Print Edition: October 22, 2014
With the upcoming change in liquor sale laws in BC, shoppers will be able to buy alcohol with their groceries — or so it seems. Grocery stores that will be able to sell alcohol must be located more than one kilometre away from liquor stores. This is one of the conditions of the new law. According to the Vancouver Sun, only two out of the 53 grocery stores in Vancouver, will actually be selling alcohol.
These numbers aren’t that different in the Fraser Valley. It’s only natural liquor stores would open next to, or very close to, grocery stores before the law was implemented. Amid the heated debate over whether alcohol should be sold in grocery stores or not, most people don’t realize that barely any stores will actually carry it.
But it doesn’t stop there. This could (and probably will) lead to many large grocery stores buying out independent liquor stores nearby. According to the BC government’s web page, the liquor store industry is responsible for a myriad of jobs: there are over 10,000 establishments in BC that hold liquor licenses. These establishments couldn’t afford resisting a buyout. Not only will this create significantly fewer jobs in our province, it will hurt local breweries that rely on independent stores to carry their product.
Another cause of unemployment is the fact that alcohol can’t be sold by employees under 19. Many students are employed by grocery stores and most of them work evenings and weekends — the busiest times for liquor sales. Grocery stores will be required to have additional staff members of age on site in order for alcohol to be purchased separately, which could be an inconvenience. In the end, this is only going to cause problems. Seeing as this will be a hassle for most grocery stores, it is possible we’ll see a decline in hiring employees under 19. This law is not in the best interest of young people in need of jobs.
Though grocery store sales will go up, it is possible shoplifting will increase as well. It’s nearly impossible for high school kids to sneak into the liquor store across the street and steal alcohol, but the same can’t be said for a grocery store.
Was it really necessary these laws be changed? It seems there are more cons to selling alcohol in grocery stores than benefits. Buying alcohol has never been easier for British Columbians. With over 1,400 liquor stores in BC, as stated by the Vancouver Sun, we would be fine without the sale of alcohol in grocery stores. If we consider cutting jobs and raising shoplifting rates in BC just for the sake of convenience, then maybe it’s us that need to change, not our laws.