India's Empties

We posted earlier about how a blogger named Dave Prager tried to figure out why the buses in Delhi kill so many people. Now he’s back to explain how Delhi’s upscale alcohol ads create demand for his empty liquor bottles, and give his maid a nice side income. [%comments]


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  1. sram says:

    This reminds me of the time when we drank vodka from my friend’s glass and replaced it with water. He even complimented the makers of absolut for crafting a fine drink.

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  2. econobiker says:

    Similar to #1 sram with the Absolut story:

    In college, I had a roommate named Reg, who loved Absolut. But Reg made the mistake of bringing a near full big bottle of it (at the time which cost $35-$40!) to a college party. During the party, the liquor was mooched endlessly from him and, while he was heralded as a “great guy” by all the moochers, it perturbed him to end up with only about 1/8 of the bottle left. Reg vowed that this loss would never happen again.

    The day after the party, he poured the remaining 1/8 into an empty smaller Absolut bottle and asked me to procure the cheapest vodka possible should I purchase alcohol prior to him (we were under age 21 -of course). The next time I was served, along with my specific purchase, I was able to buy a plastic bottle (with the same volume of the big Absolut bottle) of off- brand -almost generic brand- vodka for $6.99. Reg paid me back double to secure my silence and, with an evil glint in his eye, proceeded to funnel the swill into the big Absolut bottle.

    The next party we went to, Reg carried the small bottle hidden in his jacket and the stealth big Absolut bottle in a grocery bag from the liquor store where I had secured the cheap vodka from – which helped imply that the Absolut was newly purchased. With a exaggerated flourish, Reg proceeded to remove the evil bottle from the bag, put it in the center of the main party table and say “Absolut is on me tonight!” to the applause of the mooching students. Again Reg was heralded as a “great guy.” and by the end of the night, the bottle was completely emptied.

    The next day, many of the partakers of the bottle reported that they had splitting headaches- the same type you get from drinking cheap alcohol. Upon hearing that, Reg said to me: “Hmm, must have been something they drank.” and smiled maniacally…

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  3. Grant says:

    yeah, we’ve all done some variation of the “cheap vodka in the expensive bottle” trick. That’s why vodka is an inferior spirit. Quality comes more through marketing than taste.

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  4. Kevin says:


    Well, no, you can tell later, because the cheap kind will give you a terrible hangover…

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  5. Garvit Sah says:

    Vodka being a neutral spirit, it is difficult to tell one apart from the other. This coupled with the fact that vodka is mostly mixed with flavored drinks like fruit juices, makes it easy to pass off cheap vodka as expensive one.

    Whiskey, in India, is a different story. With most people regularly drinking different brands, many are able to differentiate one from the other (atleast the local brands). However, on seeing an expensive imported bottle, few would dare think the drink not to be right even if it tastes like some cheap liquor.

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  6. right side of the river says:

    I remember a friend of mine doing the same with cigarettes. After having bummed quite a few Benson & Hedges (Rs. 50 for a pack of 20) from various people, he took an empty B&H pack and filled it up with Embassy Filter (Rs 1.50 for a pack of 20) and then would hand out 3-4 at a time. Of course with cigarettes you can immediately tell because of the printing, but we all laughed at the ingenuity.

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