E-books and rum replace faucets and champagne in UK’s official basket of goods

Pour a little out for champagne, which was ousted from the UK’s basket of goods.
Pour a little out for champagne, which was ousted from the UK’s basket of goods.
Image: AP Photo / Jan Pitman
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The UK’s Office for National Statistics announced some changes to the basket of goods it uses to calculate inflation, reflecting shifts in British consumer habits. Here are some highlights:

Everything but the kitchen sink

The basket of goods can appear to include almost anything Britons buy, but it no longer includes the kitchen sink. A pair of faucets was removed from the basket because prices for basin taps, as they’re called, are all over the place.

Rum replaces champagne

The government said it’s adding rum “to cover spirits that are drunk by younger people better.” Champagne, meanwhile, is getting the ax because bubbly sales in the UK are falling.

E-books finally make it

Digital books are now part of the basket because they “represent a significant and growing market.” Between e-books and rum, inflation is now driven by a more youthful Britain.

Daily disposable contact lenses win out

Instead of longer-lasting eyewear, the government is going with daily disposables, “reflecting a change in the type of contact lens used and the way in which they are sold.”

Pub sandwiches can be hot

Previously, only cold sandwiches served at pubs were counted in the basket of goods: “The rise of pub chains and eating options in pubs more generally has led to greater expenditure on hot rolls and sandwiches with outlets moving away from the traditional cold roll on the bar.”

Hot chocolate gets the attention it deserves

The government said it was adding hot chocolate in order to give hot drinks, in general, more of a presence in the basket of goods. Tea and coffee apparently aren’t enough.

Charcoal barbecues replace gas grills

This is a seasonal item, typically bought when the temperature gets warmer. Charcoal grills were added “with the aim of improving the collection of BBQs particularly at the start and end of the March to August collection period.”

Recordable and rewritable CDs are still there

Though the government is pretty good about discarding goods that are no longer purchased, we noticed that recordable CDs are still in the basket of goods. In fairness, so is digital music.