Berkeley continues grand tradition of banning things people like

Ah, Berkeley, California. Is there nothing in the realm of Big Brother nanny stateism that doesn’t pop up there? While other cities struggle to deal with riots, rising violent crime rates and the plague, the City Council in Berkeley was busy tackling more serious problems. In this case, it was the scourge of grocery stores selling candy and other “impulse purchase” snacks at the checkout line. But fear not, citizens. Help is on the way. All stores over a specific size will, starting next spring, be banned from having such displays. Don’t you just feel healthier already? (NY Post)

A California city is saying goodbye to impulse snacks.

Beginning in March 2021, Berkeley, California, will become the first US city to ban the sale of unhealthy food from supermarket checkout areas.

That liberal Bay Area city council unanimously voted Tuesday night that, starting next year, grocery stores larger than 2,500 square feet will be required to sell not the typical selection of junk food but 25 square feet of healthy items within the three-foot radius of the register.

The “healthy checkout” ordinance defines healthy as items containing five or less grams of added sugar and less than 250 milligrams of sodium per serving, according to ABC 7.

Impulse purchase marketing (as it’s known) has been with us for a long time. In fact, anyone who studies the marketing research that goes into designing the layout of stores is very familiar with that trick, along with many others. For example, you may have noticed that in most stores you visit, there is generally a beer display set up in or next to the aisle where you find diapers. Why? Because sales reports have consistently shown that people purchasing diapers also buy beer far more often than one might expect.

Similarly, people who are shopping for food tend to become hungry after wandering around the store looking at all of the food. So by the time they reach the checkout line, they’re statistically more likely to grab some sort of snack to eat in the car. Hence the rows of candy bars and other treats you generally see while waiting to ring up your purchases.

So what effect will Berkeley’s new mandate have on the general health of the public? Most likely none at all. Anyone who wants some candy or other snacks will either go back to a different aisle or stop at a different store later to buy some. Also, you’ll note that the requirement only prevents the forbidden foods from being sold within three feet of the register. That’s one yard. When is the last time you saw a checkout line that was only three feet long? Store managers will just move the candy a little further toward the end of the line and replace it with batteries, razors, or their other impulse purchase offerings.

This is yet another case of a liberal city council striving to look like they’re “doing something” to keep up with the progressive agenda while accomplishing nothing of substance. And their efforts to micromanage businesses selling completely legal (and popular) products will only further annoy the businesses who provide the locals with both food and jobs. Are we surprised? This is the same city that tried to ban smoking in single-family homes a few years ago. And of course, Berkeley was one of the first adopters of massive soda taxes. Heck, they even tried to ban lawnmowers and leaf blowers a while back.

Flee California if you have the means to do so. There are still some areas of the country left with a modicum of sanity. Pack your stuff and go find one.

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David Strom 5:20 PM | April 19, 2024