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Markets urged to keep an eye on people buying economy-sized cans of Natty Ice at 9:05 in the morning

The Boston Licensing Board decides Thursday whether Alex's Market, 322 Talbot Ave. in Dorchester, deserves any punishment for the way a customer walked out of the store and immediately popped open one of the 25-oz. Natural Ice cans he'd just purchased and guzzled some down - and then handed another one to an acquaintance.

BPD detectives staking out the location in response to public complaints about public drinking in the Codman Square area rushed out of their car and arrested the Natty Ice buyer for drinking in public - and then issued the market a citation for allowing a customer to drink alcohol right outside and for selling singles.

At a hearing today, an attorney for the market said the clerk on duty in the shop had no time to go outside to stop the drinking - because the detectives were themselves out there lickety split. And she said the prohibition on the sale of single cans of beer in the store's license only applies to cans of 12 oz. or smaller. Taller cans "are not considered singles," she said.

Board member Liam Curran questioned owner Manuel Guzman about people buying cans, of any size, of Natty Ice at 9:05 in the morning.

Shouldn't that be "a red flag situation" in which a clerk consummating such a sale be especially vigilant to see what the customer might do outside?

Guzman said he trains his staff to keep an eye on customers as they leave in all cases, but that he assumes that most people buying beer first thing in the morning are probably just taking it home.

"Does your clerk really think he's going straight home?" Curran asked.

The board could find no violation, issue a warning, or suspend the market's right to sell alcohol for a set period of time.

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Comments

What an amazing waste of time for everyone involved.

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A worker on his way home from the graveyard shift shouldn't be able to grab a beer on the way? Wow. And if the city is serious about enforcing the public-drinking ban, then it's the cops' job to do it. Is there some defined distance from the store, at which it's no longer their responsibility to police their customers?

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Why is it the store's fault if two (2) guys are drinking the beer they just bought in public outside the store? Please cite the municipal code. Why don't they just arrest the public drunks!! These poor mom and pop businesses are struggling as it is and it's also bad enough they have to deal with being pushed out of the neighborhood by these newly 'gentrifying' developers building "so-called" affordable housing. Just push all the "unsightly" customers and businesses out to Brockton, right??

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One of the conditions attached to obtaining a license to sell alcohol is agreeing to accept responsibility for what happens on the sidewalk right outside their door (bars and restaurants also have a similar condition).

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But the cops showed up long before the store even had a chance to do anything about the drinking outside its door, so we don't know what, if anything would have been done if the cops hadn't dealt with the situation first. .

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What's a store supposed to do though? Shoo them away? Take the cans back? I can see responsibility for loitering, but I can't make out what the store is expected to do here.

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"then issued the market a citation for allowing a customer to drink alcohol right outside and for selling singles ....... and she said the prohibition on the sale of single cans of beer in the store's license only applies to cans of 12 oz. or smaller. Taller cans "are not considered singles," she said."

Ignorance of the law is no excuse ... unless you're a cop.

Also love how Liam Curran is unaware that people work nights and may also like to have a beverage after work like the 9-5ers.

What a ridiculous waste of time and resources.

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Yep, the Supreme Court upheld in Heien v North Carolina that cops do not need to the know the laws which they enforce all day long.

It was an 8-1 decision.

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Because even these people want to have a clean neighborhood, free of public drinkers when their kids are walking to school.

And no one getting off a night shift is grabbing a tall one at this place, and the store isn’t going to lose its license over it. Just trying to make the neighborhood better.

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this place” source please.

Also, how is harassing a small business for something out of their control making the neighborhood better? I have no problem with bpd arresting the drinker though, they might as well do something since they don’t enforce traffic violations (expect for the couple weeks after a toddler dies) and only clear less than half of homicides in the city annually (which are increasing I might add).

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Which is clear, but there anrent any studies on drinking after a night shift, so I’ll stick with my empirical evidence of thousands of hours on night shifts and hundreds of people I know who work the shift.

They aren’t harassing the store, they are answering to the community. For every complaint about homicides or even traffic enforcement in this
Area, there are probably 100 complaints about quality of life issues. I know your probably a white guy who wants to help the world, but come to the city sometime and meet some people.

And if you knew anything about clearing homicides, you would know that the police really don’t have much to work with, especially with Boston’s which are random out door nighttime gang related shootings in residential areas with no cameras

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would consider that harassment. And I actually know more than I would care to about how bpd deals with homicide investigations and let's just say I'm surprised they get half.

