Friday, April 20, 2012


This is Bea Bell, and I think that I’m a fairly tolerate woman who accepts quite a few things that the Twenty-first century has to offer.  I struggle with technology but I still try to keep up to date with it.  Yet, I’ve got to say that there are some changes in this modern society that just get me riled.
I recently found out that the retail store, Dollar General, is test marketing beer sales in their stores.  In Indianapolis, Indiana, 30 stores have applied for liquor licenses.  I’m all for good business practices but liquor sales in this particular chain store is totally irresponsible. The majority of the 30 stores that are doing the test marketing are in low-income areas where there is no shortage of places to buy alcohol already.
This chain store defines its mission as "For Customers... Price, Quality and Great Prices; For Employees... Respect and Opportunity; For Shareholders... A Superior Return; and for Communities... A Better Life." Call me crazy, but I don’t see alcohol sales as providing a better way of life for communities.
Unfortunately, this chain of stores is not alone with the liquor sales. The White Castle hamburger chain is getting into the act.  The ninety-year old burger chain is testing beer and wine sales in Lafayette, Indiana, which is home to Purdue University.  According to a Bloomberg Business Week article, customers can buy a glass of wine for $4.50 or a domestic beer for $3.00. Can you believe that this is White Castle I’m talking about? 
It doesn’t stop there.  Burger King recently opened “Whooper Bars” in Miami, Las Vegas and Kansas City, and these bars sell beer.  Even Star Bucks has begun to sell beer and wine in a few of their Seattle stores.  Beer goes for $5.00 a bottle and wine can cost as much as $9.00 a glass!  
Even though these stores claim to be giving the customers what they want, my guess is that the real reason for these liquor sales is that they’re trying to get a bigger share of our limited dollars.  My concern is that there may be no place left in America that can be considered a family establishment.  If kids can sit in a White Castle or Burger King and watch the adults drink I think there is a negative message finding its way into young minds.
Alcohol sales in fast food restaurants are nothing new.  Pizza Hut has been doing it for years in their dine-in restaurants, but I don’t believe we need more places where children are exposed to alcohol.   Just think about it.  If you’re a kid who is under-aged and wants to drink it’s much less conspicuous getting an older person to purchase beer for you from a Dollar General store than it is waiting for them outside of a liquor store. 
Millions of people drink responsibly, but I really don’t want the irresponsible element taking their bad habits into family-friendly establishments.  I understand that business is based on the dollars you can bring in and not the high-sounding message of company mission statement as in the case of Dollar General.  Business is about money and these businesses are making it obvious that the welfare of our children does not count.  The slogan must be:  more drunks mean more money, so bring ‘em on.
I know that I’m ranting, but I just can’t help it.  I have some fond memories of White Castle as I was growing up.  I do recall seeing drunks came to White Castle to quench their thirst, but for the munchies not for a beer or wine.  Of course I might be concerned for nothing.  If  these places keep marking up the price of beer hard drinkers won’t be able to afford the burgers and the beer anyway.
Just muse on it.

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