Would You Buy Wine From a Vending Machine?

BlogHer Original Post

I've heard of wine in a box, but this is ridiculous. I was talking to my neighbor this morning at the bus stop. I said, "I am going to go home and write about the wine vending machines in Pennsylvania," and she freaked out. Apparently when she lived in Pennsylvania, the liquor laws were so confusing that she used to drive to Delaware to buy beer. I thought that sounded extreme, but when I asked my friend Lori, who lives in Philadelphia, what she thought of the wine vending machines, she said, "I buy my wine where I buy my gas: in New Jersey."

I love Lori. Apparently I should also spend more time in New Jersey. Here is the rub -- according to Kathy Matheson, Pennsylvania's laws used to look like this:

Individuals can buy wine and liquor for home consumption only in state-owned stores staffed by public employees. Private beer distributors sell cases and kegs only. Licensed corner stores, delis, bars and restaurants can sell beer to go, but only up to two six-packs per customer.

Um. Okay. I thought Virginia was being weird because I can't buy wine and beer at the liquor store. At least I can get my beer and wine at the grocery store. I can tell you already that my beef with the wine kiosk is that I am a terrible wine snob, and I would probably stand there and be angry at my limited choices. Fortunately, I don't have to worry about it. You are probably wondering how Pennsylvania plans on stopping underage children from buying wine out of a vending machine. I'll let Robin Shreeves tell you.

Here’s how it works. A customer inserts a driver’s license and then looks into a camera. Someone at a call center makes a quick judgment about if the person on camera is the same person on the driver’s license. Then, the customer must breathe into a Breathalyzer. According to the NY Daily News, state officials say the whole process takes 20 seconds. Really? The person matching the driver’s license to the face peering into the camera makes a determination in less than 20 seconds? Remember that 20 seconds also includes the time for the Breathalyzer to register.

Um. Okay. That sounds like a recipe for disaster. If I were 18, I'd be planning my wine party now. Let's see what the Pennsylvania bloggers are saying about these new wine kiosks.

Blogosphere Reaction to Wine Vending Machines

ClumberKim says:

It's D-U-M-B DUMB, and for the way Pennsylvania deals with alcohol purchases, that's saying something. We set the bar on dumb pretty high around here.

And from an entire site dedicated to abolishing the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board:

People in other states are making fun of us as you read this. Hell, people in this state are making fun of us as I write this! Want to read something funny? Check out the official PLCB press release on these technological marvels. My favorite part? "The entire process will take less than 20 seconds." A close second: "The kiosks are a way to give our customers an added level of convenience in today's busy society." HA!

Would you buy wine from a vending machine?

BlogHer Contributing Editor, Sarah can also be found at Sarah and the Goon Squad, Draft Day Suit and MamaPop.


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