Used to be, I couldn't wait for the demise of the state liquor store system. The prices were too high, and they were inconvenient.
Then I met Mario. He is the really helpful wine guru at the state store near my house. He knows everything about wines. Monthly, he sends me via e-mail the most recent Chairman Select varieties, and he has also telephoned me personally on several occasions to let me know that a certain French wine that I like was in stock. In the store, he is always ready and able to answer any questions I might have about a particular wine.
I ran into Mario at the mall last summer with his teenaged kids in tow. He is a regular guy like any of us, trying to do a good job at what he does and trying to raise a family. At that moment, I couldn't help but reflect about what his future might hold. Now I know there is a face behind the state store workers, and I worry what will happen to Mario, his family and the nearly 5,000 other people like him.
I hope our elected officials will not jump the gun in their decision to eliminate the state stores but rather consider the lasting effects these decisions will have on real people with real families.
C. WILLIAM GOFF