Friday, December 12, 2008

Meme compliance!

Several days back on another journal I asked people to tell me what to blog about. One suggestion was that I blog about local or state politics as a counterpoint to my frantic blogging about national politics for the past, oh... six months.

Interestingly enough, this was a question I was asked during a job interview. I mentioned Hoosiers for Beverage Choices. So I'll talk about them here, too!

If you read the link I just gave, you'll note that Indiana does not allow certain kinds of retailers to sell alcohol on Sundays under certain circumstances. There are problems with this for many reasons. One, it's inconvenient for people who do their shopping on Sundays (like, say, people who work during the week) to be unable to buy alcohol to drink or cook with while they're there. Extra travel means extra gas money, and the likelihood of paying higher prices for cold booze at a liquor store when you'd have been just as happy to buy it warm at the grocery or pharmacy and stick it in your fridge later.

There's also the obvious influence of Christian Temperance-style sensibilities. Don't sell booze in grocery stores on the Lord's day! Never mind that it doesn't actually stop people from drinking on those days since they can still get it in restaurants and bars, or y'know. Buy it on another day so you can drink it on Sunday. But why the hell should I have to adjust my shopping habits to fit the religious sensibilities of a group that--by and large--doesn't really concern itself with "demon rum" anymore?

However, there is another side to this. The guys interviewing me mentioned that there were actually discussions going on in the legislature currently about this issue, and one thing to consider is that hearing from "big box" stores like SuperMegaUltraKroger or TurboExtremeHyperMeijer that they're being discriminated against so that owners of restaurants (which, unless they are franchises themselves, have only a slim chance of staying in business) have an advantage one day of the week is not exactly compelling. However, some liquor store owners don't want those laws repealed either. According to The Evansville Courier Press, "a common contention is that any boost from Sunday sales will be exceeded by the costs associated with staying open an extra day."

So it's not actually as simple an issue as it seems. It's not just Prohibition-throwbacks trying to keep people from drinking on the Lord's day, though it certainly seems to have started that way. There actually are decent arguments on both sides (even if, for the sake of my own ability to buy booze more cheaply and conveniently, I still fall in on the side of HBC).

All in all we had an interesting talk about it at my interview, and I think they were impressed that I actually care about things in the state legislature's sphere of influence. Maybe you'll be impressed, too! Who knows!

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