed these suits, that if they win this lawsuit all I have to do is claim I’ve bought alcohol for minors and I’ll get a payout.

Does this seem…well…ludicrous?

The wine industry likely has little to worry about. You’d be hard pressed to find any marketing or ads that speak to anyone under 45 years of age. But many of those companies involved in these suits, while exposed mainly for their marketing of beer and spirits, do have interest in wine. Diageo is one such company having to defend it’s marketing practices from the purveyors of the "No Responsibility Have We" view of the world.

Posted In: Wine Business


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