Beta

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

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

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the work-around dept.

Government 135

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.

cancel ×

135 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

In Japan they do something like this already. (2)

Shikaku (1129753) | more than 3 years ago | (#34505584)

I'm surprised nobody thought of this sooner.

In Japan they do something like this already.

Re:In Japan they do something like this already. (3, Funny)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 3 years ago | (#34505726)

One key difference: In Japan, users walk up to the machine - at Wal Mart, users wheel up on their mobility scooter.

Re:In Japan they do something like this already. (1)

publiclurker (952615) | more than 3 years ago | (#34507138)

And buy their wine by the six-pack.

Re:In Japan they do something like this already. (1)

Macrat (638047) | more than 3 years ago | (#34508284)

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.

Re:In Japan they do something like this already. (1)

publiclurker (952615) | more than 3 years ago | (#34508592)

I was thinking cans. they have good quality wine in boxes nowadays.

Re:In Japan they do something like this already. (1)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 3 years ago | (#34507404)

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

Re:In Japan they do something like this already. (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#34507920)

In Japan they sell porn with their Cam-equipped machines.

In Soviet Russia, they use Cam-equipped machines to make porn out of you.

And in Pennsylvania, they send the Cams home with kids to their bedrooms. (I just love my home state - not.)

Gaaah, Please Don't Confuse Us!! (1, Funny)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 3 years ago | (#34505864)

This is Slashdot:

Walmart = Bad.

Japan = Good.

Don't make us have to think...

Wall*Mart NOT bad if they have booze vending machs (1)

crovira (10242) | more than 3 years ago | (#34506602)

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 .

Re:Wall*Mart NOT bad if they have booze vending ma (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34506794)

Pennsylvania has some really fucked up booze laws.

Re:Wall*Mart NOT bad if they have booze vending ma (1)

Foobar of Borg (690622) | more than 3 years ago | (#34507736)

Pennsylvania has some really fucked up booze laws.

That, and it seems like they hire a bunch of Prohibitionists to run the state-run liquor stores that you need to go to in order to even buy wine.

Re:Wall*Mart NOT bad if they have booze vending ma (1)

Nutria (679911) | more than 3 years ago | (#34510762)

You should move to South Louisiana, where they sell beer/wine/liquor in drug stores.

Re:Gaaah, Please Don't Confuse Us!! (2)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 3 years ago | (#34506826)

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 around, slurring speech, and glassy eyed?' test).

Re:Gaaah, Please Don't Confuse Us!! (1)

publiclurker (952615) | more than 3 years ago | (#34507162)

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.

Re:In Japan they do something like this already. (1)

flogger (524072) | more than 3 years ago | (#34506364)

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 that, "No. That is wrong."

Re:In Japan they do something like this already. (1)

phantast (35247) | more than 3 years ago | (#34506434)

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

Re:In Japan they do something like this already. (1)

clone52431 (1805862) | more than 3 years ago | (#34506576)

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...

Re:In Japan they do something like this already. (1)

X-Power (1009277) | more than 3 years ago | (#34506650)

So let me get this straight....

You - a foreigner, went to japan, stayed with a female teenager and asked the teenager if she or her friends drink alcohol?

Not only that, but if they drink alcohol from vending machines, which would imply they buy it without adult supervision?

I'm sure you had a great Vending experience :)

Re:In Japan they do something like this already. (1)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 3 years ago | (#34507046)

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?

Re:In Japan they do something like this already. (1)

Yuuki Dasu (1416345) | more than 3 years ago | (#34508638)

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 fact that Japan is full of people so there's always someone watching you.

Interestingly, there's less concern over underage drinking than underage smoking - as you say, alcohol vending machines just require you insert money, but cigarette machines require a Taspo card [wikipedia.org] .

Re:In Japan they do something like this already. (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 3 years ago | (#34506542)

In Japan they do something like this already.

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

Re:In Japan they do something like this already. (1)

Liam Pomfret (1737150) | more than 3 years ago | (#34506958)

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.

Re:In Japan they do something like this already. (1)

countSudoku() (1047544) | more than 3 years ago | (#34506992)

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 (anything that upsets my fragile American nature; like being tolerant, liberals, science, paying taxes, etc.), pornography, things that obviously need censorship but somehow made it to the shelves anyway, or high prices. :)

Re:In Japan they do something like this already. (1)

metalmonkey (1083851) | more than 3 years ago | (#34506948)

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.

