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Walmart Stores Get CCTV-Enabled, Breathalyzin' Wine Vending Machines 135

Posted by samzenpus
from the work-around dept.
Select Pennsylvania Walmarts have found a way to work around the law prohibiting alcohol sales in grocery stores. It turns out the shortsighted legislature forgot to make it illegal to sell wine from a vending machine: "as long as the user is asked to take a breathalyzer test, swipe their state issued ID or Driver License, and then show their mug to a state official sitting somewhere in Harrisburg, who is keeping an eye on the proceedings via CCTV." I'm surprised nobody thought of this sooner.

*

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Walmart Stores Get CCTV-Enabled, Breathalyzin' Wine Vending Machines

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  • by Shikaku (1129753) on Thursday December 09, 2010 @03:59PM (#34505584)

    I'm surprised nobody thought of this sooner.

    In Japan they do something like this already.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by oldspewey (1303305)
      One key difference: In Japan, users walk up to the machine - at Wal Mart, users wheel up on their mobility scooter.
      • And buy their wine by the six-pack.
        • by Macrat (638047)

          And buy their wine by the six-pack.

          Actually it is in a box. Even a six pack of little bottles is too high brow for most Walmart shoppers.

          • I was thinking cans. they have good quality wine in boxes nowadays.
          • by afidel (530433)
            I actually buy most of my wine by the box. Since I'm the only serious wine drinker in the house a bottle just ends up wasting 3-400ml most of the time but I usually only waste the same amount from a 3L box due to the longer shelf life. Blackbox wines actually makes really good wine and it's reasonably priced at ~$25 for the equivalent of 4 bottles (closer to what the French and Spaniards pay for good table wine). They are winning awards and getting recommendations from the likes of wine spectator so it's re
      • by MoonBuggy (611105)

        When you put it like that, I think I'll pass on using a breathalyser that's open to Walmart customers [peopleofwalmart.com]...

    • This is Slashdot:

      Walmart = Bad.

      Japan = Good.

      Don't make us have to think...

      • Now I'm not saying a word on their other reprehensible policies (like alleged sexism, racism, ageism, etc.) but if they have booze vending machines, its all good.

        Of course, I buy my booze days in advance from The wine Library [winelibrary.com].

        Then again, you never know when you're suddenly going to get descended upon by a horde of thirsty barbarians in football helmets and have to run out and buy hooch to save your life, sanity &| virginity .

      • Wait, this was supposed to be anti-Walmart?

        My first thought was 'nifty' and my second thought was that this probably enforces the laws better than 90% of places that sell alcohol do.

        You check ID's against the state DB (generally a skipped step in most stores), you have one trained guy dedicated to making sure the ID matches the shopper (as opposed to an 18 year old kid who couldn't care less), and a breathalyzer to get some kind of bearing on if they're drunk or not (as opposed to the 'is he stumbling aroun

        • Are you sure the 18 year old couldn't care less? Way back when I worked at a convenience store nobody messed up on the ID check twice. This was because you were fired after the first violation. It wasn't much of an issue, however, as once the reputation spread that we always carded, the minors left for easier pickings elsewhere.
    • by flogger (524072)
      I was in Japan a few years ago and had a great Vending experience. Doing Laundry, there was a whiskey/Beer/Sake vending machine. I had a great time doing laundry. However, I didn't have to present an ID, smile for a camera, or do anything except put my Yen into the machine....There is a Large level of trust in the Isle country that cannot be found here in the US.

      I asked Manaka, Teenager I was staying with, if she or her friends ever went over to the alcohol vending machines. She replied very seriously th
      • by phantast (35247)

        I originally mis-read your message as saying "whiskey/Beer/Snake" and - since you were talking about Japanese vending machines -- thought nothing of it.

      • I asked Manaka, Teenager I was staying with, if she or her friends ever went over to the alcohol vending machines. She replied very seriously that, "No. That is wrong."

        If an American teen told you that, would you believe him/her?

