CHICAGO -- Municipalities across the country have levied taxes on sugary drinks. Minneapolis, San Francisco and Chicago have taken jabs at the sacred menthol cow—which represents a third of the tobacco category. New York circumvented the federal government by enacting its own menu-labeling law.
The agonizing duality is that selling regulated or indulgent products often pits retailers against the public health. The business is at once lucrative and dubious. To that end, sometimes retailers fall back. In Minneapolis, some retailers asked for more time to research the matter and measure the economic effects. In fights over regulated products, one of retailers’ strongest arguments is a potential loss of jobs, says Lyle Beckwith, senior vice president of government relations for NACS, Alexandria, Va.
As debate intensifies, ritual posturing from both sides ensues. Opponents with honed strategies pull out playbooks and sharpen talking points. They learn from defeat and often reuse or reshape tactics that have led to victory in other cities.
What follows are examinations of and updates on some of the more onerous ordinances pelting c-stores.
They align intimately with what makes the impulse business model work—and together may combine for catastrophic ends.