Friday, January 25, 2013

Free the Sheep!

For the past several years I have taken a vacation in Canada. During these times I have found the laws up there pertaining to wine and alcohol distribution and sales to reflect a neo-prohibitionist angle. Taxation, different laws in different provinces, and a general non-uniform approach to the process of selling, distributing and enforcing the laws around wine, beer and spirits. It made me think the laws in the lower 48 states weren’t as bad as some of my friends like to make it out to be. But I discovered an even more archaic practice in the area of distribution and sales. There was this product I wanted to buy real badly.

photo from
Hudson’s Bay Company has been around since 1670, specializing in all manner of goods. Many of us grew up swaddled in the warmth only a Hudson Bay can provide. And so when I looked to Canada to order a new Hudson Bay, a Millennium release, I thought nothing to get online and order one up.

Mind you, there are plenty of ways to get a regular Hudson Bay. But this Millenium Special release, well it suited my fancy. And I got it into my head I was going to have one.

When I went online, I tried to order one and have it delivered to me in the United States. The order form would only allow for delivery to an address in Canada. I tried every which way – no luck.

So I called up the store.

When I got a hold of a person and explained my dilemma to them they understood my pain. The company was now owned by a larger company in the U.S., The person I was talking to was in New York, said “We can’t get the item either, it’s so odd.” That was what I was told.

It wasn’t a gun or a weapon. It wasn’t a medicine or vitamins. It wasn’t chemicals that could be used to make an explosive. It wasn’t even alcohol. It was a wool blanket!

I thought to myself, “What’s going on here? Isn’t Canada part of NAFTA?” Is there a sheep cabal in the U.S. that won’t allow for wool to cross over the border from Canada?

I have never found out the reason. Friends have told me I should just find someone in Canada to buy it for me and send it to me. I guess I could do that, but I am mystified as to why we cannot shuttle wool blankets across the border, legally.

I went to a number of shops, as a sidebar to buy a blanket. Any old blanket. What did I find? Wool blankets are rare, if not impossible, to find in a store. In fact blankets are hard to find. Comforters, yes. Light throws, yes. Duvets, no problem. But a proper wool blanket, maybe I would have better luck online.

I could buy a wool blanket from the Northeast, good wool blankets. But I want what I want. Sounds like the lament of folks I hear who are looking for a particular wine that they cannot find in their state. But this is a wool blankets. I can find no regulatory agency prescribing proper and legal commerce of wool blanket sales.

Maybe I should start a movement, call if “Free the Sheep.” Or start a website to gather other mystified (and cold) consumers who want the wool blanket that they want. Better yet start a group, call it the Specialty Wool Retailers Association (SWRA for short) and go about getting the folks the wool blankets they want and deserve, dammit!

This could be our credo:
What we stand for
Specialty Wool Retailers Association stands for a free market in wool, unencumbered by protectionist state laws that prevent consumers from legally obtaining the wool blankets they want. SWRA stands for a true national wool blanket market in which consumers and retailers can transact business in an appropriately regulated milieu. This means that any adult consumer in any state should be allowed to legally purchase and have shipped to them any wool blanket from any retailer in America.

So folks, those of you who are angry about not getting your special wine – I feel a similar pain – this time I feel like I have been left out in the cold. But I’m fighting back. I’m not going to let someone in Canada ( or Washington D.C.) quash my dream – I’m resolved to uncover this mystery of the unavailable at any cost protectionist wool blanket conspiracy.

Either that or I'll have to smuggle my favorite wool blanker over the border, like my bootlegger forebears.

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Anonymous said...

If you need a Canadian address, I'd happily give you mine. They can send it to me and I'll forward to you.
Kind regards, Wine Boy

Wine Curmudgeon said...

Alfonso, I have several loyal blog readers in Canada, and I'm sure they would be happy to help as well.

winey brett said...

Wool is protected to ensure that we simple souls are never fleeced...
Even the lady in the sheep shed can't get hold of a blanket to preserve her modesty.

Alfonso Cevola said...

Thanks Michael, let's talk offline :)

Frank Haddad said...

I would be happy to get a blanket and ship it to you. The wine issues in British Columbia have changed a little bit since the last time you were here. We now have corkage, so the next time you are up we can share a bottle of wine in a rsturant !

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