        You know, I’m not convinced that a fair portion of that respect/trust culture isn’t an elaborate ruse pulled on us Westerners...

      • by cdrguru (88047)

        Japan has been a culture built on respect for authority and respect for elders for the last 1,000 years at least. They aren't going to be able to discard that overnight.

        Here in the USA we have a culture built on suspicion and distrust of authority. So why would anyone respect authority here?

      • As a long-term Japanese resident who interacts with high-school-age Japanese kids daily (they're my students), let me inform you that that's not the whole story. She may be one of the kids on the straight and narrow, but there are plenty of kids here who don't bat an eye at drinking. Heck, even plenty of the "good" kids do some not-so-legitimate things from time to time, just like they do anywhere else. People are kept in line less by appeals to some high concept of honor or tradition and more by the simple

    • by Locke2005 (849178)

      In Japan they do something like this already.

      The main difference being that in Japan the vending machines sell used panties, not wine.

      • Nah, those aren't around any more. They got put out of business for not having the proper licenses to sell second hand goods. Seriously.
      • And we all know, far too well, that you can't make wine from used panties... soup, yes, but not wine. :( WHEN will the tyranny end!?!1!

        That said, I expect to be able to ride my scooter into the nearest Wal@Mart and purchase hefty quantities, or quantitties if you prefer, of said spirits, firearms (that's guns actual Wal*Martkateers), a wide selection of clean media choices that don't challenge the narrow inded, and all manner of fattening treats. We do not want to be bothered with questionable ideas (anyt

    • In Japan, spirits and beer are available in vending machines in the street - no breathalyser, no id, no cctv (not overt at least).
      If in the middle of the night - or any other time - you felt the urge to drink cheap sake, it is always available no more than a block away for a couple of coins.

  • Sorry Dave. I can't let you drink that.
  • If you're going to mock the average Wal-Mart shopper as a redneck, at least go all the way.
  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Thursday December 09, 2010 @04:01PM (#34505606) Journal
    That liquor control board's antiquated database can be accessed only using an old IE6 client. So that little terminal shown on the right is actually Linux machine running IE6 under WINE :-)
    • by wnwhgb (1956180)
      Guess again :) By the way, there also located in Wegmans, Giant and one of the pharmacy chains(starts with a "W", can't remember which one). Walmart is a new one to me so that's good to know. I can say that they're an interesting build, finicky as they were a bit rushed after the initial trial period but seem to be improving over time.
      • finicky as they were a bit rushed after the initial trial period but seem to be improving over time.

        You keep believing that. Those machines are still POS (and I don't mean point of sale).

        The company who is selling them to the State, Simple Brands, is euphemistically called Simple Minds because of the (low) quality of the folks running the program. PA is the guinea pig and if they can convince other states what a rousing success these machines are, they can try to push them out elsewhere.

        So,
  • I dunno, why not lobby against such laws so they can legally sell it like everyone else does instead of making someone jump through hoops. A breathalyzer test for buying alcohol? What exactly does this mean? What happens if you fail? Do the records get stored somewhere attached to your drivers license ID and if you fail do you get arrested as it notifies the local police that you're probably drunk driving home?

    • Re:wow (Score:5, Informative)

      by chemicaldave (1776600) on Thursday December 09, 2010 @04:11PM (#34505774)

      A little 101 on alcohol sales in Pennsylvania. The first thing you must realize about alcohol sales in PA is that it's one step above prohibition.

      The rules go a little like this...

      • Liquor & Wine - sold in state-run stores
      • 6-packs and 40s - sold in restaurants and bars
      • Cases/Kegs of Beer - sold by private distributors.

      The reason they need a breathalyzer in the store is to ensure a "properly trained" state employee is approving the sale, not some punk at a register.

      This isn't surprising for a state with such asinine liquor laws such that regulate where you can purchase (previously mentioned), until recently had no sales on Sunday or on election days.

      • >The reason they need a breathalyzer in the store is to ensure a "properly trained" state employee is approving the sale, not some punk at a register.

