Friday, May 3, 2013

Credit where it's due: good service at Good Old Store #0909

Because I don't lie about reality like the PLCB Partisans... I just got some of the very best service I've ever had at Good Old Store #0909 here in Newtown. I had to get a quick couple bottles for a late dinner decision -- no time to run to Jersey! -- so I grabbed some prosecco (easy enough, though the sign for the section said "Champagne!"), picked up a big bottle of cheap cabernet (impulse buy), and then...realized I don't really know white wine outside of sauvignon blanc, riesling, and gew├╝rztraminer.

So I see this younger woman in a clerk apron who I'd never seen there before, and I asked her: I don't really drink much white wine, and I need some dry white for a recipe; any advice? She put down what she was stocking and said "Sure!" (1st plus), and then asked me what I was cooking (2nd plus). I told her, and she said that just about any pinot grigio would do, and the Barefoot's on sale for $6. Done. (And please don't judge me -- or her -- about the Barefoot: I'm just deglazing a pan, and then we'll probably drink it as spritzers while sitting by the firepit. I drink better whiskey than you. Probably. Whatever.)
She was pleasant about it too, a lot more pleasant than I've encountered there before. The guy at the register was, I think, a trainee, or maybe the manager was just hovering over him to be a jerk. He got the stuff done, and I was out.

Like I keep saying: if they delivered better service, I wouldn't be making such a fuss about privatization. If they weren't so dead-set on standardized selection, I wouldn't be making such a fuss about privatization.

But...they generally don't, they certainly are, so I am.

The Selection Lie

When the PLCB Partisans have made their statements about how dangerous privatization is -- ignoring the fact that it doesn't seem to be causing chaos or undue harm in the states that have it -- and how many jobs it's going to cost -- their jobs, usually, which isn't exactly objective, and ignores the jobs that privatization will inevitably create (if we don't do it the stupid way Senator McIlhinney wants to; yeah, Senator, I said stupid, and if you want to talk to me about it, you already have my email) -- and how much 'revenue' it will cost the state -- which 1)it won't, and 2)that's not the point anyway -- they often get around to saying something like, "And you know, privatization will mean less selection. The private stores don't carry as many different wines and liquors as the LCB does, and supermarkets won't carry a lot of your craft beers; they'll only carry what sells."

Can we just say "bullshit" and be done with it? Because you'd have to be feeble-minded to believe that argument (which really makes me worry about my own state representative, Frank Farry, who actually quoted it to me as the main reason he voted against HB790). All you have to do, quite literally, to disabuse yourself of this notion is go to one of the 160-odd Pennsylvania grocery stores that are now selling beer and look at their beer selection. The Wegmans in Downingtown, for instance, where I bought this bottle of Brooklyn Local 1.
Or you could go to the Whole Foods in Plymouth Meeting, where they even have six taps for filling growlers. But before you make this silly argument, do the really simple thing and just go look at what privately-owned supermarkets are already selling in Pennsylvania! And then stop blathering this ludicrous "talking point" that the state store clerk's union or the Malt Beverage Distributors Association gave you.

It's not just beer, either. Want to see what wine and liquor selection looks like in a privately-run store? Just go look at one! They're right across the border: Joe Canal's, Total, Roger Wilco, Moore Brothers... Are there corner bodegas in the side streets of Trenton that have tiny selections? Sure there are, just like the "grocery" selection at a 7-11 is dwarfed by what you can get at Wegmans, or Giant Eagle, or at an Aldi's, for that matter. That's the point: they don't all have the same stuff, so some of them have a lot more.

But really. If you're making these arguments, or even thinking about considering them as possible...Just. Go. Look. It's all you have to do to realize that they're pure delusion, lies, distortions of truth. If we break open wholesaling in this state -- and it can be the same "system" as the beer wholesalers, they're doing a great job supplying us with multitudes of beers! -- the private stores will get the selection. And it will be the selection you want, not the selection some PLCB committee in Harrisburg has decided you're going to get.

Tell Senator McIlhinney and your state senator that you want real privatization in Pennsylvania: privatized retail and privatized wholesale. If we don't get it all, there's no point. Happily, McIlhinney does get one thing:
"The committee's chairman, Sen. Charles McIlhinney, R-Bucks, also attacked part of Corbett's justification for selling private wine and liquor store licenses, the idea that a windfall of $1 billion or more would result. "If this is about a money maker, I don't think that's really where we should be going with it," McIlhinney told reporters after the hearing. "If we're going to do privatization and try to make more convenience out there, it shouldn't be some way to generate a billion dollars and then give it away."
Right on that one, Chuck. Now get your head straight on the rest of it. Don't compromise with people who aren't going to make a deal.