Wednesday, February 18, 2015
As of January 1st 2015, single use plastic bags have been banned in the city of Napa. There are a few exceptions to the new ordinance e.g., bags for prescription drugs and take-out food are exempt, for now. But if one happens to need to transport groceries home, and have forgotten to bring a bag, the store is required by law to charge the customer at least 10 cents for a paper bag.
I thought that alcoholic beverages were something that had to be bagged. I buy quite a bit of wine at wineries and they will not let you leave the premises without bagging the bottle first, so when I recently bought a bottle of wine at Vallerga's Market in Napa I patiently waited for my purchase to be bagged. And I waited. Then I asked for a bag. Well, to cut a long story short the cashier and I had a bit of a barney, in fact he was still shouting at me as I left the store. Great customer service, eh? I won't be shopping at that store any time soon.
I did a bit of research and apparently I was wrong, I have to admit it. Neither the city nor the county (where most wineries are located) of Napa require alcohol to be bagged: the same goes for the entire state of California. Whilst California does enforce a strict "no open container" law, that prevents any alcoholic beverage being unsealed in public, or in a car, the California Alcoholic Beverage Control Act (as of November 2011) does indeed allow folks to walk down the street with a naked bottle of hooch in their hand - as long as it is unopened. This is a difficult concept for me to get my head around.
In puritanical America - the only country in the world that has been able to enact a law such as the Volstead Act, and even in this day and age does not legally allow an adult to consume an alcoholic beverage until they are 21 years old - am I right in assuming that I would be able to walk down a busy street in broad daylight with a screwcap-bottle of wine, albeit unopened, in my hand? Call me old fashioned, but I don't think the local constabulary is going to endorse that sort of behaviour any time soon.