        I am still entirely unclear on how a breathalyzer ensures that the person selling the alcohol is a state employee and not some kid at a register (unless the theory goes that they were having the kids who work the register use the vending machine and then selling the alcohol to the actual customer and the kids are always drunk and thus are foiled by the breathalyzer).

        • The employee at the other end of the connection, monitoring the sale will know if the person is intoxicated or not using the breathaliser. Otherwise cashiers won't be able to tell if someone is intoxicated or not. That's the logic.
      • by dgatwood (11270)

        This isn't surprising for a state with such asinine liquor laws such that regulate where you can purchase (previously mentioned), until recently had no sales on Sunday or on election days.

        Wow. That must be hard on the loser. They lose the election and they're forced to leave the state!

        • They lose the election and they're forced to leave the state!

          Sounds more like a lose one, win one to me :P

        • When my uncle was in Pa, he'd just drive across the border to get his beer and wine. Don't tell anyone, ok?
          • When my uncle was in Pa, he'd just drive across the border to get his beer and wine. Don't tell anyone, ok?

            Then he must have lived in Philadelphia. It is so easy to get booze in New Jersey. If you pass by one liquor store, just keep driving for a few minutes. You'll run into another one.

      • A little 101 on alcohol sales in Pennsylvania. The first thing you must realize about alcohol sales in PA is that it's one step above prohibition.

        The rules go a little like this...

        • Liquor & Wine - sold in state-run stores
        • 6-packs and 40s - sold in restaurants and bars
        • Cases/Kegs of Beer - sold by private distributors.

        This isn't surprising for a state with such asinine liquor laws such that regulate where you can purchase (previously mentioned), until recently had no sales on Sunday or on election days.

        Sounds as bad as Oklahoma/Utah/Mississippi.

        In Oklahoma/Mississippi...you couldn't show anything more than beer ads on TV...even on cable. Remember how the cable companies were legally required to blank out any commercials. Many times...there would be a blank screen where the commercial used to be.

        When I used to live in Oklahoma...you could buy 3.2 (horse urine) beer/malt liqueur 24/7 in grocery stores. Anything else...you would run to a state-run store...including 6.0 beer/wine/liqueur. In my younger da

        • by MBGMorden (803437)

          In my younger days we just made homemade wine (our state's alchohol laws weren't that bad - I'm just saying during high school when purchasing it was problematic ;)). The process isn't hard, and if you have any fruit trees on your property, you can basically do it with the stuff found at your local hardware store (and unlike home distillation, home wine-making really isn't that risky).

          We'd typically do 2 or 3 five gallon batches at a time. Trust me, 10-15 gallons of wine at 10-12% ABV lasts a while.

          • We'd typically do 2 or 3 five gallon batches at a time. Trust me, 10-15 gallons of wine at 10-12% ABV lasts a while.

            Had a roommate after I left college who would make his own Grapa with 2 5 gal water bottles...some grape juice & sugar from the grocery store. He had balloons...surgical tubing running from one of the bottles on the dresser to the other on the floor.

            Never had the balls to try it...but from him being 60-70 years old and passing out from 1/2 a bottle of it...it was a great thing I never did.

            On the other hand...a buddy and I want to make hard root beer...but we can't find any recipes...except for the

          • by afidel (530433)
            Ohio was bad over a decade ago but they've done a pretty good job of liberalizing the laws. We now have Sunday sales, the state liquor stores were privatized, grocery stores can now have a liquor department without a separate mailing address (they used to have to be a store within a store with seperate infrastructure and outside door and mailing address), and they lifted the cap on ABV for beer. Other than restricted hours and the fact that you technically can't buy liquor unless it goes through the state w
          • by afidel (530433)
            Tell me about it, I still have about 20 out of 45 gallons of 8-10% ABV beer I brewed 18 months ago. Of course it's not all I drink because I like variety and have been on a whisk(e)y kick of late.
        • by mattack2 (1165421)

          In Oklahoma/Mississippi...you couldn't show anything more than beer ads on TV...even on cable. Remember how the cable companies were legally required to blank out any commercials.

