Pennsylvanians Can't Buy Beer and Wine at the Grocery Store Because 'It Only Takes a Little Bit of Greed to Kill a Child'


UCFW PA Wine & Spirits Council

Residents of most states take for granted the ability to buy beer and wine at the grocery store. That has been possible in every state where I've lived, with the exception of the one where I was born: Pennsylvania, where packaged wine and distilled spirits can be purchased only from a state monopoly and beer can be purchased only from distributors (if you are willing to buy a whole case) or in bars and restaurants (a loophole that some grocery stores, with clearance from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, have used to sell their customers beer). An anti-privatization ad sponsored by the UFCW, which represents employees of the state liquor monopoly, portrays this bizarre situation as perfectly natural, faulting "Harrisburg politicians" who "want to give big companies the right to sell beer and wine in supermarkets, big box stores, even gas stations." The union puts its anti-privatization propaganda into the mouths of two mothers sitting on a park bench at a playground. The best moment may be when a little girl scampers over to her mother and climbs onto her lap, whereupon the woman observes that "it only takes a little bit of greed to kill a child," then shakes her head sorrowfully. If you watch only one inadvertently comical political commercial this week, it should be this one.

How does Mom No. 1 know that "the same kind of law in North Carolina is killing one child every week"? According to the story cited in the ad, that is the average number of minors killed by "underage drinking-related accidents" in North Carolina each week. Clearly, privatization is to blame—if you assume that no one under 21 drinks in states with liquor monopolies. Given the motivation for the ad, which is aimed at preserving phony-baloney jobs, Mom No. 2 is on firmer ground when she remarks that "it's about greed, pure and simple."

Another UFCW ad (below) is more despicable than comical, showing a little girl laying a flower on her father's coffin as she reflects on how "a drunk driver took your life and changed mine forever." The narrator urges viewers to "tell your state senator to say no to liquor privatization," because "we don't want other children to lose their parents."

[Thanks to Adam Pallotto for the tip.]