The Liquor Strategy: Screw the Little Guy


Were you're hands shaking when you wrote this, Dominic? Maybe you need a drink.
I meant your, not you're. Maybe I need one, too.
I'm sorry, but it had to come to this... on one hand, you have the current system which is antiquated and in need of overhaul, and on the other you have people like Goldy who screech "BUT THINK OF THE CHIIIILDREN!"

How else do you placate both groups..?

Just pass this now, and if there's a big push for small specialty stores, pass an amendment later to remove the 10,000 square feet requirement. Easy as that.
Problem is that for every “small specialty shop that would feature those liquors distilled locally” and “smaller, organic cooperative grocer” there will be hundreds of Pioneer Square style cheap beer and cigarette quickie marts pimping small bottles of rot gut to transients. Hopefully once it’s privatized, Olympia can find ways to grant waivers to the 10,000 sq ft to all the charming “small specialty shops that would feature those liquors distilled locally” and “smaller, organic cooperative grocers” that you’re expecting to spring up everywhere.
Incidentally, 10,000 square feet is about the size of the tire department at Costco… it isn’t THAT big. I’d say that there are more than a few vibrant local wine stores that will want to carry hand crafted specialty liquors (local or otherwise) that will qualify… Esquin Wine Merchants comes to mind, and if this causes five more Esquins to spring up, cool!
I just see it as keeping $2.00 pints of rot gut out of gas station quickie marts… I think I’m okay with that.
is it really that easy? I pretty much agree with the sentiment of the whole post until the end. it's a pretty good argument to not vote for it.
I like Trader Joe's but don't know how large their stores are. Do they meet the 10KSF limit?
For fair, Goldy's main argument was based around revenue. Now, it was a stupid argument because the revenue angle was easily solvable, but let's not go around putting words in mouths, k?

Anyway, I expected something like this, sadly. The last initiatives weren't unbalanced in favor of existing monied interests enough to actually fly. Just remember, people, money always wins. That's the takeaway here.
Look, I've got a bodega and five bars to do off sales at the end of my block.

In the end, women voters will vote down anything that makes it easier for teens to get alcohol - which is exactly the places you call "screwed" ... And every elected official knows that.

I would guess yes. 10,000 sqft is a space 100ft X 100ft (100ft = ~7 average length cars). "Big Box Stores" are usually 50,000 to 200,000 sqft.

Dom is being intellectually dishonest in suggesting that only "Big Box Stores" would be able to qualify. 10,000 sqft does not qualify a store as "Big Box" in any meaning of the concept.

Dom probably thinks anything bigger than his apartment is a “Big Box”.
Even madison market is more than 10,000 square feet ...
Why the fuck is everyone afraid of corner stores selling booze? What do you think is gonna happen, that dude that's been pounding $2 tall cans of malt liquor all day every day for the last 15 years is going to discover Popov and terrorize your neighborhood?
@11: Yes. Some people are, in fact, that fucking stupid, terrified and mislead.
@6 - Trader Joe's stores are about 10k–15k sq. ft.
@6, Trader Joe's varies. The Cap Hill is over 10K, the Queen Anne under. The existing liquor store at 12th and Pike is less than 10K.
This argument: "let's just pass this bill now and if we really wanna allow little stores to sell liquor we can pass an amendment later" is a shitty argument. For one thing, if Costco has the power to get this on the ballot (and they do), they certainly have the power to fight any potential amendments. And they would have plenty of reason to be against such an amendment, since that's just competition. And just crossing your fingers and hoping for a law to correct the law you vote for is completely irrational.

This initiative sucks.

Our supposedly free market capitalist system is already being fucked by big corporations that have the power to put the little guys out of business regardless of who makes a better product. Now we want to pass a law that gives them an even bigger advantage? A law that effectively says, "you can only make a shit ton of money selling this product if you are already a huge corporation making a shit ton of money". More money for the people that already have more money.

How on earth could anyone from the Stranger be supporting this?

Making cheaper, more potent, alcohol more easily available to poor and/or homeless, frequently mentally ill, alcoholics is not a civic virtue. Helping those “poor souls” switch from all day malt liquor diets to all day hard liquor diets will have a very negative impact on public health costs. Things that kill people slowly at great expense should not be cheap and easy to obtain. Drinking yourself to death is a privilege that should be reserved for those who can afford to do it on their own dime under their own roof.
And as far as being “afraid” of “that dude that's been pounding $2 tall cans of malt liquor all day every day for the last 15 years” discovering Popov and terrorizing my neighborhood… No fear of that here. My neighborhood has neither “convenience” stores, nor “dudes pounding $2 tall cans of malt liquor all day every day”. We’re pretty much a Whole Foods and Cocktails kind of neighborhood.
@15 Costco selling cheap liquor in bulk does not directly compete with a small specialty shop selling expensive scotch. That's like arguing that McDonald's would try to crush a small upscale restaurant for fear of competition.
"Arbitrarily selected commodity"

"better regulated without the state"
How the eff does that work?

Stranger name calling is lame. Myeh myth progressives save the kids arrerrg!
It's the $
If you don't get a good $ arrangement for the state n on the first go, to think it will improve is to ignore every current revenue related trend. Costco will fight for the big box oligarchy & against further taxation. Only it will be easier, b/c there'll be less left to offer.
@8 that's a pretty epic troll. Women Voters! 8/10
@16 yeah, good point. super poor people should definitely not be allowed easy access to alcohol. fuck um.

