You would think that with the number of Ambassador Bridge demonstrators that recently converged in Windsor, Ont., that there would be terrific business opportunities for local merchants. And indeed there was business to be had — well, at least for those merchants that decided to remain open. And every store in the bridge area did stay open... except, that is, for a certain purveyor of beer, wine and spirits.
Indeed, the one joint that closed its doors was none other than the government-owned booze monopoly, otherwise known as the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (such a feel-good moniker, eh?)
And so it was that all weekend long, the LCBO store located at a plaza about 3km away from the Ambassador Bridge remained in lockdown mode.
Why? Great question. The only clue was a notice on the front door cryptically stating: “Closed due to technical issues.”
“Technical issues”? What’s that?
Well, the store finally reopened on Monday morning after the demonstration had been eradicated by law enforcement. So we visited the store to get answers. What were those “technical issues” that resulted in a lockdown?
An employee stocking the shelves noted that the lockdown was prompted by the number of out-of-town demonstrators who had assembled nearby. Said he: “The products we have are based on what the community wants.”
What exactly does that mean? That the LCBO isn’t very keen on selling its wares to... tourists? (Can you tell this is a government-run joint?)
Seeking additional clarity, we also asked a sales clerk if she knew why the store had been closed. She inferred it was due to the demonstrators creating a health and safety issue, noting there were concerns because “they come in [to the store] without masks.”
Gracious! No face diapers? That’s serious! (Still, we must ponder: did she not watch the Super Bowl the night before? Did she not notice that almost 100% of the 70,000+ fans in attendance at SoFi Stadium were not wearing masks and not socially distancing? Yet, God forbid that some members of the “fringe minority” enter a liquor store sans masks.)
A LCBO security guard remarked that the store was a potential target for demonstrators because it is government property. Yet, how many other government-owned properties in Windsor were vandalized during the seven-day long demonstration? The answer rhymes with “zero”.
Alas, that’s the thing about the LCBO monopoly: this crown corporation is very big on the C-word — “Control.” And should it decide to shutdown due to ludicrous and unfounded fears, it will simply do so. Besides, the great unwashed masses could’ve gone next door to Freshco and satiate their thirst with Coca-Cola or Gatorade. But to paraphrase the Soup Nazi from Seinfeld: “No booze for you!”