Home
In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Jan. 25, 2005 / 15 Shevat, 5765

Don't blame drunkenness on the beer vendor

By Mitch Albom


Printer Friendly Version
Email this article


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | I once worked at a football stadium. I sold programs. I was 14. Before the game, I lined up with the other vendors, including the guys who sold beer. They had to be older, of course, but they still trudged through the stands, like me, hoping for customers.


At the end of the day, like me, they pocketed, in cash, a small percentage of what they brought in. And they went home, many via bus or subway.


They were nice guys, but not men   — and I say this politely   — whom I would necessarily entrust with life-and-death decisions. Apparently, that is now their role. At least it was last week, when a New Jersey jury awarded $135 million in damages to the family of a 7-year-old girl who was paralyzed in a drunken-driving accident involving a football fan.


The fan, Daniel Lanzaro, drank six large beers during a 1999 game at Giants Stadium, beers he purchased from a vendor who took a $10 tip from Lanzaro to ignore the stadium's two-beer-at-a-time limit. This is hardly new, by the way. When I worked in stadiums, vendors did all kinds of things for cash tips.


Anyhow, Lanzaro was drunk, more than twice the legal limit for driving, when he got in his car. The family sued him, but he didn't have much. It sued the concessionaire, Aramark, which had a lot.


And it won.


"Hopefully this will make a difference at arenas across the country," said David Mazie, the lawyer for the family.


That would be nice. But it won't make a difference   — unless they outlaw alcohol at stadiums altogether.


Otherwise, people will get drunk. They will buy their two beers. And they will give money to others to buy them four more. Or they'll get in a different line. Or they'll bribe somebody. Or they'll drink in the parking lot before the game.


It is silly to think that vendors, in a stadium stuffed with 70,000 screaming fans, can play a beer-soaked Solomon and tell fans "no."


For one thing, football is played in the winter, which means fans are often bundled up with scarves, hats, sunglasses, even ski masks. Is a vendor supposed to ask every one of them to look him in the eye and recite the alphabet?


Plus, everyone gets drunk differently. I know people who can pound six beers and appear sober enough to go to church.


They still don't belong behind the wheel.


Which, of course, is where this all begins. Lanzaro, 34, was the one who got in his vehicle. He's the one responsible. But you can't change a culture by sending one drunk to jail.


So while Lanzaro serves five years for vehicular aggravated assault   — and until we make drunken driving a more serious crime, nothing will change   — the family and their lawyers went after bigger fish. And they got one. The case hinged partly on the training of the vendors to recognize drunkenness.


Now, some say $135 million in damages is an argument for tort reform, especially since attorneys typically pocket a third of that.


But making this a case about greedy lawyers is to miss the point on many levels. It's ignoring the little girl, her family and, most of all, the sick yet slick relationship that alcohol has formed with sports, suggesting that you can't enjoy the latter without the former.


The NFL cuts off beers sales after the third quarter. What a joke. If you can't get drunk by the third quarter, you're not worth a case of beer, anyhow. And with tailgating, which is hailed as some great American tradition when it is simply, for many, getting plastered in a parking lot, it almost doesn't matter how much beer is served. People enter the turnstiles inebriated.


Either your stadium goes dry, or people will leave drunk. I have little sympathy for a multibillion-dollar company like Aramark and endless sympathy for the girl and her family, but the one person I know you can't tag this on is the poor guy who's trying to make a few bucks selling whatever they give him to sell at the stadium. Trust me, if our lives are in his hands, we're all in trouble.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

MITCH'S LATEST
"The Five People You Meet in Heaven"  

A novel that explores the unexpected connections of our lives, and the idea that heaven is more than a place; it's an answer. Sales help fund JWR.



Comment on Mitch's column by clicking here.



Mitch's Archives


© 2005, THE DETROIT FREE PRESS DISTRIBUTED BY TMS, INC.