Sooo... in case you haven't been paying attention, I live in North Carolina. Okay, maybe I never told you that before. But tada! I live in the Tar Heel state. Why Tar Heel? Well apparently the North Carolinians in the Civil War were so very brave and NEVER ran away from a fight. So people said, "well daggum those boys must have tar on their heels keepin 'em stuck to the ground!"
|Not brave. Just stuck.|
Or so some website told me. Frankly, I feel as though tar on my heel wouldn't keep me stuck to the ground. Rather, it would simply pick up a lot of dirt, grass and grime and become some disgusting super-sole on my shoe. Sort of like permanent stuck dog poo. And that wouldn't make me stay and fight. That would probably make me sit on the nearest rock and scrape at my shoes with a stick for hours on end, or continuously mutter 'Can you smell that?'
Anywho, my point is that in North Carolina alcohol is controlled by the state. No, they don't just tax the bejeezus out of it. They sell it. Other than wine and beer, and Bailey's Irish Cream (clearly the Bailey's lobby is very strong within the NC State legislature) everything else is sold in ABC stores which stands for Anything But Customers. Okay, you got me. It doesn't. I think it is actually Alcoholic Beverage Control or something. So things like Diet Coke aren't regulated as they don't have alcohol. If Diet Coke were regulated I would move immediately.
So these stores vary by town and whatnot. But let me tell you about the ABC stores in my town. Suffice to say I haven't been to a store in Russia but from my knowledge of such places I can say that the ABC Commission modeled their entire business plan on Soviet style economics.
|Brick shithouse? Nope. Liquor store.|
You walk in and the shelves are maybe three bottles deep of each product. And you can't get every product. Oh no. These shops are maybe the size of half of a CVS pharmacy. There were booze shops in Connecticut that took up entire city blocks. So you can imagine that the selection in these places are severely limited.
Also, all the staff wear these little red vests, and I bet stitched on the inside, where we can't see- are a hammer and sickle.
|Those who need customer service will be shot.|
It's the sort of environment where you feel as if you should take one bottle, AND ONE BOTTLE ONLY, to the counter. And then with eyes cast downward you hand the bottle and exact change over. You receive a bottle and a receipt and you exit quietly.
My local liquor store in Connecticut was like a party waiting to happen. It had every conceivable type of booze. It had bottles of booze that contained bottles of booze inside them! It had bottles in all shapes and liquids of all colors. It had olives and pearl onions, and the little sword toothpicks. You were sometimes even approached by the staff to see if you needed any help or had questions! I know, I know. There really is no need for help at an ABC store as there are only about five spirits to choose from. But still, do I want the 750ml bottle or the 50ml bottle? Maybe a salesperson could help me with this goddamn quandary.
My point in griping about all this is that it is Saturday night. In other places Saturday night could start with a trip to the liquor store that was almost as enjoyable as the rest of the evening. It was like a Chinese buffet of booze, with just as much puking afterwards. Everyone was always happy there. You would glance at each other and give fellow customers that smile... the 'Yup, it's Saturday night and it's time to PARTAAAY!' smile.
In North Carolina you look at your fellow customer see eyes full of shame and fear. And let me tell you folks it takes a lot of booze to forget. I would go buy some right now just to erase the memories of previous visits to the ABC, but it's fucking closed already!
Oh, North Carolina. I love you so. And I know you're the buckle of the Bible Belt. But Jesus didn't wear a belt. He wore a dress. And he drank lots of wine.