My wife and I are enjoying our 10th anniversary for a few more days. As part of that “celebration” we’re getting a lot of hiking in. I’m not a big hiker, but it seems to be the thing to do here.
After all take a look at this:
After spending hours and hours staring at a computer screen it’s great to get back to nature.
What you don’t in this picture was the airplane nip (those mini 50ml bottles of alcohol) that someone didn’t throw away at the trail head. I know, of all the injustices in the world, this isn’t exactly an MLM scam, but picking up your litter in a place like this should be common sense. I’m not even sure what you are doing at a trail like this if you don’t know that.
While all these thoughts were in my head, my wife was expressing them. She then went to the next one, “What on Earth are you doing drinking on a hike?” That didn’t require any clarification for me. It’s not only more likely to cause you to slip and fall, but it’s also dehydrating. Either one could be a problem.
But the question, I had is, “Who is the heathen who buys airplane nips?”
I understand that many people spend money in ways that I wouldn’t. People buy bottle water. People buy high heels with red soles (or other fashion). People buy tech gadgets that they almost never use. (Okay, the last one IS a way I spend money.)
I just don’t understand airplane nips. Typically they run around $2 or $2.50 for 50ml for a middle of the road brand of alcohol. That’s between $40-50 per liter. Often you can get a 750ml bottle for around $15 or what amounts to $20 per liter. If you opt for the big 1.75 size, you can usually spend around $25, which comes out to be around $14 a liter. The big one might even cheaper.
I can see buying for convenience. When you want less than 2 ounces (50ml) of alcohol, why buy a huge bottle? However, who is the person who says, “I’m going to go to the liquor store to pick up less than 2 ounces of alcohol, do you want something while I’m out?” It just seems like a nonsensical amount of alcohol to buy at a nonsensical price.
Obviously there’s a market for them. I just don’t understand it. Anyone out there buy airplane nips? If so, A) Sorry for calling you a heathen and B) Please let me know why in the comments.
People who want to recreate the experience of flying? Presumably they sit in uncomfortable chairs for hours at a time pretending the seatbelt light is on, and pee in a vaccuum equipped porta potty.
People who want to fill an adult pinata? I actually saw that at work. They also put in bottles of advil for the hangover the next morning.
People who want to offer individual servings to guests, of an alcohol they don’t personally drink?
People who want to try an alcohol they don’t normally drink?
There seems to be a small market for them, but based on the amount of shelf space dedicated thereto, it’s niche for sure.
I’ll tell you why I have/had a gazillion of them. Last year New Hampshire got a huge allocation of very hard to find whiskey (less than 10,000 bottles worldwide and NH got maybe 200+. Retailed for $299.99 (I bought a lot of them – some to drink, some to sell on the “gray” market). New Hampshire also does a promotion twice a year that for every $150 you spend, you get $25 gift card. See my dilemma? For each rare bottle I got, I was $.01 away from an extra $25. I had to buy a nip for each of those rare bottles. I probably threw most of them away. I literally just grabbed the first one I could find from the $1 bin by the register. Didn’t care what it was.
Also, I guess my whiskey obsession and appreciation coincides with your question about what people spend money on that others wouldn’t. I care zero about fashion, latest technologies and animals as pets – I spend money on family, my giant salt water aquarium and my alcohol collection (and my 2-3 gambling trips per year). I travel a little, but even that isn’t of big interest to me.
Sarah (Smile & Conquer) says
This makes me think of my Dad. He used to do this non-sensical thing where he would buy the small (375ml) mickey bottles of liquor and then pour them into the large 26 ounce bottles he kept in the liquor cabinet. I remember catching him doing it once and hassled him until he finally changed his ways. And, he’s not even bad with money! I have no idea what logic he was using but it made no sense.
Some countries have blue laws for alcohol and if you have a 375ml or higher bottle, you are considered breaking the law. So if you have a few of those little bottles you are not breaking the law. Also I can see it if you are looking to make a single drink and don’t like that kind of alcohol. I don’t like blue caracau (sp?) but use it in one drink I had once. Why not pick that up without the major investment in something that will spend forever in the liquor shelf for the rest of my life?
I had a cookie recipe that called for rum & brandy. The little bottles were the perfect amount & I didn’t want or need more.
I buy them to take to large events. It’s cheaper to spike a moderately overpriced soda/hit chocolate than pay for a wildly overpriced alcoholic drink. It’s a frugal hack.
I was at the store buying spiced rum, for $18 for a 750 ml bottle. I am not a big hard liquor person so it will just sit for a couple years until used up. My local liquor store has the same brand for $1-50 ml bottles. Seemed like a good deal to me and picked up 3.
You got it all wrong, nips is one of the most cost effective ways to buy alcohol, specially premium brands. A lot of stores sell them at $1.00 or $1.50, which in many cases makes it priced less per liter than larger 750ml or 1 liter bottles of the same liquor. It’s a way to address the lower end of the market, who has the liquor industry’s most valuable customers – folks that need of a drink now, but simply don’t have the money for a larger bottle.
Lazy Man says
I never looked into the premium brands, but I can see how the pricing could be close. I still think buying in bulk is where the sweet spot is, but I can see how that works for the lower end of the market. Though if you are on the lower end of the market and need to conserve spending on a drink now, I would think something like a no-name 250ml, 500ml, or 750ml would be the better option.
Without a doubt @Lazy Man, if a primary goal is the highest amount of ethanol per $, then a larger bottle of a bargain brand is your best bet. Some go for $4/liter for a larger bottle of 80 proof vodka or gin. Even better deals on 190 proof. You can’t get there with nips. But just because you have no money for a large bottle doesn’t mean you have no taste preference. So nips sometimes becomes the only option if you only have a few dollars in your pocket and it must be Absolute or Tito’s. Don’t forget a $2 can of Sprite for a chaser.
I would break fingers for littering on hiking trails…
Lazy Man says
If you need a chaser then maybe the taste preference shouldn’t be your biggest thing when you only have a few dollars in your pocket. I’m getting too “judgy” here, I guess. I apply my own spending habits and think that I’d compromise on the taste for a while to save up for the better value in the future.