Imagine this scenario, if you can: You own one of two furniture companies in a community. As the current law stands, you’re allowed to keep your store open every day of the week, except Saturday.

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 18, 2004

So far, nothing too difficult, right?

Now, let’s assume a new furniture store — call it “Super Sofa” — moves into town. This Super Sofa isn’t your run-of-the-mill outfit, either. They’ve got free lattes for every potential customer that walks in the door. For the grumpy old men who don’t want to spend their afternoons shopping, Super Sofa puts them in a recliner, complete with massage buttons and big-screen TVs.

Just for kicks, this Super Sofa store was given a prime piece of real estate from the city. Next thing you know, all the roads around Super Sofa get paved and all the furniture at city hall is brand new.

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And to show their appreciation to city officials, Super Sofa’s owners decide to donate new furniture to every government office, including the fire departments, schools and even the Rutabaga Club that meets twice a year.

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Here’s where the story gets fun. Obviously, Super Sofa has invested some money in its new city. Your furniture store, fighting to survive in light of the new competitor, slashes prices and loses a great deal of business.

In the midst of laying off employees and reducing profit margins, you wake up one morning and pick up a copy of the local newspaper. On the front page, you read a story about a new law that has passed through the state legislature. According to the law, which your community politicians also have passed, this new Super Sofa store will be allowed to open its doors on Saturday. Meanwhile, you and the other wilting furniture store have to close your doors on Saturday.

As a business owner, how does that situation sound? You’re already struggling to compete with the new store. And now, local politicians have decided to let your competitor open its doors on Saturday while you have to abide by current law, which mandates that your store remain closed on Saturdays.

No one saw it coming, but the chairman of the Greene County Commission, Chip Beeker, made an interesting point Monday when his government body approved Sunday alcohol sales for Greenetrack.

State Sen. Charles Steele, D-Tuscaloosa, helped push through a piece of local legislation that now gives Greenetrack the right to sell alcohol on Sundays. Meanwhile, other businesses in Greene County must abide by the current law, which bans the sale of alcohol on Sundays.

Granted, Greene County is not a bustling market for restaurants and clubs. Most likely, there are only a select few who would capitalize on the right to sell alcohol on Sunday, but it’s interesting to consider the dynamics of this new legislation.

Greenetrack, for all intents and purposes, has done nothing wrong in pursing the right to sell drinks 24 hours a day, seven days a week. But have legislators and the majority of Greene County commissioners placed other businesses in Greene County at a disadvantage by not offering to all what has been offered to one?

We believe they have.

Selling alcohol on Sundays is a trivial argument. Those who wish to drink on Sundays in Alabama likely plan ahead on Saturdays. But when you give one business an advantage over others, you break the fundamental rules of capitalism in America.

Members of the Greene County Commission and State. Sen. Steele should reconsider this piece of legislation.