Letters to the Editor

Liquor sales at Island Lumber is bad news | Letter to the Editor

I avoid reading newspapers because most specialize in bad news. Instead, I let wife Margaret break the bad news to me gently. For example, yesterday she read to me a piece in The Beachcomber reporting that Island Lumber will sell liquor. The owner was quoted as saying something like, “Adding alcohol will enhance the shopping experience when you’re looking for plumbing supplies or straight 2-by-4s.”

I may have gotten that quote wrong, but I can’t disagree with the “enhancement” claim. For some, the stress of fixing the plumbing brings on an intense desire for “enhancement.” One could argue that the effective shopkeeper should anticipate his customer’s needs. That’s how capitalism works, right?

Margaret read me two other pieces in the same Beachcomber: One was about how the middle schoolers are bringing a substance abuse expert to Vashon, and the other was a touching obituary for a man who endured for 22 years as a quadriplegic because of an accident caused by a drunk driver.

One of the failures of capitalism is that economic demands cause many people to value their own wealth higher than the welfare of the community.  This may not be so in this case, but we already can get alcohol at one liquor store, two groceries, two convenience stores, more restaurants than I can count and even on the ferry. It’s an inconvenient truth that we are literally awash in alcohol. If we really want to be responsible citizens, should we not recognize that alcohol abuse is a problem in part because of easy availability?

My late friend Gene Amondson used to say, “Your kids need you sober.” I would add that your kids need you sober when you fix the toilet. And you can forget about finding any straight 2-by-4s. They don’t exist.


— Greg Wessel


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