Consumer protection — it’s a good thing

Government is supposed to protect consumers from shady business practices, fraud, misrepresentation, etc. It’s why we have the federal Bureau of Consumer Protection, numerous state and federal laws, and the Better Business Bureau.

That’s good business regulation, and it makes sense.

The other condition that makes businesses behave properly is choice. When consumers have more choices, businesses have to adapt or face the consequences.

What doesn’t make sense is when the equation flips. When government starts favoring the business over the consumer. When consumers are forced into fewer choices than the market will bear.

This is exactly the situation with Tennessee laws that prevent retail food stores from selling wine.

There are good reasons for these laws, right? Let’s run down the list.

  • Wine is a dangerous product and is only safely sold by liquor stores. Retail food stores already manage pharmacies and sell beer. They understand how to provide a safe environment and sell responsibly as well as anyone.
  • Teenagers who work in these stores will have greater access. Retail food stores do not keep beer in the stockrooms or warehouses. The beer distributors deliver it directly to the store and stock the shelves. Retail food stores would handle wine the same way.
  • Store clerks are harried and don’t always check IDs. They do in Tennessee because it’s the law.
  • Liquor stores have just been playing by the rules for years. Yes, they have. But that doesn’t mean those rules, which have punished the consumer by discouraging competition and progress, are good.

We no longer have rabbit ears on our TVs, rotary phones, and crank windows in our cars for a reason. It’s time for Tennessee’s liquor laws to keep pace with the times.

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One Response to “Consumer protection — it’s a good thing”

  1. The Grocers Are Back : Post Politics: Political News and Views in Tennessee Says:

    […] they still want to sell liquor in their stores: We no longer have rabbit ears on our TVs, rotary phones, and crank […]

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