Fresh & Easy's Automated Checkouts an Easy Target For Kids Buying Beer? Not So Fast ...
|Luigi Guarino / Flickr|
|Neither fresh nor easy.|
Some local leaders said today that at least one of the chain's stores, the one in Manhattan Beach, has been cited for selling booze to underage drinkers as a result of its unmanned, automated checkout system, which critics say is operating outside California law.
However, Fresh & Easy spokesman Brendan Wonnacott called BS on those claims, telling the Weekly ...
... that the one citation received by the Manhattan Beach store earlier this year actually went to a (human) clerk who failed to check an ID.
A seeming mistake, sure. But not exactly the story critics are telling. In a statement they say:
Despite the enactment of a state ban (AB 183) on the sale of alcohol through self-checkout machines at the beginning of the year, grocery stores like Fresh & Easy are still being cited for selling alcohol to minors through these registers.
... Fresh & Easy stores have been cited multiple times for selling alcohol to minors through their self-checkout machines, including a citation at the Manhattan Beach store after the ban went into effect.
Though they say members of the clergy and community members are behind this move against Fresh and/or Easy, if you read between the lines, you start to see the bigger picture.
Backers of the critique include area assemblywoman Betsy Butler, the office of state Sen. Ted Lieu, and Clergy & Laity United for Economic Justice.
In fact, Fresh & Easy's Wonnacott spells it out:
This is part of a long-running campaign by organized labor and their allies to disrupt our operations. Our policy of requiring a face-to-face interaction with every customer who purchases alcohol is not any different than the process at a traditional checkout.
Yeah. L.A. is a big labor town. And we don't like nonunion markets. (See the Chinatown Walmart saga).
Now, we're all for economic justice. But let's just call this what it is: A move against Fresh & Easy because it's not too friendly to local labor.