Re:In Japan they do something like this already. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34507008)

I'm surprised nobody thought of this sooner.

In Japan they do something like this already.

Except the Japanese ones work on the much simpler principle of insert money, push button, receive booze. Apparently some turn off at certain times of day to avoid kids buying from them, but my local ones didn't. Instead, they were in plain view, and any adults in the vicinity would tell off a kid that tried to use it.

Re:In Japan they do something like this already. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34510756)

pal who gives a fuck what japan has

Sorry Dave (2)

vgerclover (1186893) | more than 3 years ago | (#34505588)

Sorry Dave. I can't let you drink that.

Vendin' Contraption (1)

cobrausn (1915176) | more than 3 years ago | (#34505596)

If you're going to mock the average Wal-Mart shopper as a redneck, at least go all the way.

Re:Vendin' Contraption (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34505746)

If you're going to mock the average Wal-Mart shopper as a redneck, at least go all the way.

Redneck? Man you couldn't be farther off the mark.

Sure you might find a few rednecks at wally world. But by far most of the shoppers are niggers. ESPECIALLY on the first of the month*


*that's when various welfare programs like food stamps, WIC, and many others send out the money. bad, bad time to shop at a place like wal-mart if you're not a leech on society.

New Vending Machine Coming... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34510616)

... that will dispense condoms, but you'll be required to submit a DNA sample to use it.

Little known fact: (4, Funny)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 3 years ago | (#34505606)

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 :-)

Re:Little known fact: (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34507398)

Considering PA's liquor laws were written as a political temper-tantrum in response to the 21st amendment, it wouldn't surprise me if that database consisted of punch cards entered into a DEC Alpha server running in a closet somewhere in Harrisburg.

Re:Little known fact: (2)

wnwhgb (1956180) | more than 3 years ago | (#34507944)

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.

wow (1)

hypergreatthing (254983) | more than 3 years ago | (#34505638)

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 (4, Informative)

chemicaldave (1776600) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:wow (1)

BarryJacobsen (526926) | more than 3 years ago | (#34506034)

>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).

Re:wow (1)

chemicaldave (1776600) | more than 3 years ago | (#34506172)

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.

Re:wow (1)

Gilmoure (18428) | more than 3 years ago | (#34506550)

If I see two of them, as they walk up to my register, they're drunkle peep I am.

Re:wow (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 3 years ago | (#34506042)

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!

Re:wow (1)

BarryJacobsen (526926) | more than 3 years ago | (#34506138)

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

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

Re:wow (1)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | more than 3 years ago | (#34506464)

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

Re:wow (1)

Foobar of Borg (690622) | more than 3 years ago | (#34507802)

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.

Re:wow (1)

Phoobarnvaz (1030274) | more than 3 years ago | (#34506848)

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 days...we had friends with pickups...so we'd drive to the Dallas area with several hundred dollars...load up and head back to Oklahoma. That would last us less than a month...but at least we knew the places where we could buy 2-4 cases at a time.

Re:wow (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 3 years ago | (#34507006)

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.

Re:wow (1)

Phoobarnvaz (1030274) | more than 3 years ago | (#34509336)

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 stuff for the kids. For that matter...Sam Adams used to make the stuff several years ago in a holiday pack...but they haven't since that time.

Re:wow (1)

mattack2 (1165421) | more than 3 years ago | (#34509058)

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 more than beer ads' nationally, I think (I could be wrong) that that was a voluntary decision by at least hard liquor makers, and it's only been relatively recently that those have done TV advertising.

Re:wow (1)

Phoobarnvaz (1030274) | more than 3 years ago | (#34509274)

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 government as their own theocracy.

As for the 'anything more than beer ads' nationally, I think (I could be wrong) that that was a voluntary decision by at least hard liquor makers, and it's only been relatively recently that those have done TV advertising.

I seem to remember this as well...but I have a recollection of seeing Jim Beam/Jack Daniels ad on the tube.

