Archived Story

Is extra revenue from alcohol sales worth it?

Published 6:45pm Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Dear Editor,

I stopped at the Huddle House off I-65 on my way home last Monday night, June 18, around 10:30 p.m. There were four customers inside and a couple of men standing outside talking when I arrived. I sat at the counter, a few seats away from another man. I didn’t think too much of it until I realized the man was drunk. He was not harming anyone, but was somewhat loud and continued to talk to himself. The manager of the Huddle House spoke to him several times, keeping him under control.

As I waited for my order, two young women came in and sat at a booth near the window. It wasn’t long before they caught his attention and the manager told him on several occasions to stop shouting out at the young women. I kept watch as the drama unfolded and determined that he remain under control. The man got up and went into the restroom and said something to the young women as he passed their booth. When he returned to his seat, he said something else to them and in a few moments proceeded to get up and go sit next to one of the young women. She looked confused and uncertain as to what to do. As soon as the manager saw what was happening, she told him to get away from the women and get back to his seat.

It wasn’t long after that I had finished my meal and left. I thought about how that situation may have gotten out of control if the manager of the Huddle House had not intervened. I also thought that this scene may be replayed over and over again if Hartselle decides to vote to allow alcohol to be sold in our city. I have heard all the arguments for and against, but I think we need to stop and think in terms of real-life situations rather than in dollars and cents (or lack of sense).

I know the argument…the man at the Huddle House had to buy his liquor in Decatur or Cullman and Hartselle “could have benefitted if he could have bought it here.” No matter what the argument, his near out-of-control actions is something that I had to deal with when all I wanted to do was enjoy a late-night meal. If Hartselle votes alcohol in, many of us may have to deal with a scene like this in our restaurants or shopping areas.

I went into the Huddle House for a meal, but was confronted, in what is a normally safe, friendly environment, with a man who chose to include me, as well as two young women, the manager and staff of the Huddle House and other customers with his uncontrolled behavior. I am afraid that situation may be played out again and again if we have alcohol available in our restaurants here in Hartselle

Do we need alcohol sales to bolster our economy and “move our city forward”? I am not sure if that is the answer considering all of the possible negative ramifications.

I am thankful the man in the Huddle House didn’t get into a car and kill an innocent bystander. And too, the young women or families in our community should not have to be afraid of going into a place to eat or shop for fear of a drunk harassing them. I know that every situation like this cannot be avoided whatever we choose for Hartselle. But do we have to take a relatively safe town like Hartselle and open it for all kinds of potential dangerous situations in the name of “progress?”

Jimmy Smith, Hartselle

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