          [citation needed]

          Seriously, I'd like to know how they were required to do that on cable. At least for the FCC, they do not have authority over 'basic cable' stations, even though most of them seem to follow approximately the same censorship paradigm as the broadcast networks, at least the majority of the time.

          As for the 'anything

          • In Oklahoma/Mississippi...you couldn't show anything more than beer ads on TV...even on cable. Remember how the cable companies were legally required to blank out any commercials.

            [citation needed]

            Seriously, I'd like to know how they were required to do that on cable. At least for the FCC, they do not have authority over 'basic cable' stations, even though most of them seem to follow approximately the same censorship paradigm as the broadcast networks, at least the majority of the time.

            Was in broadcasting school at the time and the state laws specified that no hard liqueur/wine commercials were to be shown. For the most part...they ran a local spot over it or just blacked it out. The reasoning was that if you ran ads on hard liqueur...it would make people want to consume more. Finally...by '84...the Commission & the courts outlawed states overriding a signal from out of state...no matter what the content. This is what you get when you let moronic/religious mouth-breathers run a state

      • by Stregano (1285764)
        Your state is never going to have medical marijuana at that pace
      • by Kjella (173770)

        Norway is much of the same fucked up stuff, wine and liquor only in government stores, beer up to 4.7% is sold in normal stores until 8 PM on weekdays and 6 PM on saturday. And there's no such thing as a carryout, after those times you can only get opened bottles/cans at licensed salesplaces to drink on the premises, that is bars or nightclubs. The only thing this encourages is to buy and have a sixpack or three standing around.

        On top of that it's expensive as fuck, even though everyone that wants to be an

        • Yeah, I couldn't believe how expensive booze in Norway was. I was actually kicking myself for not buying the stuff at the duty free shop in the airport when I arrived. Usually it's a rip off, but it was probably less than half the price of the stuff you can buy in the store. I bought some Norwegian vodka when I was leaving, but alas they didn't have any "Heavy Water". Wanted to try that stuff just because of the name, but I wasn't about to shell out $50 US for a tiny bit of good, but probably not great,
    • A breathalyzer test for buying alcohol? What exactly does this mean? What happens if you fail? Do the records get stored somewhere attached to your drivers license ID and if you fail do you get arrested as it notifies the local police that you're probably drunk driving home?

      Yeah, if you're not drunk while buying alcohol, there's no way you could become drunk afterwards before or during your drive home. No way at all!

      • In Pennsylvania it is illegal to sell alcohol to a VIP (visibly intoxicated person). If you fail the breathalyser test then sale is denied.
        • In Pennsylvania it is illegal to sell alcohol to a VIP (visibly intoxicated person). If you fail the breathalyser test then sale is denied.

          Wouldn't the fact that the state employee is looking at them via a CCTV verify if they are VISIBLY intoxicated?

          • In Pennsylvania it is illegal to sell alcohol to a VIP (visibly intoxicated person). If you fail the breathalyser test then sale is denied.

            Wouldn't the fact that the state employee is looking at them via a CCTV verify if they are VISIBLY intoxicated?

            Normally, state liquor cashiers can test your BAC using their eyes. It was deemed to creepy for them to take a whiff of the customers so they trained them to test with their eyes, hence the "visible" part. However, many residents insist that the employees are robots and test intoxication through a special sensor near the eyes. Being an android would also explain the fact that the cashiers have the worst manners I've ever seen and the stores have extremely low customer satisfaction.

  • A little behind? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by lacqui (1754380) on Thursday December 09, 2010 @04:05PM (#34505678) Homepage Journal
    I remember when I was in Japan a few years (14) ago. I was thirsty, and saw a vending machine. I bought myself a nice, cold Japanese cola. Or so I thought.

    Turns out, Kirin [kirinholdings.co.jp] wasn't a cola - it's a beer. Big signs, written in Japanese, said something to the effect "If you are under 21, please don't buy from this machine." No cameras, no ID swipe. Trust. Apparently, they could trust a 16-year-old to not buy something that was not allowed to them, or at least not to be stupid about it.