Re:wow (1)

Stregano (1285764) | more than 3 years ago | (#34506868)

Your state is never going to have medical marijuana at that pace

Election days? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34506902)

Somehow, I kind of wish they could do more to enforce the prohibition on drinking on election days. Well, at least for the people who vote....

Re:wow (1)

byersjus (987526) | more than 3 years ago | (#34507050)

Parent knows their PA alcohol laws... A few low-tech loopholes already in use: Grocery stores can't sell alcohol, but as the parent pointed out restaurants and bars can sell beer in sub-case/keg quantities. The workaround is to put a cafe in your grocery store, section the beer off near the cafe with it's own register and sell away. I know Wegman's, Whole Foods, and a few other stores do this. Whole Foods even has a little "pub" inside with taps so you can fill growlers. BYOB restaurants can't server alcohol, but they can give it away. Mexican restaurants have "complimentary" tequila with $5 glasses of margarita mix. Other places do just give you free drinks (unfortunately far from top-shelf). I suppose the reason this Walmart vending machine is news at all is because they are creating a loophole for liqueur and wine. Previously there was no workaround for that, state stores only (or a trip to Delaware).

Re:wow (1)

skarphace (812333) | more than 3 years ago | (#34507682)

My favorite is that the bars and restaurants have a limit of 2 six packs pe trip. Buy two, leave them outside with a buddy, then head back in and buy another two. It's ridiculous.

Re:wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34507466)

Let me add to this:

The state stores (the only ones allowed to sell wine and liquor) have terrible selections. Good luck if you want something other than Smirnoff, Bacardi or Jack Daniel's. Some are better than others as far as this goes, but by and large the stores are small and the selection is bad.

Beer distributors are the only place you can buy more than 12 beers at a time. Restaurants and bars are not allowed to sell you more than 2 six packs (or equivalent volume.) Most restaurants and bars have a terrible selection, so if you like microbrews or hard to find imports, you're out of luck unless you go to the 1 or 2 places in town that stock enough of them to sell. Restaurants and bars also charge through the nose because they can.

However, beer distributors must sell beer in quantities of 24 beers (or equivalent volume) or more. You can't split cases either. So if you like microbrews or expensive imports, the distributors have them, but you have to buy 24 of them at a time (good belgians are about $100/case and there are very few other places you can get them.)

The reason for all of this crap? The state stores are staffed by union workers. Unions are very powerful in Pennsylvania and block any legislation to try to sell alcohol anywhere but the state stores. I'm not a crazy anti-union crusader (in fact I consider myself a democrat, or at least I did till I moved here) but labor unions in general are bad for anyone who doesn't belong to one.

Re:wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34508386)

Sounds better than Sweden at least... All alcoholic beverages above 3.5 vol% are sold *only* at the govenment-run corporation "Systembolaget" (unopened beverages, that is. You can buy glasses of beer/wine/booze/etc at bars and resturants).

Just a few years ago, they made a big change. Open on saturdays! So now they are typically open 10 am-6 pm on weekdays, and 11 am-1 pm on saturdays. So boo fucking hoo @ pennsylvania.

Re:wow (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 3 years ago | (#34509264)

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 alcoholic always can afford enough. I got 5 liters of liquor around here because it's a $50 savings per liter if I ever get around to drinking them up. On top of that there's restrictions on the bars too, so everyone has to close at the same time causing massive food and taxi queues. This country is so stupid. I wish we could be more like Germany, where it's cheap, available and you party as long as *you* want. But that's way too much to hope for.

legally sell it like everyone else does (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34505844)

There is a huge entrenched interest in keeping the state store monopoly in place, despite that fact that everyone but the state employees/beer distributers hate the system.

If you live around Philly, you just route around the problem by driving to NJ/DE.

Re:legally sell it like everyone else does (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 3 years ago | (#34506340)

There is a huge entrenched interest in keeping the state store monopoly in place...

Similar to Texas and its corrupt liquor laws [statesman.com] used to protect entrenched commercial interests against competition:

"...political groups representing wholesale liquor distributors reported donating $1.38 million to the campaigns of more than 150 state officials, including most legislators and Gov. Rick Perry."

Re:wow (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 3 years ago | (#34505874)

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!

Re:wow (2)

chemicaldave (1776600) | more than 3 years ago | (#34505986)

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

Re:wow (1)

BarryJacobsen (526926) | more than 3 years ago | (#34506108)

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?

