A genuine pricing mistake caused a stampede of customers to surge at a leading supermarket. Been there, heard that. The lure of a cut-down price sofa can prove irresistible to Ikea customers. This time it was a supermarket giant, selling three crates of alcohol for £11, halving what the real offer price was supposed to be.

The situation spiralled out of control when news of the rock-bottom price spread like wildfire, thanks not only to the very conventional but always successful word of mouth, but to social media. Many customers used social networking sites to alert friends, family and even strangers so they could take advantage of the promotion.

It was a let’s milk the supermarkets while we can mentality. Is social media fast becoming a very powerful tool that goes beyond the social divides or English reserve? Or is it just another warning sign of boozy Britain’s increasingly unhealthy attitude to drink? With the number of alcohol related admissions to A&E having doubled since 2002 to a shocking 1 million people a year, can we afford to make mistakes like this?

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