- The bidding process was suspect (a single-bid contract).
- The company that made them, Simple Brands LLC (again...a "hi-tech" company with no website?), was suspect (company officers were mostly large Rendell donors, and the principal's main experience before was with neonized skeeball machines).
- The contract was suspect (the PLCB kept saying the machines didn't cost them anything...except maintaining and supplying them, and the drone employees looking at videocamera feeds in Harrisburg, and then the drone employees sitting beside the malfunctioning behemoths).
- The machines themselves were crap.
- The whole concept was flawed from the beginning...and the PLCB knew it.
Eh? What was that last bit? Crazy, but true: jump to this story in today's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and read about how the PLCB received a report from an internal committee prior to signing the wine kiosk contract, a report that strongly advised against going forward with the contract. For instance, the committee pegged the top problem: the kiosk idea simply sucked.
"The committee has a general concern that the proposed process for purchasing products via the kiosk machine is cumbersome and may meet with public criticism for not being 'user-friendly,'" according to the evaluation memo submitted by Matthew Bembenick, a middle manager who recently left his position with the LCB.
Smart people they had working at the PLCB...too bad they not only didn't listen to them, they completely disowned the report, and 'disappeared' it in Orwellian fashion:
The day after the committee submitted its recommendation, an attorney for the LCB instructed employees to hand over all hard copies of the report and to delete all electronic copies.