Frustrated by long lines at Utah liquor stores?

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) There's some good news from the DABC if you've been frustrated by long lines at state liquor stores during the holidays.

For years, long time residents have complained about poor customer service claiming Utah has a state owned monopoly and doesn't have to worry about disgruntled patrons.

Well the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control is now responding to those complaints by taking several steps to make booze shopping easier, especially during the Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years holidays.

"We have determined that customer service was not our strong point in past years," says Terry Wood, spokesperson for the DABC. "So we're changing our focus, as any other business would, to be more customer service oriented."

There will be two shifts instead of one at the main warehouse. The DABC's Terry Wood says that way, they can make several deliveries a week to busy stores to guarantee that they don't run out of the most popular items.

Some cashiers and other store employees will get extra hours per week. Wood says "we want to see all the cash registers operating at any one time."

You know how frustrating it is to stand in line and watch cashiers checking ID to make sure buyers are 21 or older.  At busy stores they will now have security guards checking the identification of everyone coming in so cashiers won't have to take the time to do that.

The DABC claims some stores that currently close at 7 will have longer hours, but they haven't finalized which stores will be affected.

Wood also advises people to plan early.  Don't shop on the last available day before the holiday. The Friday before Christmas last year set an all time single day sales record of $3.7 million. The Wednesday before Thanksgiving last year was second with $3.3 million.

And remember that both Christmas and New Years fall on Mondays this year, so the last day to buy spirits will be the Saturday before.

If you do shop the day before the holiday, Wood advises the early afternoon hours. They seem to be the least crowded.

For long time liquor critics, this is a step in the right direction. Terry Wood says the DABC is making a real, concerted effort to improve the shopping experience. 

"We hope that these steps will make those lines shorter and quicker and easier to get through the store." 

He realistically admits "we still expect there will be some lines."


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