Re:wow (2)

chemicaldave (1776600) | more than 3 years ago | (#34506234)

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? (5, Interesting)

lacqui (1754380) | more than 3 years ago | (#34505678)

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.

Re:A little behind? (1)

Ponder Stibions (962426) | more than 3 years ago | (#34506396)

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.

Re:A little behind? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34506768)

We used to have those in the States. The Clinton administration banned them.

Re:A little behind? (1)

amRadioHed (463061) | more than 3 years ago | (#34506776)

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

Re:A little behind? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34507020)

I still see them sometimes, in tiny bars that cater to the same customers as they did 30 years ago. Not sure if they actually work or if they're just there because nobody bothered to move them, though...

Re:A little behind? (3, Insightful)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Inaccurate - Not as cool as they seem (4, Interesting)

generalhavok (1432165) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:Inaccurate - Not as cool as they seem (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 3 years ago | (#34505910)

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.

Re:Inaccurate - Not as cool as they seem (1)

generalhavok (1432165) | more than 3 years ago | (#34506120)

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...

funny because in NY we run over to your state... (1)

ganjadude (952775) | more than 3 years ago | (#34506240)

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?

Re:Inaccurate - Not as cool as they seem (1)

Rich0 (548339) | more than 3 years ago | (#34506242)

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?

Re:Inaccurate - Not as cool as they seem (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#34506922)

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.

Re:Inaccurate - Not as cool as they seem (1)

jeaton (44965) | more than 3 years ago | (#34507092)

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.

Re:Inaccurate - Not as cool as they seem (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 3 years ago | (#34507066)

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.

Re:Inaccurate - Not as cool as they seem (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 3 years ago | (#34507188)

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

Wow what an innovation (1)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 3 years ago | (#34505788)

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.

In Japan, They Aren't Big on the Drinking Age (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34505816)

The reason why they can do this easily in Japan is that while you have to be 18 (I think) to buy alcohol, they don't really care. Also, as far as I can tell, there are no rules against selling alcohol to intoxicated persons, or against drinking it on the street. Believe it or not, in most of the USA, it is illegal to drink outdoors in urban areas. Some areas, mostly in Utah, the Deep South, or areas with large Native American populations, ban the sale of alcohol altogether. In contrast, I remember in Japan walking back to my room in a traditional-style inn, and seeing parents from the wedding downstairs out in the garden with twin boys, apparently around 14 or 15, and one of them was throwing up from drinking too much.

Re:In Japan, They Aren't Big on the Drinking Age (1)

DrgnDancer (137700) | more than 3 years ago | (#34506144)

Louisiana allows drinking on the streets, but requires plastic cups or bottles for safety reasons. A fair compromise I think. Of course Louisiana has some of the most liberal alcohol laws in the country. Bars in tourist areas like the French Quarter typically keep a supply of "go-cups" (disposable plastic party cups) on hand so you can pour your [beer, wine, mixed drink] in for the walk to the next bar. I miss living in New Orleans...

Re:In Japan, They Aren't Big on the Drinking Age (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34506792)

Don't forget the drive-through daiquiri shops. Louisiana's open container law has a provision that specifically states that regular styrofoam cups with plastic lids are "closed" containers, as long as they have a piece of scotch tape firmly attached across the straw hole.

Re:In Japan, They Aren't Big on the Drinking Age (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 3 years ago | (#34506344)

There are no dry or alcohol prohibited counties or communities in the state of Utah. While the laws make it harder to get alcohol, it's not prohibited anywhere.

Only some areas with large American Indian or Alaska Native populations are dry, here in Alaska we have 80-83 of the 500 dry communities in the United States. The Navaho Nation is the largest area in the US with a prohibition on alcohol.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_dry_communities_by_U.S._state [wikipedia.org]

It's not the Deep South that has the majority of dry communities or counties, while there are some stand outs like Mississippi, most are mixed, Alabama has 14 dry counties and 53 where it's allowed. Arkansas, Kansas and Texas have more of a prohibition mentality than the Deep South does.

Re:In Japan, They Aren't Big on the Drinking Age (1)

vix86 (592763) | more than 3 years ago | (#34506954)

Pretty sure its 20 yrs old to drink in Japan. I was there for a year recently.