    • In the UK it's common to see cigarette vending machines which just state that under 18s don't use them! They're now going to be banned, the ban starts early next year.
      Gambling machines are common in bars, which are mostly open to anyone over 14 years old, which also just display no under 18s signs on them.

      • I remember when those cigarette machines were common in the states too. I guess they went away sometime during the 90's.

      • However they are only located in places where under 18's are explicitly banned from, or can only be there legally with adult supervision. I imagine we'll see the continental 'swipe you debit card to prove you're over 18' before too long.
    • by Fulcrum of Evil (560260) on Thursday December 09, 2010 @04:59PM (#34506490)
      No, they can trust the 16 year old to not be obvious, and in return pretend not to see that it happens at all. This is apparently the sort of thing you have to do when you pack things as densely as Tokyo does.
  • by generalhavok (1432165) on Thursday December 09, 2010 @04:10PM (#34505754)
    I'm from Pennsylvania. Sales of wine and liquor are highly regulated by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB). The places in the state that can sell liquor are state-run stores. Wal-Mart in Pennsylvania can't sell beer, same thing with convenience stores. The idea to sell wine from vending machines in grocery stores is not a really new idea, nor was it the idea of the retailers. The state actually approved of the wine vending machines, in response to many consumers wishing that they could at least purchase some wine while buying food. This isn't really a forward-thinking idea, actually. If we were really in the 21st century, Pennsylvanians would be able to buy wine and beer right at Wal-Mart and other places right off the shelves, and the cashiers can check IDs. I've seen the wine vending machines, they actually came out a few months ago in some other grocery stores. I don't like them because the machine only stocks a few varieties of the most popular wine. Not nearly the selection one would find at a "state store" or the even bigger selection one would find if he felt so inclined as to cross the border. As a side note, I live close to the border. In my town, due to the state's arcane laws, there is no place to buy beer after 8:00 PM - unless one goes to the bar and buys carryout by the six packs. So we've been known to make beer runs to a neighboring state, where there is a convenience store that sells by the case, just a few miles from the state line. I haven't actually used the new wine vending machines, but I know some who have, and they complain that it's not that fun, sometimes there are some issues, and last I knew, there was only one employee at the remote location that verifies the IDs. So, there is some waiting, and sometimes some issues with reading the cards. YMMV. Anyways, even though it seems cool, and *OMG YAY technology!* It isn't really a step in the right direction, as far as my state's arcane laws are concerned.
    • If we were really in the 21st century, Pennsylvanians would be able to buy wine and beer right at Wal-Mart and other places right off the shelves...

      That would also work if you were in the 19th century.

      • That would also work if you were in the 19th century.

        Living in this state, sometimes I think it would be easier to go back in time to buy liquor. Now if only my dad hadn't sold his DeLorean...

    • To get fireworks and cheeper smokes. I never understood how PA can sell fireworks.. to out of state patrons, however people of PA cannot buy them?
    • by Rich0 (548339)

      Well, at least in the Philadelphia region the state police routinely survail the onramps to highways like I-95 from the first stop in Delaware and people entering from that onramp are often stopped to check for alcohol. Another beautiful feature of PA law is that it is illegal to smuggle alcohol into the state - personal use or otherwise.

      Good thing we have strong laws. We wouldn't want to be like Europe where everybody is intoxicated all day long, from age 3 and up, right?

      • Well, at least in the Philadelphia region the state police routinely survail the onramps to highways like I-95 from the first stop in Delaware and people entering from that onramp are often stopped to check for alcohol. Another beautiful feature of PA law is that it is illegal to smuggle alcohol into the state - personal use or otherwise.

        Good thing we have strong laws. We wouldn't want to be like Europe where everybody is intoxicated all day long, from age 3 and up, right?

        Look at it this way - here in Alaska we don't have those sorts of draconian laws and we ended up with Sarah Palin. You should thank the various deities that your state is as strict as it is.

      • by jeaton (44965)

        Nonsense.