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Former graveyard shift worker here. I'm surprised over the statistic improbability of you knowing hundreds of people working night shift and but not knowing any who'd pick up a tall one on their way home. The early morning was my late evening, and on occasion I would absolutely pick up beer on my way home, and even ran into co-workers doing the same thing. Narrow window of opportunity for that sort of thing when you work those hours, you know.

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Where? Almost all night shifts are going to get off around 7:30, and if you want to have a drink, you don’t wait a few hours to grab one on the way home, you either already have them on ice (to drink with co workers) or go somewhere that opens early like a bar. Boston hasn’t had these early morning hours for a while, and besides are you taking about Dorchester? And again, working a late shift and having a beer is still rare, and I’m not making this up I really don’t think that many people drink after a last half shift, I have of course, but it’s rare

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Almost all? It depends on your industry and employer. I would get off work between 8-10 and the liqour store nearest my job on Morrissey Blvd (so yes, Dorchester) opened at 9, making it convenient for me to pick up beer on the way home.

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I work overnights and have, on occasion, stopped at this store and grabbed a cold Presidente on my way home. The staff there genuinely seem on top of things. The owner is often present and very active in his management style. Although since this store hasn't been open for months since the fire. Not sure if they are going to re-open?

Both liquor stores in Codman Sq burned and closed with in 6 months of each other, and there has been no decrease in complaints about public drinking in the park or side streets in the area.

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Then maybe the city should ban selling 25 oz singles at 9 am. Until then, the store hasn't done anything wrong.

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This is terrible logic. What a silly leap that people buying a beer at 9am have different motives than those at 5 or 9pm.

Also, drinking outside is the drinkers fault, not the store. I'm ashamed that someone with such a poor grasp of logic as Liam Curran represents me and my city in any way.

And it shouldn't even be illegal, but that's a different discussion. .

. Board member Liam Curran questioned owner Manuel Guzman about people buying cans, of any size, of Natty Ice at 9:05 in the morning.

Shouldn't that be "a red flag situation" in which a clerk consummating such a sale be especially vigilant to see what the customer might do outside?

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Liam Curran is a busybody who needs to get a job or a hobby.

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He's on the board. And he gets paid an obscene amount of money which gets taken from us at eventual gunpoint to do it.

Vote Democrat again.

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people buying cans, of any size, of Natty Ice at 9:05 in the morning. Shouldn't that be "a red flag situation" in which a clerk consummating such a sale be especially vigilant to see what the customer might do outside?

Actually, since that's not the usual time that people consume alcohol, I would assert that a customer buying a tall single at 5:05pm would be much more likely to pop it open right away, than someone buying at 9:05am.

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It's not the time, it's the beverage. Obviously anyone buying Natty Ice (of any size!) is a nogoodnik, where as someone buying a bottle of wine or scotch (at any time) is an upstanding citizen who should be treated accordingly.

Pretty silly, but apparently we want our liquor store owners to be profiling people and acting accordingly based on their preferred choice of booze? As everyone else has said here, it seems like a great use of time and money.

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And usually the bottles of wine are stolen, and not drunk right outside.

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to see this liquor store owner at the next community meeting, trying to put a stop to a recreational pot shop opening up shouting things like "BUT FAMILIES!!" and "WHY WON'T ANYONE THINK OF THE CHILDREN?!?!" while readily selling nips and singles to drunks at 9am.

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Assuming buying liquor at 9 AM is legal (which it is, last I checked), what is it about buying tallboys of Natty Light that's supposed to prime a cashier to watch for drinking outside vs, say, literally anything else they'd sell? Other than classism about what kind of people would be drinking outside at 9 AM?

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And when you own a liquor store here, you are going to know what they lol like, and what they buy yes. Alcoholics don’t buy wine at 9am and drink it outside. Not sure what class has to do with it, but most alcoholics who drink in the sidewalk at 9am probably arent “high class”. Bu they also aren’t the people the community is complaining about,

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That's one of the signs of alcoholism. So is arriving at an event already snockered, and continuing to imbibe throughout during the course of the day or evening event.
.

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Because the clientele of the dry homeless shelters are always excited to pregame before they attend an event.

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Again, my point is that there's no reason that tallboys at 9 AM should flag anything more than wine or scotch - and if you think that no one but alcoholics are buying alcohol at 9 AM, it seems you agree with me. Pointing to Nattys is just added classism.

