SWIRL: There is a ridiculous new turn in Pennsylvania’s expanding program of placing wine vending machines in supermarkets. As you’ll recall from my earlier post on the kiosks, when someone attempts to buy a bottle from the machines, his or her identity is verified electronically by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board and the transaction is videotaped. Well now, the union representing state liquor store managers is protesting to the PLCB for putting a vending machine in a store that serves the University of Pennsylvania community in Philadelphia.
The argument is that the machine encourages underage drinking. Here we go again – the threat-of-underage-drinking being invoked by a group pushing its own agenda. As consumeraffairs.com reports, “The union, of course, represents the people who sell wine, beer and liquor in liquor stores, rather than machines.” Here in New York, I live near Columbia University, and there must be at least a dozen stores that sell beer, wine and alcohol within just a few blocks of the campus. I can’t recall any complaints that they are promoting underage drinking.