Wine Vending Machines Make You Prove You're Sober

Wine Vending machinesIn most states, the greatest challenge to buying wine is convincing the clerk at the checkout that the face on the ID you present is really you. Pity the poor residents of Pennsylvania, who not only have to struggle with arcane regulations on the sale of alcohol, but now have to pass a high-tech exam by a Pronto wine vending machine before they can buy a bottle of wine at the grocery store.

The process is this: you step up to the wine vending machine in a grocery or general store, such as Walmart. The machine is linked via closed-circuit TV to the Liquor Control Board in the state capital of Reading, where a real, live employee (in what must be a mind-numbingly boring job) sits at a terminal. You scan your ID, usually your driver's license, and the state worker compares the image of you transmitted from the camera in the vending machine to the picture on your ID.

If he buys the match, you're halfway home.

Next, you must breath into a breathalyzer built into the machine. If the results show you aren't already half in the bag, you'll be permitted to buy that bottle of wine.

The wine vending machines, about the size of four soda vending machines, are an attempt by the state to meet the demands of its residents for more convenient sales of alcohol. Except for these machines, wine can only be purchased at state stores.

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