Fighting the Beer Store fight.

Have you seen the opinion pieces running in what is left of Ontario’s small-town papers? These are warnings forecasting higher prices for beer if we change the way it is sold? This is old-fashioned protectionism for the beer store’s unionized employees. Frankly, with some grocery stores already offering beer, that horse has left the stable.

What this public relations effort is telling us is that the beer workers union is assuming the recent on-line survey by the government is telling them to go ahead with a broader array of sales outlets for beer. As a populist premier, Doug Ford would be inclined to support sales through convenience stores.

What should accompany this decision is a better direction for the present beer stores. There is a strong movement to separate the recycling efforts of the beer store from case sales. It would serve the public better if the Beer Store management decided what business it is going to emphasize. By a better divide between the two businesses, the merchandising and sales of beer could be greatly improved.

Ontario beer drinkers are frankly tired of the poor merchandising and bad smells of recycling depots doing a part-time job of selling beer. It would hardly surprise me if many of the 447 stores in Ontario need to be condemned as unsanitary.

Is it just part of their bad service that they challenged 3.7 million customers last year? If the company’s employees can only guess that somebody is underage or drunk once in every 34 tries, they should get out of the age and sobriety guessing business. It would certainly improve their service for the other customers.

And while we should never constrain the choices people can make as to their favourite suds, most customers come to the store to get a specific brand in a specific quantity. There are lots of ways to improve the service for them.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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