Got a release today from the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, calling my attention to a NYT editorial headlined "A Dry Sunday in Connecticut," and saying that in case I wanted to write anything about Sunday sales of liquor, to consider the following:
- Archaic Blue Laws make no sense in a 21st-century economy where Sunday has become the second-busiest shopping day of the week.
- Beer, wine and spirits are already permitted for on-premise consumption at bars and restaurants seven days a week. Allowing the sale of beer, wine and spirits at off-premise retail outlets on Sunday would simply give adult consumers more choices and added convenience.
- The state will benefit from the increased tax revenues generated by an additional day of package store sales. Contrary to some who believe that Sunday sales will just spread six days of sales over seven, recent implementation of Sunday Sales in 12 states (Colorado’s repeal was too recent for data) shows that in 2006 Sunday sales generated $212 million in new sales for retailers. This figure is expected to increase annually. See economic analysis of those states here.
- No legislation forces any package store to open on Sundays. It simply gives store owners the right to decide for themselves which days to open.
- Sunday liquor sales will not lead to increased drunk driving. According to an analysis using government data on alcohol-related fatalities, there is no statistical difference in states that allow Sunday liquor sales compared to those that do not.
Which provokes me to say,
- First, we have no plans to do any editorials on the subject. I doubt we would reach consensus, partly because I'm such a mossback. I miss having a day of rest, so pretty much anything that is still proscribed on Sunday, I'm for keeping it. And before you secularists have a fit and fall in it about "establishment of religion," yadda-yadda, I don't much care which day of the week you pick. Make it Tuesday, if that makes you feel less threatened and oppressed. Just pick a day on which we can all kick back and not be expected to run around and get things done, just because we can. And don't give me that stuff about how I don't have to shop just because the stores are open. Yes, I do. There is so much pressure on my time that I can't possibly get everything expected of me done in six days, and if you give me a seventh on which to do them, I'll have to use it. And if you don't understand that, there's no point it our talking about it. The only way to have a day of rest is for there to be a day in which we roll up the sidewalks, so to speak, and everybody understands that you couldn't do it that day, so they don't expect you to. Now I know we're not going back to those days, but I am not inclined to add anything else to the list of stuff going on 24/7. You remind me that "Sunday has become the second-busiest shopping day of the week," and you think that's an argument for doing something else on Sunday? You're kidding, right? It just makes me tired thinking about it. Get somebody else to write your editorial; you're barking up the wrong tree with me. And all of you kids, get off of my lawn! Dagnabit.
- Is your use of the term "archaic blue laws" meant to suggest that there's another category of spiffy, modern blue laws that you don't mind so much? Or are you just being redundant?
- Correct me if I'm wrong, but your point about increased tax revenues means that people will be buying more liquor, right? I see how that's a good thing for you and the fine folks at the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, but how is that a good thing for the rest of us?
- Yeah, right — nobody would be forced to open on Sunday. This reminds me of when I worked in Jackson, TN, and the owner of the largest department store in town fought against lifting the blue laws because he said that if you lifted them, the big chain stores would come to town and drive him out of business. Besides, he liked giving his workers Sunday off. And he was Jewish, by the way. The newspaper ignored him (even though he was its biggest advertiser, for those of you who keep track of such things) and kept advocating for lifting blue laws, that eventually happened, the big chain stores came to town, he had to open on Sundays, and he soon went out of business anyway. When it comes to competition, folks, "choice" can be a myth. If your competitors are all doing it, you have to.
- I'll take your word for it on the drunk driving. Although it seems a bit weird that you'd be selling MORE liquor (remember the tax revenues thing), but people won't be driving drunk more. Whatever.
Just look upon me as a disgruntled beer drinker — one who was perfectly happy buying enough on Saturday to make it through the weekend, and thinks anybody who wasn't organized enough or self-aware enough to know ahead of time that he might want a beer on Sunday is pretty pathetic. Dagnabit.