Thursday, July 8, 2010
The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board has introduced wine bottle vending machines in grocery stores as "an added level of convenience." Customers provide identification, look into a camera so an actual, real live person in a call center can confirm that they match their ID, and blow into a breathalyzer to prove they are not already drunk.
Pennsylvania's liquor laws are have been around since 1933. Currently, wine and liquor must be purchased in state-owned stores, and it's even illegal to bring in alcohol purchased in neighboring states. The argument is that the state gets discounts for buying in bulk that are then passed on to the consumer, and that the state employees who run the stores are better at preventing sales to minors and people who have been drinking.
In reality, it just makes it a huge pain to purchase alcohol. So of course, the obvious answer is for the state to solve the issue with a vending machine.