        You may bring up to 1 gallon of liquor or 384 ounces of wine into the state for personal consumption, per month. Nor would a state police officer have the authority to pull you over simply for coming into the state from the first on-ramp in the next state.

        I've brought liquor and wine into PA from neighboring states legally for years.

    • The reason that the laws have never been changed is unions. The PA state stores are staffed entirely by union employees. Whenever a push comes along to do privatize the state stores, the union goes a big campaign to make sure that it doesn't go through.
      • by maxume (22995)

        They should look to the auto industry for a warning about the dangers of automation.

    • and last I knew, there was only one employee at the remote location that verifies the IDs.

      I have already replied further up the page about the wine kiosks, but I can assure you, there has never been a time when there was only 1 person on the other end. Right now, there are at least 6 people waiting to verify someone.

      In the near future, as more machines are rolled out, they plan on having nearly a dozen people.

      Granted, when you only sell 1 bottle/hour, you don't need that many people, but it s
  • as long as the user is asked to take a breathalyzer test, swipe their state issued ID or Driver License, and then show their mug to a state official sitting somewhere in Harrisburg

    Surprised? Really? That no one proposed making a machine with a live video feed monitored by a government agent, that required an ID swipe and a payment swipe, and best of all required you to put your lips on some sort of breathalyzer that has no doubt been kissed by many a wineo before you? Yeah I gotta hand it to them, they built a better mousetrap. I can see the customers swarming in from here, and I live in Ohio.

  • by russotto (537200) on Thursday December 09, 2010 @04:23PM (#34505956) Journal
    ...it's called New Jersey.
  • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Thursday December 09, 2010 @04:29PM (#34506028)
    Liquor laws are written by the distributors themselves. They want things this ridiculous to keep out competition. The city of chicago has 1, count them, 1 distributer for the entire city. It is virtually impossible to get a distribution license in the city, and is why Chicago has such pour variety in beers despite being so close to Wisconsin.
    • ... and is why Chicago has such pour variety in beers despite being so close to Wisconsin.

      Please be intentional.

    • by geekoid (135745)

      It depends. Yeah in Chicago they are, in other places distributor clamor for fewer laws.

      What Chicago needs it to encourage micro brews.

      • by afidel (530433)
        They already have one of the better ones in the country, Goose Island =)
  • Oh SNAP the government really CAN spur innovation! No one would have ever built this machine without the government of PA. How can we thank you!?

    • by Locke2005 (849178)
      Yes, it can spur innovation, but not USEFUL innovation. The Suburu Brat was created due to government regulation -- the 2 plastic chairs in the truck bed allowed it to be classified as a passenger car instead of a pickup truck, and thus subject to lower tariffs, despite the fact that most people simply took the seats out and threw them away. "Innovation" to work around government regulation provides no value to the consumer that couldn't be achieved by simply deregulating!
  • With all the BigBrother stuff happening recently, i wouldn't do it. I wouldn't want rev 2.0 taking cell cultures from my saliva and adding to a DNA database.

  • This is not a "hack" or "workaround" by Walmart or others (Wegman's, etc.). The PA Liquor Control Board is a knowing partner in this venture. If anything it's them who's using a workaround here. The legislature won't liberalize the law, so the PLCB used the "loophole" created by the fact that the law didn't prohibit this means of selling wine. The real question is whether the public will tolerate the pain of waiting to blow into the breathalizer every time they buy an overpriced bottle of wine. As a lon

  • by jeaton (44965) on Thursday December 09, 2010 @05:32PM (#34506966)

    It turns out the shortsighted legislature forgot to make it illegal to sell wine from a vending machine: "as long as the user is asked to take a breathalyzer test, swipe their state issued ID or Driver License, and then show their mug to a state official sitting somewhere in Harrisburg, who is keeping an eye on the proceedings via CCTV." I'm surprised nobody thought of this sooner.

    The system was developed by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, who runs the "State Store" system. The machines are run by the LCB. This isn't some magic end-around the law, it was developed by the exact people the legislature has designated to decide how to sell wine in the state.