That was his argument before the initiatives were voted down. Now that any initiative going forward will be *at least* revenue neutral, his argument is: Oh My God, how dare you want to KILL PEOPLE???!!!!!

That was his reason for opposing privatization all along.
Naw.. lets issue them booze stamps along with food stamps. If we keep them drunk, it will keep them in thier place.
Lets also give babys razor blades to play with!!!!
@18, the problem is that with the 10,000 sq ft limit, there won't be any small specialty shops, period. Half the current liquor stores in the Seattle area are probably less than 10,000 sq ft.

I'm all for privatizing liquor sales. I think this Prohibition throw back nanny state is insane. But I also think the 10,000 ft limit is insane. This is a shitty and unworkable proposal.
@16 - This might seem counterintuitive, but convenience store liquor doesn't give you the bang-for-your-trying-to-intoxicate-yourself-as-cheaply-as-possible-buck as products already legally sold in Washington convenience stores. A fifth of Popov at my corner store is damn near $10.

I haven't seen any compelling evidence even correlating state liquor control with reduced rates of alcoholism. So I ask those that talk up this angle, either; where is the evidence, or; what is your real concern here?
Mostly just drunk Indians. You know how they get around the fire water...
@25 I'm well aware that the 10,000 square foot requirement would all but eliminate specialty stores... I was merely countering @15's assumption that Costco would try and fight any attempt to pass a second amendment to lift that ban once this legislation is in place. Then again- while some people believe this is Costco trying to kill the competition, I think the only reason it was included in the first place was to quiet a segment of the population who believes that small stores selling liquor = rampant alcoholism.
@20 you can laugh all you want, but that's how the vote breaks down.

Go tell Eyman to suck on a stop light.
@4 has a pretty good point, I'd love to see small specialty shops of good stuff, but they will be relatively rare even if the 10,000sf rule goes away.

Really I'm just tired of all this bullshit. With the lack of progress on past initiatives, I would live with this proposal. Sure, it benefits the big stores, but it's still an improvement over what we've got, or whatever half-measures the state legislature would consider passing (and then fail to pass anyway).
Any house Vodka from Costco is bound to be better than Monarch that is used for well drinks in most Seattle bars.
So would this preclude liquor "super stores?" Or do you actually have to sell groceries?

We already have small, specialty shops. They're the state run liquor stores. And they're just fine.
Eh, if I can't have marijuana I'm not about caring one bit about the alcoholics plight. Maybe if there was some kind of alliance, you stop harassing our attempts to regulate and distribute marijuana to persons of over 21 and I'll consider letting more stores sell alcohol. It may be a throwback to prohibition, but it kinda leaves out how dangerous alcohol really is. I know I'm bias, it killed my mother (how many parents have we lost to marijuana?), but that doesn't mean alcohol is something I necessarily think we need more of, more competition, more supply, I rarely have ever had issues with our 'monopoly' and I think there are some items only the government should be allowed to regulate (obviously to a point, no one should ever really give a shit about homebrew beer and shit). It would do them a world of good to regulate many more drugs that people already get, if only to take them out of the hands of gangs and put them money into schools or roads or what the fuck ever. This kind of legislation where Costco writes something it's really proud of and brings it's wet dreams to the voters and says "see, isn't this better than having to go into liquor stores" doesn't sit well with me. I rarely support legislation, and this one is written by the industry hungry for the profits their buddies promised them if they could change the law. And what does it mean for me? Nothing. What's the propose of the new law? More profits for costco? Oh maybe I can get a *wonderful* job as a greeter, our future overlords are being so nice to me gracing me with such lovely opportunities to vote for their laws, I can't wait for them to tell us what to do next.
@34 FTW
False: "thereby shutting out the small convenience stores that Dems and unions were so worried, ostensibly, would sell liquor willy-nilly to driving teens."

I wasn't worried about this in the least. It was going to cost the state to lose revenue. Period. The revenue for the state far outweighed any benefit of opening up liquor sales.
I call bullshit. Listen, I'd love to open a shop dedicated to fine cigars and cognac. This bill would not allow me to do so because of it's requirement for 10,000 square feet of space. No one held a gun to Costco's head and told them that they had to write in that requirement. Instead, they could have proposed a bill that allows them to sell liquor just like they do in California and Arizona. That bill would have allowed for local authorities to zone in their cities who would sell liquor and where it could be sold - just like they do already for porn shops. Costco chose not to do that because they are being cynical. They don't really care about the zoning issue because they know that they can buy any city official and get the zoning to work in their favor. What they are really hoping for is to get enough voters to agree to a bill in order to become distributors of liquor. That's the key issue. If you are not paying attention to that then you're missing the point. The new initiative will bring liquor in at a higher cost to consumers and force out players like me. BUT it will reap huge windfalls for big box stores who will become distributors of liquor in this state (the first state where such stores will be allowed to become distributors). That's the issue. Pull your head out of your asses and pay attention because that's where the real money is. Costco doesn't give a damn about selling you liquor nor does it give a damn about the price or the little guy.