Faced with a looming $9 billion budget shortfall through 2011, state officials looked to the Washington State Liquor Control Board to help stop the bleeding. Enter the Board approved pilot program that puts state run liquor stores in area malls. Just in time for the holidays.The Board expects the fully stocked liquor gift shops to generate $3.8 million over the course of the next two holiday shopping seasons. It's just a drop in the bucket when compared to the actual budget deficit, but as the News Tribune reports, the program is just one part of a new effort to increase state revenue by selling more of that demon liquor.
The Board has plans to open up a total of 15 new liquor stores across the state, not including the 4 already open in malls around Puget Sound region. The list of wet shopping centers is as follows: Pacific Place in Seattle, Alderwood Mall in Lynnwood, Bellis Fair Mall in Bellingham, and the Commons in Federal Way.
Is there a downside here? None, save for an increased possibility that the department store Santa on whose knee you've placed your rugrat will have whiskey breath. But as one who has suffered through a Christmas shopping season, I think I can speak on behalf of all former mall-based retail clerks when I say that the benefits of having ready access to hard liquor offsets whatever psychological trauma said rugrats might experience.