Sunday, October 2, 2011

Grrrrrr . . . The Oregon Liquor Control Commission "Sting"

So . . . two women walk into a wine tasting room. I know, it sounds like I'm starting a bad joke, but stay with me. This is not a fabricated story, it's the sad and awful truth. It happened just Friday.

One of the women is older, the other is younger and talking on her cell phone the entire time. The older one approaches the bar, greets the server and responds, "Yes," to the server's question about whether they're both tasting. The younger one is across the room with her face obscured by the phone. She looks a little young but the server doesn't want to interrupt her conversation to ask for ID because it would be rude - leaving aside how rude it is to walk into a wine tasting room while yapping on your telephone to begin with, of course.

I think you may have an inkling of where this is going given the title of this post, so let's go there together.

The server pours the requisite ounce of wine into each of two glasses which remain sitting on the bar, untouched. Just then, the younger woman removes the phone from her face and turns toward the bar. The now-horrified server comes to the sudden realization that, not only is the customer probably underage and absolutely needs to be carded, but that she may have just been "stung" by the OLCC.

Sure enough. The older woman identifies herself as being from the OLCC, demands to see the server's permit to pour alcohol (which she's fully entitled to do) and announces that the server has violated the law by serving a minor. Then the police officer they'd dragged along enters the room from the street to issue a citation. An extended (and probably heated I'd think) discussion then ensues involving the quite smug and haughty people from the OLCC, the server and the winery owner. After what was apparently some extended wrangling, the end result is that the untouched glass doesn't matter and the server is appearing in court next week.

What an incredible crock of shit. I'm sorry, but there's simply no other way to describe this that conveys my sense of outrage at a scheme that is completely driven by entrapment. I learned years ago that if a police officer drives 80 miles an hour on the freeway and you're following, matching his speed, it's entrapment if he then tickets you for speeding. It's the same thing with police officers posing as hookers. The "customer" has to make the first mention of money for sex. Well, how is this any different?

The OLCC deliberately brought a minor into a room where the only thing served is alcohol. It's really classy alcohol, but alcohol nonetheless. Her role, as obviously scripted by a public enforcement and oversight agency we're supposed to trust, is to obscure her face as much as possible until the magic moment when the wine is poured. The "money shot" if you will. She NEVER speaks to the server and the only person who does is a legal drinker and SHE is the one who says they're both tasting. This is deceptive and it's underhanded. It's devious and sneaky beyond belief and it's absolutely shameful that this server was set up so blatantly.

The Oregon Liquor Control Commission has been entrusted to watch out for the public's welfare in matters related to alcohol, not concoct fairly elaborate schemes in which upstanding people will be tricked into technical violations of the law. Go do something important, people.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for your post, well written! I have a family member who was also subject to a very similar OLCC entrapment scheme. Even after hiring the best attorney it was a total loss. The server lost their license, and both the company/server had to pay very hefty fines- not to mention attorney fees, criminal record and the shame that goes along with this. This was years ago and I see the OLCC today has nothing better to do than purposefully practice deceitful embroilment tactics. It's pathetic and yet it's within the law, sadly.