Two Minds re Sam's Wines

jeez. I'm of two minds regarding these allegations. Kickbacks shouldn't be required to do business, but also the liquor industry is intensely over-regulated, especially in Illinois, and thus ripe for corruption. When I moved here, I was shocked that underage cashiers couldn't even touch bottles of wine to scan them: a more senior employee (or sometimes, me - the customer) would even have to press the cash register button. As if the 'evil liquor' would jump through the bottle and corrupt innocents...
Granted you can buy whiskey at 6 am on Sunday, at a drugstore, or elsewhere (in Texas no hard liquor available on Sunday, and only at specialized liquor stores the rest of the week, and Sunday sales of wine or beer only after 12 noon).

From the Tribune:

State regulators have hit Sam's Wines & Spirits, one of the nation's largest liquor retailers, with a lengthy list of citations, including allegations of extorting kickbacks from alcohol distributors and operating an illegal warehouse.

The Illinois Liquor Control Commission is seeking a settlement from the giant Lincoln Park-based store, but regulators warned they would seek to revoke the company's liquor license if the case goes to a hearing.

Based on a months-long investigation that began last spring, the 15-count citation delivered to Sam's last week alleges the store set up a marketing company to extort money from liquor distributors who wanted to sell their products through Sam's.

Sam's also broke state liquor laws by operating an unlicensed off-site warehouse, selling to other retail stores, using its size to demand exclusive prices from distributors, and failing to pay distributors within the required time frame, said Michael Malone, executive director of the Liquor Control Commission.


Some industry experts point out that much of what Sam's is accused of doing would be perfectly acceptable business practices in other retail industries.

oh, and I frequently shop at Sam's - the prices are excellent, as is the selection.

update 5/16/06, case settled.


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This page contains a single entry by swanksalot published on December 7, 2004 9:54 AM.

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