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Saving Gas Money on Wining and Dining

by on January 25, 2010

If one wants to acquire wine to enjoy with your Doritos and cookie dough, one shouldn’t have to make a second trip.  The freedom to purchase fermented grape juice on the same receipt as one’s other groceries might not be explicitly guaranteed by the Bill of Rights.  But the prohibition against selling certain types of booze in certain outlets remains a minor state-inflicted hassle.  Happily, WGRZ notes that New Yorkers may soon be able to make room in their carts for jugs or boxes.  Oh yeah, and you snobs can clear space for glass bottles with corks:


If Governor Paterson has his way, New York State will join 35 other States that allow grocery stores to sell wine at the same place you buy your Cheerios.


Cheerios?  Hmmm.  While wine seems like more of a drink to enjoy during brunch at the earliest, you are entitled to have a glass or swig at any time you’d like.  Still, the freedom to make simultaneous purchases is opposed by retailers who would face greater competition and be forced to do everything in their power to make customers happy:


Making wine available at close to 19,000 more outlets around the State does not sit well with many independent liquor store owners.


Burt Notarius with Premier Wines says more licenses without more money to fund problems alcohol can cause, is not an answer.


Yeah, but alcohol doesn’t cause problems: people who drink too much and surrender self-control do.  We’ve been over this before with guns and crime.  Maybe a wine-seller shouldn’t badmouth alcohol, either.  Plus, is the state supposed to provide anti-obesity programs because fast food restaurants are allowed to exist?  Shhhh: don’t give them ideas.


Of course, more licenses also means more outlets struggling to attract consumer dollars.  That’s only bad news for those trying to receive said dollars.  As for the wine purchasers, having too many options can only be considered a downside for people frightened of making decisions.


Those of an excessively nervous disposition aside, the public should get as many choices as conceivable.  By the same logic of the current law, butchers should be able to protest the existence of supermarket meat counters.  Instead, specialty retailers should quit whining and emphasize advantages such as knowledge, service, extensive selection, and a pleasant environment.  Basically, booze outposts should continue to function as candy stores for tippling adults.


Premier should just keep doing what it does well, namely by offering a delightfully overwhelming selection to appreciative patrons.  Merchants who work exclusively in alcohol should save the energy they expend fretting about supermarkets.  They can use it to target shoppers who recognize vineyard names and don’t want to buy hooch at the same place they pick up kitty litter.  If it helps, the government is trying to assuage the jumpy limited sellers in question by letting them add food to the shelves:


The Governor says he is willing to compromise by letting the wine stores sell snacks and a few other things they never used to be able to sell.


Sadly, permitting a retailer to stock what they want is novel in this state.  On top of that, New York wouldn’t change the policy as a means of encouraging economic liberty, unless one is referring to their liberty to take more currency from businesses:


The Governor’s proposal could add nearly 100 million dollars in new franchise fees to the states bottom line.


So, Paterson may not be motivated by doing what’s right for the people: it looks as if he wants to harvest more of our money, which seems about normal.  But it’s possible that he’d be helping us anyway despite his dubious motivation.


He’d be making shopping easier.  While few perceive him to be a capitalist pig, Paterson is nonetheless promisingly suggesting that the government shouldn’t be able to tell us what we can buy and where.  It would be nice if we could choose where we get our alcohol instead of dealing with a system where beer is suitable for purchase at Tops or Wegmans but wine is not.


In changing the regulation to allow us to do so, Albany would terminate a slight but telling example of what a bureaucratic pain it is to live here.  Being allowed to purchase Jim Beam in the bulk aisle can serve as the next goal.

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