    Also, Wal-Mart is not the first to have the machines. There has been one in my local grocery store (Giant Eagle) outside of Pittsburgh, PA for a while now. They've also had single bottles and 6-packs of beer available for even longer. (Beer sales are generally limited to "distributors" who can only sell full cases, or bars/restaurants/delis who can sell single bottles or 6-packs. Giant Eagle sells ready-to-eat food in that part of the store, so they were able to get a deli-style license for beer sales.)

    The wine vending machines are stupid. The selection is very limited, and the machines only operate during the same hours that the state-run Liquor/Wine stores are open anyway. Given that I have to drive past a state Liquor store to get to the store with the wine vending machine, it's pointless. I just make the extra stop.

    The beer section is decent, but single bottles/6-packs are overpriced. I just go to a beer store and buy a case.

    At least all of this is a step in the right direction. Maybe someday they will actually allow grocery stores to really sell alcohol like other states. I'm not holding my breath, though.

  • Pennsylvania is the largest purchaser of wine in the world.

    apparently though, the current legislature is considering selling off the state stores to help cover budget shortfalls. I doubt it will happen, but deregulating wine sales would obsolete these machines overnight

  • by markdavis (642305) on Thursday December 09, 2010 @07:44PM (#34508490)

    I can't believe I am apparently the only commenter (??? at least thus far) who is shocked that people don't think about that they are not being "carded", they are being RECORDED. It is not at all like being carded, where someone LOOKS at your ID to make sure you are of age and then you can purchase anonymously. Instead, there will be PROOF POSITIVE of who you are (name, address, etc), your magic number, your photograph, where you were and what date/time, and even your blood alcohol... tied to what you are buying. Plus, one could swap the guts of the machine in the "breathalyser" and test for anything else they care to look for. And all this data is being stored in a database.... one that, no doubt, we will have no idea what it is being used for now or in the future. Computers don't "forget". I think this is a HORRIBLE blow to privacy and civil liberties and if accepted, will open the door to more and more such stuff.

    • nuff said. oh, well a bit more, read this about sampling whole cities at-once for drugs, and what the parent just said doesn't sound paranoid at all. I do not want to submit to a complete chemical search of my exhalations as part of a routine commerical interaction. Isn't this what HIPPA and it's privacy laws are meant to *prevent*??
    • I'd have a problem with it if it were my state implementing this policy in every store where liquor was sold. It sounds to me like PA is another state that has ABC type stores regulating the sale of liquor, I don't know first hand. However, from reading the story it sounds like this is a loophole that Wal-Mart is utilizing to get around silly state laws. I think that's really the key, is its kiosks in Wal-Mart, and not every alcohol selling venue in the state. In other words, you could readily buy alcoho

    • This is already the case in PA. When you show ID to buy alcohol, technically the employee you showed it to is required to run the magnetic strip on the id through a scanner to "verify" that it's a real ID and not fake. This has been the case since I was last in PA around 2003. Have since moved out of the country fortunately, and every time I go back I simply show my passport to the employee(if I even remember it). They don't bother scanning it or doing anything else besides looking at it.
      • by markdavis (642305)
        It should not be acceptable to be required to submit your identity to be stored in some database, just to purchase a legal product. Their duty is only to verify age. That can be done by looking at the person and looking at the ID.
  • Red and white wine, sherry, and bourbon are very common cooking ingredients. These people have now made it necessary to go to a liquor store to get cooking supplies. If their intention was to cut down on exposure to alcohol, they've not done it for anyone who is a serious hobby cook.

    Anyone know if they exempted the "cooking wines" specifically salted to make them unpleasant to drink? In some states you don't even have to be legal drinking age to buy those.

    • Anyone know if they exempted the "cooking wines" specifically salted to make them unpleasant to drink?

      Not just those... what about people who are on a sodium-restricted diet?

  • This isn't really "new" stores have had this for a while now. It was even featured on Modern Marvels [googleusercontent.com]

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