A supermarket in Washington is allowing customers to drink while they shop. You can grab a beer or glass of wine at their in-store bar and then take it with you as you forage.
At first blush this seems like a good, possibly even a great, idea. Food shopping is a hassle, and being able to have a glass or two while you roam — and maybe a bottle or two while you wait in the checkout line — could help take the edge off.
That said, the deeper you delve into the concept the more you come to realize this perk may be the biggest supermarket miscalculation since self checkout.
Now, I doubt anyone would call it an exaggeration to suggest that even stone, cold sober, the average operator of a shopping cart is a danger not only to herself, but to the whole of mankind in general.
What we are talking about here is introducing alcohol into an already chaotic mix of bad traffic flow, sudden stops and starts, mid-aisle U-ies, un-signaled lane changes, passing on all sides and general obliviousness. Oh, did I mention cellphones?
There will be accidents, many accidents, accidents ranging from carriage benders to head-ons, to chain-reaction rear enders, to roll overs. Attention: "Carnage cleanup in Aisle 5. Carnage cleanup in Aisle 5."
The shear number of mishaps will result in tie ups and bottle necks, which in turn will create the need for supermarket traffic reporters to keep shoppers updated:
"Right now there are no reported problems in the produce section, but carriage traffic remains backed up in the meat department where one lane is closed as the result of an earlier accident there, so stay to the right if you are trying to get to baked goods."
To control the alcohol-fueled shopping, supermarkets will have to hire traffic enforcement officers who will wear cool sunglasses and patrol in Crown-Vic carriages equipped with radar and flashing lights.
This will eventually lead to spot checks, walking straight lines, counting backward and having to blow into a Breathalyzer before operating a carriage.
And what happens if you are convicted of SWI (Shopping While Intoxicated)? Would you have your courtesy card suspended? Would you be restricted to carrying a basket when you shop? Would you be required to shop with a designated carriage wheeler?
Would it be possible I'm over-thinking this?