Are We Really That Self-Conscious?

Unreal is encouraged to buy more beer (!) and drink it in style; plus, we see how St. Louis stacks up to Sudan

Back in 2000, when Shur Sav patriarch Pete Sarandos applied to University City officials for a license to sell package liquor at his Olive store (there are three other Shur Sav stores: one in U. City and two in St. Louis proper), city manager Frank Ollendorff recommended that the application be denied. About a year ago, after promising not to sell beer by the individual container, the license was granted.

Sarandos explains the rationale: "People might buy one can of beer, drink it on the way home, then toss it in someone's yard. If we did not [have the policy], we would not be very good neighbors."

Given that three 24-ounce cans pack the alcohol wallop of a traditional-size six-pack, isn't Sarandos, at the city's behest, now requiring people to purchase enough to get tanked if they want to drink at all?

"We think it's just the opposite," says Ollendorff. "We do encourage them to sell by the package rather than the individual container. It's not something we feel that strongly about, but it does discourage a little bit the person that just has enough to get their quick high or whatever. We want people to go to the grocery store and buy their alcoholic beverage to take home, and not buy a bottle and drink it on the way to the car or something."

Tiptoeing past the picket signs for a look-see, Unreal encountered no such prohibition at the Schnucks at Olive and Pennsylvania. Go figure.

Then again, Sarandos isn't a total stickler. "We do make allowances to our policy," he says. "If someone comes in and buys groceries from us, we'll let them buy one beer -- or if they just want one can to put in their barbecue sauce or something."

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