Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Chairman's Selection? Or Chairman's Dumping Ground?

The PLCB sent out a press release yesterday, heralding the "Biggest Chairman's Selection(TM) Sale of 2009"! In case you don't know by now, the idea of the "Chairman's Selection" originated back when Jonathan Newman was the PLCB Chairman. He came up with the amazingly original idea of using the state monopoly's enormous buying power to secure large lots of great wines at a discounted price, passing the savings on to customers. The program was a big success, as it delivered wine value to Pennsylvanians for the first time since Repeal. Since Newman left, the program has been criticized for losing its way, selling wines of questionable quality at suspicious discounts.

Well, fear not: the PLCB has come clean! Here's what they say about this new sale:
Incredible Savings at Pa Wine & Spirits Stores
Clearance will make room for new wine selections
The biggest Chairman's Selection(TM) sale of the year begins at Pennsylvania Wine & Spirits Stores on Wednesday, July 1, to make room for new Chairman's Selections(TM) wines arriving this summer.
Because this is an inventory-reduction sale, not every reduced-price selection will be available in every store. "The inventory of sale wines will vary greatly by store, and they'll only be available while current supplies last," Short said. "Once these are gone, we are rolling out exciting new Chairman's Selections(TM) for summer and fall."
Specific sale wines can be transferred upon request from one store to another, but a shipping fee will be charged for this service.
Yup. The Chairman's Selection has been reduced to a fire sale. Slash the prices, call 'em "special values," and get 'em off the floor, because you need room for new stuff. The curtain has been ripped aside, and the PLCB revealed for what it is: a government monopoly that doesn't know or give a damn about the products it sells -- or the profits -- just about how to move product and keep the cashflow turning.

Jonathan Newman would be appalled, only he's got a private wine business now...and you can't get his wines in PA. Anyone surprised by that? I mean, what could they call them? The Ex-Chairman's Selection?

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Great talk about selling the State Store System

Very good piece in the Patriot News about selling off the State Store System. The only person they could find in favor of keeping it was State Store System clerks' union (UFCW Local 1776) president Wendell W. Young IV, pathetically flapping his hands with the same stale arguments the union has used for years:

  1. We won't really make that much money by selling the system (yeah, or by selling licenses to the biggest non-private liquor and wine sales market in the country; sure, pal. Ever seen pictures of the Oklahoma Land Run?)

  2. We get $80 million in profits from the system every year (we could take the $1.7 billion estimated as the sale price of the system and put it in a bank at 4% and make $70 million a year forever doing nothing)

  3. Tax collection in other states isn't that great because private businesses defraud the government (they're corrupt? What, like that LCE officer that was shaking down bars in eastern PA? Great argument!)

  4. The State Store System clerks have only sold to minors twice in the past seven years (that's GREAT news: even underage PA drinkers are smart enough to shop somewhere else...)
There are no good reasons...or even excuses not to sell the State Store System.

"Yee-ha, boys, let's go get us a likker store!"