Plan on buying beer at the grocery store this week? Don’t be surprised if the cashier hands you a little yellow postcard with your purchase.
The cards, which begin with the statement “I support Sunday sales of alcohol beverages,” are the first step in building a grassroots network to overturn the 1933 ban on Sunday alcohol sales, said Stan Sorkin, president of the Connecticut Food Association, which represents hundreds of Connecticut grocery stores.
Connecticut is one of three states in the nation that prohibit alcohol sales on Sunday.
Member stores across the state received the cards earlier this month. Customers are asked to provide their name, address and e-mail, and to sign a statement indicating their support for repeal.
Once the cards are filled out and returned to the cashier, they’re sent back to the association to be forwarded to the state Capitol “when the time comes,” Sorkin said. He declined to specify exactly who would receive the cards or when.
“They’re to let politicians know the everyday consumer is in favor of the opportunity to buy beer and wine on Sunday, which is the second most popular shopping day of the week,” he said.
$5 million in new tax revenue
With the state’s looming budget deficit and the possibility of a 10 percent tax increase on alcohol, Sorkin said the additional day of sales would generate as much as $5 million in much-needed revenue for the state each year.
Increased costs for package stores?
Efforts to change the law have been fought tooth and nail by the Connecticut Package Store Association, which believes allowing Sunday sales would merely spread existing sales out over an additional day and raise operating costs for small business owners.
Executive Director Carroll J. Hughes said as many as 300 small package stores in the state would be in danger of closing if the Sunday sales ban was lifted.
A survey of package stores conducted earlier this year by the organization found opening the extra day would cost the average store owner $13,000 a year in labor, utilities and insurance, he said.
Sorkin argued that small stores don’t need to open the extra day if they don’t want to. “I’ve never seen someone go out of business by basically expanding their opportunity to sell a product,” he said.