Would that they walked in our Birkenstocks.

A spokesperson for Ontario Finance Minister Dwight Duncan said it all for the Ontario Whigs the other day. She is quoted in the Toronto Star as saying that “This government believes that Ontarians are well served by the current retail system for beverage alcohol.”

She is talking about a retail system established in 1927 to appease the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union. This is about as up-to-date as the Ontario Whigs can get.

And this spokesperson has obviously never visited “The worst Beer Store in Ontario” here in Babel.

We gave up complaining about the dump a couple years back. It is a waste of time. This Beer Store does not accept complaints. The problem is that Brewers Warehousing (owned by the big foreign-owned beer companies) has to decide whether it is in the distribution business, the retail beer business or the bottle return business. It is currently making a disgusting mess of all three.

In Babel’s Anne Street store, the floors are awash in the dregs of empties to the point that the layered crud will rip the Birkenstocks off your feet. The smell is enough to knock you over. The constantly replaced staff is poorly trained and has two speeds: slow and slower. We could always drive more than twice as far and patronize one of the four other Beer Stores in Babel but they each have their own problems.

We keep pointing out to myopic Ontario politicians that the operative word for convenience stores in Ontario is the word “convenience.” The idea is that these convenience stores can be a convenient place to get supplies of beer and wine. Yes, it will be slightly more expensive but do not forget what the extra charge is for: convenience.

With distributing beer to convenience stores on its plate, Brewers Warehousing could do something useful and learn how to do distribution properly. It could also improve its bottle return operations at its less busy retail stores.

One other idea that appeals to us is that standards could be set for convenience stores that want to sell beer and wine. In one easy action and a few inspectors, you can upgrade 90 per cent of Ontario’s convenience stores. And in convenience stores, complaints that the public make could matter.

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Copyright 2012 © Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to  peter@lowry.me

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