Wal-Mart installs wine vending machines

Each machine is connected to a state employee in Harrisburg, via video-camera. A customer chooses their wine, swipes their ID, puffs into a breathalyzer and faces the camera. The state employee checks that the ID matches the person and, if they’re not already intoxicated, the person is allowed to buy the wine (the machine vends only wine right now).

What next? Backscatter nude-o-grams to make sure you’re not already carry another bottle? Oh, and as if this wasn’t bad enough, the first store with the machine, Giant Eagle in Robinson, only keeps it switched on until 9PM.

Clearly these laws aren’t meant to protect the people. Rather, a state monopoly on booze is a clear money-spinner for the local government. Still, the workaround is admirable, in a hi-tech, convoluted fashion, which is exactly the kind of workaround we like. read more at Wired

Wine bottles from a vending machine? Interesting idea. And Wal-Mart (WMT) is all over this one — at least in parts of Pennsylvania. The retailing giant has received a green light from the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board to put wine kiosks in stores across the state, CBS Pittsburgh reports. The machines will reportedly have more than 50 varieties of wine. But before you buy, you’ll need to swipe your driver’s license — and puff into a Breathalyzer. The chairman of the Pennsylvania liquor board describes the machines as “developed for the average consumer who wants a nice bottle of wine with their steak and seafood.” read more at MSN

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