Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Greener On The Other Side of The Fence

I’m a lucky guy. I live right on an imaginary fence-line that puts me right on the edge of not only two, but three states. Those states are Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. Oregon is only 15 minutes from my house. Idaho is about an hour and a half.

Really, my life is good. So, when I complain about something you should know that I’m one of the lucky ones who can jump over the “fence”.

The barred and empty shelves in my neighborh store
all prepared to receive booze in the next few days.
What I’m preparing for is the Y2K of Washington State liquor sales. Washington State voters passed Initiative 1183 last fall resoundingly! WoooHooo!! Now they have to live with it. On June 1st the state run liquor stores that have been in business in this state for longer than I’ve been alive will be closed immediately. Taking their place will be.... Well, we’re not sure yet who that will be.

We do know for sure that Costco, who put millions into the campaign, and several other large grocery and drug stores will be able to sell because they are over the square footage limit. Other stores that will also qualify to sell are small outlets in underpopulated areas, and state liquor stores that have been auctioned off to private individuals.

Doesn’t seem to be a problem. You’d think? Well, the problem is that the state will control liquor sales until the 1st of June. Then close their doors. On that date, the new establishments will be put in lock stock charge of sales. This shouldn’t be a problem except that there is no real solid plan for transition, transportation, or distribution to the new stores.

Many of the large stores are just now drawing up plan-o-grams and buying shelving. The state run stores are running out of stock. And, the state employees that we dropped on their heads are either dreaming of retirement or looking to get a job at one of the new stores.

I went shopping this morning for a big event we’re having next weekend. One of the things on the menu was Margaritas. Yum! Well, it almost wasn’t. The selection of alcohol is nearly nonexistent in the state run stores, with no plan to update stock. They’re selling out.

Nobody is talking about this, but Washington State has pretty much created it’s own short-term prohibition. Good luck buying alcohol for the next few weeks while the companies, state, and distributors figure all this out. You simply won’t be able to buy booze in this state very soon. We voted for cheap booze, and are going to get no booze!

I know that booze is on its way to stores soon. All the greedy masses are lining up to sell it to you at higher...yes, I said higher prices than you’ve seen before. Distributors that I’ve talked to have said that they are dealing with corporate greed like never before. Asking for deeper discounts and taking larger profit cuts than the state ever did. Why? Because we also voted major changes in price posting which controlled corporate greed.

My recommendation is go go out and buy everything you plan on drinking this summer right now. Don’t hold back! Personally, I’m planning on surrounding myself in my compound with booze, limes, and tomato juice and not coming out until this apocalypse is over! Or, I’ll just drive to Hermiston and buy a bottle.



  1. I'm joining you in your compound!

  2. I'm joining you in your compound!

  3. I'm joining you in your compound!

  4. Hey Rich
    You know I love you but you are being a bit dramatic here. I know for a fact that shelves are being lined today in preparation of opening June 1st. The pricing will be competitive if not below what has been offered to customers purchasing from the state run stores. Moving to Washington from a state where retailers had freedom to purchase and price according to their profit margin needs, this antiquated system has always seemed limited and controlling to me. Will there be growing pains? Of course, that is a natural part of change. But in the long run when all the kinks are worked out I think we all embrace the libation liberation.

  5. I hope the prospect for Washingtonians flocking to Hermiston for booze won't make liquor prices in Hermiston sky-rocket...

    -Kurt in Hermiston


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