July 19, 2017

Editorial: The war against mom-and-pop package stores

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Pouring a glass of wine could soon be cheaper in Mass. -- but what is the real cost?

There’s certainly a lot to like in the message: “standing up for consumers.”

Then there’s the group’s name, Mass. Consumers First, which is echoed in the banner at the top of the page that screams “CONSUMERS FIRST.”

It’s all part of an effort to “modernize” state laws governing the sale of beer, wine and spirits.

The creator of this initiative is Total Wine & More, the Maryland-based retail giant with stores in Shrewsbury, Danvers, Natick and Everett. It has 159 locations in 20 states.

“Total Wine & More has a long track record as a proven consumer ally, and this new Consumers First campaign will promote sensible and much-needed updates to Massachusetts’ alcohol sale laws,” Ed Cooper, Total Wine’s VP of public affairs and community relations, said in a company press release.

Its website states: “Did you know that retailers in Massachusetts, by law, cannot pass along the savings they receive from wholesalers for bulk purchases to consumers? Are you aware that Massachusetts is one of the few states where liquor stores cannot offer loyalty rewards to their customers? Have you ever wondered why stores’ hours of operation are curtailed on Sundays? These issues and more are rooted [in] Prohibition-era fearmongering about alcohol consumption, or were sought by incumbent retailers hoping to keep out the competition.

“We think it’s time for a change.”

But, as the adage goes, if something looks too good to be true …

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