One of the 40,000 new regulations that went into effect on January 1 was a California rule prohibiting the sale of alcohol in self-checkout lines, sponsored by state Rep. Fiona Ma (D-San Francisco). Why? For the children, of course!
Will the ban prevent the kids from getting their Bartles & Jaymes on? Let's go to the numbers:
The study quoted in Ma's literature was undertaken in 2009 at UCLA. If you can look past the obsequious photos, the data is interesting. Ma's money shot is this passage:
…participants were able to override a locked self-checkout machine or purchase alcohol without an employee's assistance and thus bypass the system 19 times out of 97 attempts (about 20 percent of attempts).
Another study, from San Diego State, found an even lower percentage of young people—of a sample pool more than twice as large—were able to make off with booze in the self-checkout line: 8.4 percent.
Meanwhile, another set of numbers about Rep. Ma—unions love her, it seems, almost as much as they hate automated labor saving technologies!:
By the by, does the name Fiona Ma ring a bell? It should. She's the source of one of my favorite lines in recent memory from a reason.tv video. Of her effort to crack down on raves in California, she says: "I found out later on that constitutionally you cannot ban a type of music." Oops.