Opinion

Bowers: Potential for grocery store liquor sales is a troubling proposal



When I was in the newsroom the other day, I came across an article in Willamette Week that spoke of the potential of Oregon allowing grocery stores and bulk retail giants to sell hard alcohol.

It doesn’t surprise me that it would soon come down to this. I mean, the move is being pushed by corporations. So, can’t blame them, really. After all, as corporations, they are legally obligated to make a profit for their shareholders. And finding new markets is old hat to them.

Yeah, there has been talk about how people will now only be making one-stop-shopping trips instead of two, but that argument covers up a couple of the real motives.

First, making trips to the grocery store for hard alcohol would mean more chances for these corporations to get you to buy more of their stuff, like orange juice, soda, 48-roll toilet paper packs, steaks, chips, etc.

It is similar to the tactic grocery stores use by putting milk at the farthest place from the front: They know everyone needs milk, so why not have people go through all their other goods along the way in case you “need” something else. And this is no conspiracy either; any grocer will tell you this when you work for them.

Second, allowing the sale of hard liquor at grocery stores and bulk retail giants would be taking the sales away from the state and privatizing the system — taking the $500 million pie, even when Oregon Liquor Control Commission and industry-price data show the state system sells cheaper than Washington and California, which are both privatized.

And “What’s good for business is good for the rest of us,” isn’t it?

In this case, I don’t think it is. This issue just seems such a small part of a bigger, societal picture.

First off, the state-owned liquor stores are only open certain hours of a day, unlike the grocery stores and chains that are open late or, if they’re open 24 hours, until they have to stop selling beer and wine at 2 a.m.

So to get liquor now, you pretty much have to plan ahead of time, especially before a [email protected]@Or go at halftime of the Blazers-Spurs game #[email protected]@

If grocery stores and bulk retailers are able to carry and sell liquor, I think this just contributes to a problem where people who are wasted from partying and run out of alcohol make a trip to the store to get more. And not only beer or wine, but perhaps hard alcohol, too.

I see a couple things coming from this: increased drinking and driving, as well as perhaps putting people more in danger from alcohol poisoning and/or [email protected]@Meh…@@

I guess, in my mind, it comes across as irresponsible of the state to let this happen, allowing grocery stores and bulk retailers to sell hard alcohol. It just seems too easy somehow.

It is as if the state would be contributing to more alcohol consumption due to the easy way it would be obtainable.

Personally, I like the state having the hand that it does in liquor sales. I think the regulations in place make sense as well as the times the shops are able to sell liquor. Well, I would prefer they didn’t stay open as long, but otherwise, I am OK with their operations.

Getting back to my earlier point, I think more could be done on a cultural level. I think the state needs to step in a bit more when it comes to regulating alcohol consumption and crafting a more responsible drinking culture. Because the alcohol manufacturers aren’t going to do it; if they are corporate-owned, they can’t. Saying “Drink responsibly” is not the same as having a system of laws in place that make that so.

For example, having grocery stores stop selling beer and wine at 8 p.m. on Fridays and 6 p.m. on Saturdays and no sales on Sunday. @@Wow. Last time you’re going to Wednesday Rennie’s [email protected]@Granted, this would require a bit of planning when it comes to partying, but it would definitely cut down on people already drunk from not only getting into their car to get more alcohol, but also keeping people who are already drunk from getting more [email protected]@Disagree. To make my point, I’m going to drive over to your house intoxicated tomorrow night and demand more [email protected]@

I think I am just tired of seeing so many people injured or killed from drinking and driving accidents. Such a pointless waste.

It would help, too, if there was more public transportation — like taxis and bus services — offered for people who are smashed and are leaving parties and bars. I think University students are lucky, though, that they have their own Designated Driver Shuttle — which is free — to get them [email protected]@Except that it’s NEVER convenient and normally requires a sober person to [email protected]@

Perhaps if OSPIRG wasn’t getting $170,000, that money could instead — among many things — go to building a larger fleet of DDS vans to bring drunk students home [email protected]@Best idea in the [email protected]@

That’s part of the bigger picture, though; one that I think, for a start, DDS could do more to make itself better known to students as a mainstream and acceptable way of getting home [email protected]@Odd ending… thoughts, [email protected]@


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