State Inspectors Clear SAM's Club to Sell Liquor
Even though there is still a lawsuit in the works to try and stop it, SAM's Club got the final go-ahead from state inspectors this week. According to state regulations, a "facility" which sells booze is not supposed to be able to sell anything not directly related to the consumption of alcohol. Perhaps some of you who have been to the new SAM's in Fayetteville can tell us whether or not SAM's sells anything besides liquor in the same "facility" that its alcohol is in. (The regulation makes no mention of whether or not another entity can sell something non-alcohol related in the same facility where alcohol is sold.)
Some of you might think it is a dumb regulation and it ought to be changed. Perhaps so, but that is not the point. The point is that SAM's will have a competitive advantage over the other stores like HARPs and the stand-alone liquor stores as well if this decision is allowed to stand. Justice demands that the law be applied equally to great and small alike. Since the system is not geared to give the small special breaks, the danger is usually against giving the big guys special breaks.
The ABC board originally did not approve the request from SAM's, and changed its mind after a SAM's club representative had a chat with an ABC board member in a nearby bar about what the board member's favorite charities were shortly before the hearing.
Now we don't know that anything wrong happened here, but it seems to me that there was at least the appearance of impropriety. Rules should be enforced fairly and impartially. Even those who work for or with the powerful should want the powerful subject to the same rules and regulations as the rest of us. In fact, it is even more important for them, because a powerful player that takes advantage of those around it is even more likely to put the squeeze on them than on the average person.