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If the people in that neighborhood are complaining about people drinking wine at 9am, then it is the same problem as drinking 40oz bottles of beer. The drink isn't the issue, the people drinking them are. And the people are choosing to drink 40oz and tallboys, not wine or Mike's Hard lemonade. So that is why there are actual regulations on these types of bottles (of course there was some question as to what makes a "single"). But the point remains. The people in this community don't want drunk people in public causing noise during the day (and night). So the government responds.

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Not the business who sold them a legal product. And "But the business has an obligation to control what happens immediately outside their premises as a condition of selling that product" argument is utter BS.

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And when the business is selling products that makes people aggressive, sick, harassing, loud, smelly, and urinate and defecate in those neighborhoods, then yes, there needs to be some sort of responsibility. Does the business have to lose its license after the 1st or even 10th complaint? I don't think so, but there should be some sort of action to at least show the community something is being done. Again, these are complaint based issues.

There are probably plenty of people looking for section 15 licences in this City that might be a better fit for this community. Maybe not, but maybe after a few violations something needs to be done?

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Should I sue the gas station? The car dealership?

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Oh brother! Then every single construction worker is a drunk.. These men wouldn't get through their day working at sites without Natty Ice.. FYI...

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Anyone that buys cheap beer, liquor, or wine deserves to be put in jail for that crime alone. And when you buy single cans or nip bottles it should be a life sentence.

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that not everyone can afford all the finer things in life like your oh so classy self. for some people thats all they can afford but they should just go fuck themselves right?

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But I'd rather use my limited budget on better stuff even if I drink far less of it.

Healthier anyway, and more satisfying.

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Natty light is pretty much like water. Probably hydrates you.

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Ask your liver.

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The city should ban the sale of all singles including above 12.5 ounces in my opinion, it will help reduce instances of peddling for change and heading straight to the liquor store for singles.

Trying to enforce public drinking otherwise is a giant waste of time and resources as displayed by this instance.

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Just because you can afford a whole bottle of booze or case of beer doesn't mean everyone can.

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Public drinking is a real quality of life issue in many places all over the city. The entire reason for this story is because of public complaints about public drinking.

Here we have the the police/licensing board trying to police and regulate an issue that is a losing battle, which is a gigantic waste of time.

Chelsea has a ban on sales under 3 dollars for this exact reason (although it is currently being challenged). The regulation can be debated but Boston should do something to combat the issue is really what I meant by my initial post.

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as long as public consumption is illegal there should be real consequences for breaking the law. Let there be a significant penalty for repeat offenders. However it is massachusetts so this will never happen seeing as drug dealers and gun offenders are regularly walking right out the revolving door of mass courthouses

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Public drinking is a real quality of life issue

Public drinking is not a quality of life issue; it's public drunkenness.

In plenty of parts of the world, it's perfectly legal to step outside the pub with your beer in your hand, or to have a bottle of wine with your picnic lunch in the park, and there doesn't seem to be a quality of life problem associated with either of these behaviors.

Chelsea has a ban on sales under 3 dollars

For centuries, there have been efforts to ban the stuff that poor people drink. The anti-gin crusading in England in the 18th century comes to mind.

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Sometimes I only want one can of something or a small taster of it - why force someone to buy a whole 6 pack or bottle if they only want a few ounces?

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To sell deuce deuces' or in this case a 25oz? They don't come in 6pk.

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And they make tall cans of beer and especially Natural Ice sound so sleezy and disreputable. An ocer-priced 'craft' IPA would be less offensive?

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We get on the bus to get my toddler to daycare there. Some of the most opinionated voices need to reconsider after getting a local perspective. I dislike excessive government interference. And I even think if you’re not drunk and keep moving a beer in your hand is not, by itself, a significant issue. But businesses being granted certain types of licenses have a special responsibility to do their part to be good neighbors. This store and the one at Peabody frequently had patrons consuming on their own and in neighboring lots. I’ve been among those to complain when things get out of hand with loud music, underaged drinking, even one violent pimp who had settled in one summer. It started to get pretty brazen. They can be expected to shoo off the worst of their loitering patrons every now and then. In this case i think the city did the right thing by calling out ownership. They had to know. They just thought they didn’t have to care. Not the business owners they portrayed themselves as when they go before neighborhood groups and licensing boards.

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Have to be audited and punished

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