Last week's newsletter that asked for your opinions on the Sunday sales issue unleashed an very strong, immediate and almost visceral response. I received over 100 reader responses in the first hour and more than 300 overall, and these were not just one sentence responses! It seems that 99% of you favor Sunday sales and many of you wrote eloquent paragraphs despairing over everything from the cynical nature of our legislature to the backward image the issue presents for our state. I can't possibly begin to publish all your comments, but here are a few excerpts that I think are representative of your opinions, not to mention some that were pretty funny.
And, on a note of closure, I spoke to Grant Monahan of the Indiana Retail Council and he admits that the Sunday sales advocates were well and truly outsmarted by the package liquor lobby. And, that the bill is dead this year and doubtful next year because of the short session. Maybe 2017? Here is a little of what you had to say...
"This law, like daylight savings time and cross-county banking firmly identifies the Indiana legislature as Luddites…..or certainly rustics and helps earn a certain amount of skepticism about our state being more than a bit behind the times."
"Buying wine, liquor and beer is not against the law. There is no good argument against Sunday sales. Just self serving agendas from a very rich group of people."
"Seriously speaking, I think the package stores are worked up over nothing. I do realize their overhead would increase by operating 7 days a week, however, the number of people that shop on Sundays, in my opinion, would outweigh that expense. I, for one, would love to be able to purchase alcohol on Sundays. I work Monday through Friday 7am to 6pm, so the weekends are the only time I can shop.
About going on daylight savings time years ago and how it was going to impact cows’ milk production, etc."
The fact that I can buy a bottle at a restaurant across the street from the store on Sunday but not IN your store is crazy. And yes, when my wife and I lived Elkhart years ago we just drove to the (busy) stores just across the border to purchase whatever we needed on Sunday.
"The current law is an embarrassment for our state and an inconvenience to its citizens. It’s humiliating when friends visit and it’s embarrassing that we still have this arcane law."
"My business thoughts are that I would buy NO additional alcohol and the cost of your being open with added staff and expenses indicate that you would have to increase the prices of the fun wines you sell. This means more expense with NO increase in pleasure."
"Grocery and drug stores sell the same products Monday through Saturday, and just because they are sold on Sunday shouldn't require any new rules or oversight. The ban on Sunday sales just goes along with our legislatures other idiotic thinking that gambling on water is OK, but not on land, or that electronic table games are fine but having table games with dealers isn't."
"I was just incredulous when they added that poison pill to the bill. It made them look absolutely stupid when trying to explain why it needed to be added."
"I have yet to hear a cogent reason as to why this law still exists, although it is rather amusing to see the various parties lobbying away on both sides – it almost reminds me of the debate about going on daylight savings time years ago and how it was going to impact cows’ milk production, etc."
"I am completely supportive of Sunday sales. There is no rational reason to restrict it. 49 other states have it and there is no evidence that it has destroyed package liquor stores."
"Personally I have no problem selling alcohol on Sunday. What I do take exception to is the different requirements put on package store alcohol sales that are not shared by the big box guys. I don't understood why you have to be twenty one to walk into a package store but can walk amongst the same product in a CVS or Kroger regardless of age. I never understood why workers in package stores have to jump through the hoops they do while the clerk at Walgreen or Marsh does not. Frankly, if alcohol is deemed to be dangerous by the state and certain restrictions are put in place to protect those under the legal age these laws should be enforced similarly regardless of who is selling them. So, even the playing field by relaxing the requirements the package stores are subject to, or making the big box guys subject to the same requirements as the package stores."
"I think it is embarrassing that Indiana does not allow Sunday sales. We look like a backwater."
"It seems like the legislators should be at least as concerned about the convenience of consumers as they are about protecting a small group of merchants."
"It's hard to believe that this is actually still an issue in this state, one that has hosted a Super Bowl, is home to the Indianapolis 500, and boasts itself as the Amateur Sports Capital of the World, among other accolades and achievements. We strive for that "big city" feel, and do a fairly good job in some areas of growth and advancement, yet we continue to allow lobbyists with deep pockets to keep antiquated and small-minded laws on the books, some of which make us look like bumpkins."
"Our summer home is in far northern Indiana and our local package store just across the border is always packed on Sundays with Indiana cars."
"I worked in the grocery business many years ago near the Indy 500. Visitors would stop at the store before the race on Sunday to purchase beer. The look on their faces when we told them they could not purchase on Sunday was sheer confusion followed quickly by "stupid backwards ass ......""
"I am probably a bit old fashioned in this regard. Growing up in South Africa where everything was closed on a Sunday, it kind of got ingrained into the system as a way of life ....just having Sundays be relaxing days with the family. (The old joke in SA is to never go sky-diving on a Sunday as nothing opens on Sunday). However, Libertarian that I am ...I believe that any store in US should be able to open when and as they like. (just like churches should be allowed to open on a Monday)"
"I make it a point not to spend a dollar in any of the shops that fight Sunday sales!"
"Indiana is looked upon as a joke by our neighbors, it puts another burden on consumers. Hypocrisy!"
"I live in Johnson County, a/k/a the Sahara Desert of Retail Wine. We usually make two trips a year to GVC to stock up. They are destination trips for us that we combine with other Northside shopping and dinner. Sunday sales would make our treks north more convenient by adding a third potential shopping opportunity to Fridays and Saturdays."
"49 states allow Sunday sales. 1 does not. The proposed bill to "segregate" alcohol in stores is beyond stupid. I can go to the RAM have 4 beers and drive home, but I cannot buy a six pack or a bottle of Zinfandel on Sunday? Makes no sense."
"I'd like a case of the Zaca Mesa Syrah, please. I'd like to pick it up on a Sunday, but that will have to wait until enlightenment reaches the state legislature."
"I wish the Indy Star would have clearly named those legislators that inserted the poison-pill into the bill, then come election time, voters can remove these backward thinking, non-consumer-friendly representatives." That would be Tom Dermody, Republican - LaPorte who both introduced the bill and then added the poison-pill amendment. I think he may have borrowed a few moves from Richard Nixon's playbook....