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Blow Before You Purchase Wine–PA Using Kiosk Machines to Test Consumer Alcohol Levels at Time of Purchase-Privacy?

Posted Aug 02 2010 11:05am

Is this useful and convenient or a taste of big brother coming to the super market?  image The State of Pennsylvania is testing the system and it appears if you are intoxicated your sale is null.  One disadvantage maybe the ability to read a label. 

In Pennsylvania liquor is purchased via State liquor stores and this is one attempt to bring the sales into the stores, but with technology supervising the purchase.  I am guessing you have your picture taken and it’s probably linked to your credit card upon purchase too as an employee will be giving the ok for the purchase from a remote location.  I like the picture here showing “grandma” buying her wine.  The alcohol business is coming back with their own marketing and new and improved liquor too, vitamin enriched?  It makes one wonder if we are going the way of “medical alcohol” some day doesn’t it?

Where would this technology go next is the question?  Would this lead to being a process at any bar in time?  It does make one wonder how far and how linked all of this will become as your wine buying habits could be traced and then would this somehow make it to a healthcare record somewhere along the line?  I think if you had the kiosk without the added feature of having to “blow” before purchase there might be a little less hesitation here.  BD

Pennsylvania, one of nine state governments involved in retail alcohol sales, is taking a step toward allowing wine to be sold at grocery stores, but not right off the supermarket shelf as in most states. Instead, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board ( PLCB ) is testing wine vending machines that require an ID and a breath test for intoxication, making the state the first in the nation to try the kiosks.

The wine vending machines, which can hold more than 700 bottles, were introduced at grocery stores in Harrisburg and Mechanicsburg in late June, and if they are a hit, the board plans to add 98 kiosks statewide in the fall, said Patrick Stapleton, chairman of the PLCB.

The machines, which take credit and debit cards, are about the size of four large refrigerators. Customers choose their wine purchase using a touch-screen display, swipe their identification card and then blow into an alcohol sensor. All of this is captured on a surveillance camera. A state employee approves the sale remotely.

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