It appears MADD is up to their old tricks and actually this has probably been going on for some time albeit somewhat under the radar. In 1996, MADD created a youth organization of indoctrinated kids to do their dirty work for them called Youth In Action. One of their many “projects” is called Sticker Shock, which is described on their website:
YIA teams meet with local retailers that sell alcohol and ask permission to place warning stickers on the packaging of alcohol products (primarily beer). The stickers are very visible and warn of the consequences of purchasing alcohol for people under the age of 21. This project is designed to remind adults that they can be arrested for purchasing alcohol for minors.
Thanks for the “reminder” kids, but surely you could do something more constructive with your time. Maybe it’s the old curmudgeon in me, but it’s times like these when I miss the old days when children were to be seen and not heard. Do we really need these Stepford teens to lecture adults on the law?
This practice has apparently heated up in Massachusetts, with the state chapter there conducting raids of stores that sell alcohol to sticker the beer there.
Happily, Todd and Jason Alstrom, from Beer Advocate, take them to task in a recent column in Boston’s Dig entitled Fascist Youth Vandalize Liquor Stores. It almost reads like a headline from The Onion, except that it’s true. After detailing MADD’s Hitler youth in action, they strike the right note of indignation, certainly the same one I had.
Shocked? No, we’re pissed off! This is wrong on so many levels! First, while we agree that selling alcohol to minors is not cool, these sticker shock campaigns are outright acts of vandalism. Who cares if the storeowner gave permission? Who cares if these neo-prohibitionists are accompanied by an adult? Who cares if the adult’s a cop? Their little stunt is still illegal: Brewers must get approval from federal agencies for all packaging, including labels. Not only do these stickers alter the packaging, but sloppy placement could cover crucial information that, by law, must be visible to consumers.
And what about that cop? C’mon, with a cop backing these kids up, it’s no wonder that storeowners are consenting. And why “primarily beer”? Show us stats proving that kids are more likely to be hitting up adults for beer than for spirits. And why sticker all the beer in stock? Why not restrict it to the brands most popular with teen drunks? And why do we, the adult consumers, need to be “reminded” that purchasing beer for minors is illegal in the first place? Who said we forgot? Who decided this crap should be shoved in our faces? The YIA site says: “YIA teams look for community solutions instead of focusing their attention on their peers” — but isn’t that exactly where the primary focus should be?
This is not “reminding,” it’s intimidation, pure and simple.
The stickers read “Providing Alcohol to Minors is ILLEGAL. 4th Degree Felony. 18 Months in Jail. $5000 Fine. MADD’s Youth in Action.” All true, but why stop there. Why not sticker cans of soda with warnings that they can cause obesity. Coke and Pepsi would never sit still for that. In the UK several years ago McDonald’s sued a couple of activists literally for years because they had the audacity to criticize their food in what became known as the McLibel trial. But criticizing alcohol is perfectly acceptable because law enforcement and especially politicians are afraid to be reasonable thanks to the very vocal and active temperance minority, bowing to almost their every demand.
Jason and Todd conclude with an excellent suggestion.
So we’re challenging all true beer lovers to refuse to buy any product that has been vandalized by YIA, and to tell shop owners you’ll be boycotting their establishments until they get their beer from under MADD’s thumb — literally.
Amen to that. Don’t buy if you see the sticker. We have to start standing up to these bullies. I know in some cases the retailers had little choice in reality, but if they know there are consequences for acquiescence, ones that hit their bottom line, then they’ll begin to do the right thing, which is tell these gang of youths to go “remind” somebody else. That the police give these stunts the imprimatur of legality is quite frankly Orwellian and more than a little frightening.