Some Denverites were extremely mad that they couldn’t buy beer Christmas Day

“A lot of people were upset,” Campbell said. “I felt bad.”
2 min. read
A reminder that beer sales are banned on Christmas Day on a 7-Eleven cooler. Dec. 26, 2019. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

David Campbell knew what kind of day he was going have before he got to work on Christmas Day.

"I was dreading it," he said.

He's a shift leader at a 7-Eleven on Colfax Avenue, and he had a hunch people were going to be angry when he wouldn't sell them beer. It's against state law to sell alcohol "in a sealed container" on Christmas Day.

Campbell's hunch was right.

"A lot of people were upset," he said. "I felt bad."

Campbell watched on a security camera feed as people entered the store, wandered to the coolers in the back, scanned through the glass for their preferred quaff, then stopped short when they realized the doors were locked. Then he watched as they approached him at the counter. A few people shrugged it off and left, he told Denverite, but most expressed rage.

He had to explain to at least a dozen people that there was nothing he could do. The law is the law, he told them.

"People couldn't believe it," he recalled.

Some people glared. One guy offered him $40 for a case of beer. Someone else tried to steal a case of Bud Ice that was sitting outside the cooler.

A 7-Eleven at Colfax Avenue and Josephine Street. Dec. 26, 2019. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Back in January, Colorado made it legal for convenience and grocery stores to sell full-strength beer. The state has long banned Christmas Day alcohol sales, but this is the first year that people could try to make a booze run at an open business. Before now, liquor stores were just closed.

Lahonda Ritz, who works at a Safeway in Five Points, reckoned that people were upset because they just didn't realize they can't restock their fridges on Christmas Day.

"They know now," she said.

She figured she saw 40 or 50 people who were upset when they found the grocery store's coolers locked.

A spokesperson for Denver's Department of Excise and Licenses said he wasn't aware of any complaints as a result of angry customers. A Denver Police spokesperson said it was basically impossible to search records of calls to the department specifically about people who were mad about the law.

Campbell said he just hopes things aren't so chaotic next year. He thinks the store should advertise its legal obligations well ahead of time in 2020.

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