Would you buy wine from a machine that looks like this hulking monster seen in this photo? That is the question facing some shoppers in Pennsylvania that run into these wine vending machines—part of a pilot program by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board.
The process of buying a bottle is not quite as simple as showing your ID to a gum-chewing Bevmo clerk here in California. Instead buyers need to swipe their ID, breathe into an “alcohol sensor”, stare into a surveillance camera, and then complete the purchase using the transaction processing system built into the kiosk.
Thanks to cumbersome liquor laws in Pennsylvania, which only allow wine to be sold in state-owned stores, consumers are increasingly frustrated with limited access to wine. However, not everyone is pleased to see these large kiosks.
“The process is cumbersome and assumes the worst in Pennsylvania’s wine consumers — that we are a bunch of conniving underage drunks,” says Wine School of Philadelphia president Keith Wallace about new breathalyzer-equipped wine kiosks in supermarkets. (from Associated Press).
Time will tell if the program is successful.
For now, us Californians can take solace in the fact that Cabs can readily be had just about anywhere; even if it means we need to actually interact with a human being or two.