Don’t look now, but the Maui County Department of Liquor Control is getting nicer to alcohol retailers. Well, some retailers.
Chairman Shigeto “Mustard” Murayama had barely began the Aug. 4, 2005 Liquor Control Adjudication Board hearing when LC Director Franklyn Silva spoke up, saying that the first case—two counts of getting caught selling alcohol in a minor decoy operation against the Safeway in Lahaina—was dismissed.
“Safeway is in the process of transferring its liquor license,” Silva told the board when they looked puzzled.
Just like that. They’re transferring the license, so it’s over. Case closed.
Never mind that a few months ago Bob Idini—the former owner of Idini’s in Wailuku—told the Board of Adjudication when his third strike for overserving a patron came up that he was selling his business. They didn’t hesitate to fine him and revoke his license.
This is Safeway we’re talking about. Why bother making an example of them?
I mean, sure, Safeway is a giant corporation that operates 1,802 stores in the U.S. and Canada, controls 82.1 million square feet of retail stores and made $560.2 million in pure profit last year.
It’s unlikely few, if any, of Safeway’s fellow Maui liquor licensees will ever find the need to utter something like the following sentence, which comes from the supermarket chain’s 2004 annual report:
“As of year-end 2004, the Company effectively converted $500 million of its 4.95% fixed-rate debt and $300 million of its 4.125% fixed-rate debt to floating rate debt through interest rate swap agreements.”
What’s a measly $2,000 fine when compared to that?
Besides, Safeway’s different from other Maui liquor licensees. It’s so comfortable inside, what with all the earth tones, “Signature” soups and “Rancher’s Reserve Tender Beef” they’ve got. Who could be mad at that?