"capricious" and "without merit"
i'm willing, even, to take the semantic leap of faith that "no written rules" might be able to equal "capricious" at times, and, who knows, maybe this is one of them. but to add the specious phrase "without merit" to the charges is a giant step beyond where i'd ever be willing to go. suzie cited a case of another establishment in town that's been caught five times in ten years as the reason there's no merit, but 5 in 10, as opposed to 3 in 1 and 1/2, does seem to be apples and oranges, or at least it does to me.
there's a law here in this state that prohibits the sale of alcohol to minors under the age of 21. second to cigarettes, perhaps, there isn't a habit more deadly than alcoholism, so this isn't entirely ridiculous. (i'm not personally in favor of outlawing use--just misuse--of such things, but that's another story).
so, for a business in a town to regularly flaunt the law and slide six-packs across the counter to underage drinkers, it's very hard to consider cracking down on the enforcement of that law to be "without merit". the merit, on its face, is abiding by the law, and the law's honorable intent to restrict the purchase of alcohol to those deemed old enough to be responsible for making a personal choice to drink it. (again, i'm not against drinking, just too much drinking, and you know who you are).
the chairman of the billerica board of selectmen, marc lombardo, however, has it completely wrong when he argues against written guidelines by worrying that it might "tie the town's hands". actually, marc, that's the whole point of laws in the first place--to tie society's collective hands in a fair and impartial enforcement of that which is publically deemed to be in need of enforcement. if you can't trust that "3 in 18 months" isn't fair for everybody, then, unfortunately, i'd have to say that suzie six-pack has it right.
so--suggestion to the wise: write it down, and stick to it. it's pretty easy, if you let it be.