The drinking culture there is completely different from the culture in the states. There alcohol is treated as just another beverage that can make you sick if you drink too much. No one thought it really odd to have someone passed out on the street or throwing up on the side of the road, it was normal. That would get you jailed in the states for public drunkenness. Craziest thing I still remember and I had already been there for 7 months so it shouldn't have caught me off guard, I walked into a liquor store to buy some import beer and the guy at the register after I bought it asked "” took me a second to realize he was asking if I wanted to the cap removed so I could drink it on the go. Even after having been there almost a year, the idea of walking down the street chugging a beer still seemed foreign to me.

in Canada it's 18 in parts and 19 in others (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 3 years ago | (#34510538)

in Canada it's 18 in parts and 19 in others

PA has one of the largest liquor stores anywhere. (3, Interesting)

russotto (537200) | more than 3 years ago | (#34505956)

...it's called New Jersey.

lol (2)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:lol (1)

chemicaldave (1776600) | more than 3 years ago | (#34506064)

... and is why Chicago has such pour variety in beers despite being so close to Wisconsin.

Please be intentional.

Re:lol (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#34506686)

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

What Chicago needs it to encourage micro brews.

Advancement! (0)

CupBeEmpty (720791) | more than 3 years ago | (#34506054)

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!?

Re:Advancement! (2)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 3 years ago | (#34506616)

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!

DNA (1)

cant_get_a_good_nick (172131) | more than 3 years ago | (#34506294)

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.

Re:DNA (1)

jameskojiro (705701) | more than 3 years ago | (#34508876)

Don't you know that if you see something, you should say something....

Wegman's has the better idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34506346)

Walmart isnt the only store that is getting around the laws here in PA regarding the sales of alcohol. Wegman's has long been getting around the issue by sectioning off an area of their store and basically turning it into a restaurant with a bar and all. It is still connected to the main building and you can access the restaurant area without leaving the building, but you cannot bring your groceries in there without paying for them. They don't sell hard liquor, but they are able to sell anything from single bottles all the way up to cases of bear and bottles of wine. One really cool thing they allow you to do there is to create your own 6-pack, where you can select from a wide variety of bottles and just pick whatever you want. This is very nice for those people that just really don't know what they want or just want to try a variety of different beers.

Walmart is just taking a route that is a bit less expensive to start, but not nearly as expandable as the idea wegman's uses.

Re:Wegman's has the better idea (1)

Misch (158807) | more than 3 years ago | (#34507080)

But Wegmans did install a wine vending machine [pennlive.com] as well.

Not a workaround (1)

jdmumper (116498) | more than 3 years ago | (#34506924)

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 long-time PA resident, I find the process painful (my wife and I walked away from one of the machines when a person in line in front of us had to keep resetting their selection to get to the breath test because the sensor could not pick up her breath well enough to pass or fail her). We went to a regular PLCB Wine store a short distance away and got in and out with a bottle of wine in five minutes.

Unsurprisingly Inaccurate summary (2)

jeaton (44965) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

FYI (1)

snookerhog (1835110) | more than 3 years ago | (#34507002)

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

Seriously WTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34507388)

I live in Europe and I simply cannot imagine this kind of stuff working here. Brethalyzer, mugshot, ID swipe... for buying alcohol... by adult... seriously WTF?

This is a frightening invasion of privacy (2)

markdavis (642305) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

AGREED (1)

TheCouchPotatoFamine (628797) | more than 3 years ago | (#34509282)

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*??

Weird. (1)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 3 years ago | (#34508776)

Here in AZ, all kinds of stores sell hard liquor, stocked in bottles out on open shelves. Even Wal-Mart. I can't think of a grocery store or even a gas station that doesn't sell liquor, and by liquor I mean hard liquor, not beer and wine. Sure, they are generally strict about carding and whatnot, but the idea that it would be under lock and key for any purpose aside from loss prevention really surprises me, and the idea of a CCTV monitor bothers me a whole lot more. Also the card swipe. I would very much like for this kind of purchase to be anonymous, as far as the state is concerned. I suppose it's ok for the clerk to check my ID, but not to record it.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?
or Connect with...

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>