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The Fresh & Easy Law

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A Southern California Democrat in the State Assembly introduced a bill last month to ban the sale of alcohol at stores that only have self-checkout lanes. That, of course, singles out Fresh & Easy, who appears to be the only major food retailer in the state with only these types of lanes and no full-service lanes with employees operating them.

AB 523 was introduced by Hector De La Torre (D-South Gate) and sponsored by the Marin Institute, a San Rafael-based alcohol industry watchdog group, according to Fresh & Easy Buzz, an independent blog dedicated to news and analysis about the store. The blog explains the reasoning behind the bill:


Under current California law, self checkout grocery lanes are designed to freeze up whenever a shopper self-scans an alcoholic beverage item or pack. A store clerk then has to come to the checkout stand and check the customer's identification card to make sure he or she is over age 21. However, Michael Scippa, who is the advocacy director for the Marin Institute, the sponsor of the legislation, says self-checkout lanes make it easier for minors to buy alcohol, as well as make it easier for adults already intoxicated to more easily purchase alcoholic beverages (which is illegal for them to do in California) because he says evidence suggests it's difficult when a store is busy for store clerks to monitor multiple self-service checkout lanes at the same time.

But further investigation finds reasons why the bill may not pass. California's Alcohol Beverage Control Department (ABC) said they have received no complaints regarding this issue and have no evidence supporting such a claim. In Long Beach earlier this year, they even ran a sting with underage teens trying to buy alcohol. Didn't work.
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Also: Fresh & Easy recently opened a store in Manhattan Beach