Friday, January 8, 2010

A Fifth Of Stitches

A few years ago, Kathy and I were up in Metaline Falls to check out a quilt store. Kathy was heavy into quilting at the time. I was not, although there were times when my eye-for-design talents--also known as lucky guess--were consulted for laying out the blocks. I was excited to look around Metaline Falls--the Cutter Theater is awesome--and figured the torture of browsing in a quilt store was a small price to pay. We entered the store and I went into shopping trance mode where I daydream about being elsewhere and answer "Uh-huh" every time I'm asked, "Isn't this nice/pretty/beautiful/cute?"

Then something caught my eye. Is that a whiskey bottle? With my magnetic field aligned I walked towards the back of the store and lo and behold if this isn't a combination quilt and liquor store. Now I could participate in the shopping process and ask Kathy questions: "Hey, what do you think about this?" and "This is on sale. How about if we try it?" So if your quilting spouse wants to drag you to the Metaline Falls quilt store, it's not like it has to be a trip you have to suffer through. Unless you're a Mormon.

Why do I bring this up?

Well, some bright legislative souls think Washington state would be better off if the liquor stores were privatized.

Aside from the fact that the numbers don't really pan out that much to being favorable to the state's coffers, Governor Gregoire makes a valid point about the effect of privatizing liquor stores on rural areas such as Metaline Falls.

"This idea that we go the way of auctioning off, like West Virginia, let's be clear, you'll get rid of all your mom and pops," she said. "You'll have what they have, which is Rite Aid sells all liquor, is that what you want in Washington state? We contract out now, we contract out to mom and pops in rural areas. What does the auction get you, once every 10 years, possibly a couple hundred million dollars, if you sell high?

So let's keep the trip to Metaline Falls worth making for everyone, okay?


Spokane Al said...

As a libertarian kind of guy I do have a problem with our state being in the liquor business, much like my aversion over Spokane County entering the race park business. I cannot see either function as an essential part of state and/or local government.

And while the article seems to imply that total costs including pensions, health care costs and other employee expenses are factored into the equation, I really do wonder if that is truly the case. If the numbers cited were merely year over year costs vs. profits, then the true long term costs may be understated.

But then again, my perspective, as I laid out in the first paragraph, is probably more than a bit skewed.

Hank Greer said...

I actually agree with you, Al. But rather than auction off the whole process, I think the state should allow stores to sell liquor and let them compete. Just sit back and collect the taxes which happen to be very high. Of course, a lot of laws would have to be changed.

Shan said...

That store reminds me of places I've seen in the south. Odd combinations, like the tractor supply and clothing store... or the gun show and craft fair.

Bill Foss said...

A Spokane Costco dream: Kirkland Single Malt - $40 for a two-pack.