At the grocery store, you can scan your own items. At the gas station, you can pour your own soda. At brunch, if you're that kind of person, you can make your own omelette. And at weddings, you can make your own sundae.
Now, you can pour your own beer at a baseball game.
The Twins installed self-serve beer machines at their field on Sunday, just over a week before the all-star game heads to town.
"It's a fun, cool new gadget," Twins spokesman Chris Isles told the Pioneer Press.
"We've been all about embracing technology, so we jumped at the opportunity that nobody has done before."
It seems like a bad idea, on the surface. Because fans, especially those who have had a few beers already, seem like an untrustworthy lot.
But, despite what it sounds like, there are plenty of restrictions. And, importantly for the beer drinkers, the beer isn't any cheaper.
Drinkers need to buy a $10 or $20 card ($50 ones will be at the all-star game to account for more expensive beer) and then select the number of ounces they would like to purchase. Fans can buy up to 48 ounces in a 15-minute span but the vendors ensure that fan intake will be monitored and so will IDs of those being served (or self-served).
The hope from the stadium is that it will not only be a novelty but also a more efficient way for fans to purchase beer.
An obvious opponent of the idea are the beer vendors who spend their time selling and pouring beer because, well, it eliminates a lot of their jobs if it works.
"You'll never be able to compete with seat vendors because I'd rather sit and watch the game and have a beer brought to me, but I'd say from an employment standpoint, it's just another attack on workers being replaced by machines," said Nancy Goldman, whose union represents vendors at the stadium.
Delaware North is the company who provides the machines They consider the all-star game to be a huge test to see if the system will work properly.
"At this point, we just wanted to try this out with the Twins at Target Field. It just so happens that it's also the All-Star Game," Delaware North's Victoria Hong said to the Pioneer Press.
Here's guessing that wasn't a coincidence. The stadium knew next Tuesday was a huge day, one they might not get again until the Twins are good enough to make the playoffs. That might be years off.
So, they needed to accommodate the added interest and fans that will be at the biggest game at the new stadium.
They came up with a gimmick that will create attention and also increase sales as the prices get jacked up.
It makes perfect sense, and it's getting a lot of attention. Because fans at sporting events do love beer, and they will have four options to choose from out of the self-serve "Draftserv" machines.
There's a video section on each machine to explain, step by step, how to work the machine. And there's a 20-second ordering time limit to ensure that the line keeps moving, which is the main problem with standing in the concession line for beer.
They look kind of like slot machines, and we know how much people love those. How could this possibly go wrong?
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