If I read another blog about how we need to protect the "Mom and Pop" liquor stores, I think I may just have to barf. There's so many things wrong with voting against 1 that I don't even know how to contain myself, so I'm not going to try. Everyone who's determined to vote no on 1 needs to take a deep breath and gain a firm grasp on reality.
Let's get first things first, liquor stores are not "Mom and Pop" stores. A "Mom and Pop" store is the family restaurant passed down generation after generation, Dad's TV Repair shop struggling to pay the rent and Uncle Jim's Tailor Shoppe where you can 'bring your new suit to get fitted for a fair price.' A Mom and Pop store is the neighborhood mechanic - the one who won't tell you to get new breaks when all you really need is a tune-up. It's the business who's owners actually live in the community.
People are so quick to attach the romantic allure of the Mom and Pop stores to any local enterprise, when sometimes what they need to do is take a step back and reassess the situation. Mom and Pops are often struggling and do deserve some forms of protection, but the liquor industry is by no means a Mom and Pop. They by no means need financial help, either. Let us also not forget that this is the same industry that sells alcohol to minors en masse; it's the same industry that sells to people who have a tendency to drive with reckless abandon. Uncle Jimmy's Boozetown just doesn't pass the "Mom and Pop" sniff test.
I'm not trying to suggest we go back to the days of prohibition, but to suggest liquor stores deserve special protection from competition is ridiculous. Think about it - do we protect florists? Do we protect the town bank? Do we protect the local video store, bakery or fruit market? How about the local deli? Butcher? Convenient store? Pharmacy? Last time I went to the supermarket, there was a florist, bank, 24 hour ATM, DVD machine, pharmacy, full-service bakery and all the fruit anyone could hope to buy. There's also books, magazines, make-up, pots and pans and all sorts of other non-edible items. Heck, my supermarket of choice is open 24 hours a day, Monday through Friday, and you can buy cheap gas right in the parking lot.
Again, people need to take a step back and take one serious dose of reality. Here's some reality: my friend and fellow thespian, who I've worked with on two separate occasions, lost his father last December. His Dad just happened to own the family florist shop, handed down from generation to generation. It's one of the oldest businesses in all of New Bedford - and one of just two or three florists in a huge city. My friend constantly complained of his conundrum - he has a degree in Theater from UMASS Amherst and wants to pursue his dreams. However, he knows his grandmother would "haunt him forever" if he gave up on the business. One day I asked, "why don't you just hire another hand then?" He couldn't afford to, the business was just barely staying afloat as is - and it didn't seem to be from a lack of costumers.
Meanwhile, here's another story: my much older brother's best friend in High School had parents who owned a small, hole-in-the-wall liquor store in Lynn. The business is small in square footage, in an economically depressed area and has lots of local competition. Yet, his friend lived in the most exclusive area of Lynnfield, one of the most exclusive towns in the state. They drove Lincolns and had a grand atrium when you walked into their house that was quite eye-opening for a little kid. Are people really proposing that my brother's friend deserved special protection, the florist shop be damned? Is liquor really where people have come together to collectively say, "this far, no futher?"
People are mounting campaigns to protect the liquor industry, and for what? They don't like the grocery lobby? Well, it's not as if the liquor stores in Massachusetts haven't raised millions - easily. And it's not as if the liquor lobby is one that deserves the common progressive's support. However, let's look at this question rationally: will the passage of Question 1 lead to the destruction of an entire industry? Liquor stores exist all around the country, despite the fact that most states allow the sale of wine (and beer) at grocery stores. I lived right outside of Washington D.C., in Alexandria, for several months slightly over a year ago. There were plenty of packies, despite the grocery stores being chalk filled with beer and wine. Liquor stores aren't going to go away anymore than banks.
If people are so worried about capitalism run amok, focus on real solutions. The problem isn't grocery stores selling wine, it's grocery stores paying their employees in nickels and dimes, while relying on the Government to pick up the healthcare tab. Banning wine from grocery stores seems so out of scope in addressing the problems of today that I can't even believe this is up for debate. It all boils down to this: if someone wants to buy a bottle of Merlot at Shaw's, that's their own damn perogative.