Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Strange Alcohol Laws

One thing I've always found strange about alcoholic beverages is the way the regulations differ so much state by state. Take Virginia. In some ways Virginia has very relaxed laws; you can buy wine and beer in grocery stores or gas stations, for example. In other ways the regulations make people from other states wonder what is the matter with us, e.g. only the State is allowed to sell liquor. Then you head up to our neighbor, Maryland, and everything is different. Walk into a Giant or 711 store and there is no alcohol. But private businesses can sell liquor and lots more. One time I was looking for some beer while passing through the state, and went to what appeared to be the only liquor/beer/wine store in town. This place was like the Wal-Mart of Things That Will Get You In Trouble. The walls were lined with loads of liquor, wine and beer, all of it clearly made for the purpose of getting you drunk instead of tasting good. On the other side of the store, they sold knives. Lots of knives. That's right, I said knives. Not kitchen knives either, the kind of knives that are designed to hurt people.

What's even more strange is when you go abroad and see yet more strange laws. I used to live in England for a few years. Compared to us, their laws regarding booze are virtually non-existent. Here's a place where it's not uncommon to see people drinking on the Tube (that's the Subway to you and me), even at 9 o'clock in the morning. But when I first got there they did have one very strange law: all pubs must close by 11pm. Apparently this goes back to some World War I thing. They revoked that law about two years ago, but most pubs will still voluntarily close at 11. Which brings me to my next point - we should time our bar outings more like the British. I used to think this 11pm thing was insane, until I realized that to them it made sense. You see, over here if we want to go out to a bar we usually wait until 9pm or later, for no reason at all if you think about it. In England people like to hit the pub straight from work, around 5 or 6. So by 11pm they are done and ready for bed. The total amount of bar-time is about the same, but you get more sleep using their method. Now does that not make sense?

2 comments:

Luke said...

Great post.

Amy said...

"Wal-mart-of-Things-That-Will-Get-you-In-Trouble"...that made me laugh so hard. Still does...