Wal-Mart to install wine machines
The retailer will put kiosks in its Pennsylvania stores by working around strict state laws.
Wine bottles from a vending machine? Interesting idea. And Wal-Mart (WMT) is all over this one, at least in parts of Pennsylvania.
The retailer has received a green light from the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board to put wine kiosks in stores across the state, CBS Pittsburgh reports.
The machines will reportedly have more than 50 varieties of wine. But before you buy, you'll need to swipe your driver's license and puff into a Breathalyzer.
The machines are already drawing some fairly ridiculous concerns, according to CBS Pittsburgh. One resident worried the machines would make it easier for underage people to get wine. Teenagers are clamoring to get their grubby paws on a pinot grigio, you know.
"I don't think it's a good idea, because I think it's too tempting for younger people," the resident told CBS.
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Wired puts it all into perspective. You can't buy wine in a grocery store in Pennsylvania. You have to go to state-owned stores instead.
The vending machines allow wine to be sold at Wal-Mart and other supermarkets because of a technological work-around: A state employee monitors the vending machines with a video camera.
A customer shows ID, breathes into the Breathalyzer and faces the camera, writes Charlie Sorrel. The state employee checks the ID and Breathalyzer results and approves the sale.
"Clearly these laws aren’t meant to protect the people," Sorrel writes. "Rather, a state monopoly on booze is a clear money-spinner for the local government. Still, the work-around is admirable, in a high-tech, convoluted fashion, which is exactly the kind of work-around we like."
The chairman of the Pennsylvania liquor board describes the machines as "developed for the average consumer who wants a nice bottle of wine with their steak and seafood."
You have to admire the way Wal Mart wrings the last dollar out of a market. However if the voters in that state want to buy wine with their groceries, why not just change the law?
If the voters don't want this, then this is a perfect example of gov't bureaucrats thinking they know better than the people and the gov't is not listening to the voting majorities' voice. Which is disturbing to think about what that implies.
Teenagers are not interested in bottles of wine to get drunk. They are interested in hard liquor and beer. Furthermore, every single sale will be monitered by a state employee anyways, so what is the problem??
But what I do not understand is the breathalyzer test? Why would someone need to be sober in order to buy wine? There could be a different person driving, so the excuse that we do not want drunk drivers is not valid. Furthermore, do you blow into the same hole as everybody else? Or do you use a straw? What if they run out of straws?
This is not a new concept. There are already supermarkets in PA that have installed these. I work at one. You blow into a round knob on the machine from up to 12 inches away. You never touch the machine. There is absolutely no way an underage person can purchase from this machine because half of the overage people cant. The machine is not perfected and still has major problems. It has a camera on it at all times from the PLCB. This article is nothing more than filler between the major news articles of the day.
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The solid report comes a month after the retailer closed all of its Canadian operations.
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