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.