Friday, June 27, 2014

Wendell Young still lies and I can prove it Part 3

Trust me; it's all true, even the lies.
On the 25th of June, UFCW Local 1776 President-For-Life Wendell W. Young IV sent out another press release. In this new bit of fallacy, he again says that 5,000 PLCB jobs are at stake. Wendell, Wendell, Wendell...he's lying again!

To start with there aren't 5,000 PLCB employees, according the State. But don't take my word for it; unlike Wendell, I can back it up. Just click here,  then pick Employees and then Employee Count by Agency. Could it be that Wendell is talking about some no-show jobs somewhere where people get paid but aren't really there? No, wait, we're talking about the PLCB; that's kind of a given. Even if there were 5,000 jobs at the PLCB, they wouldn't ALL be at stake, because there would still be the stuff a normal state liquor agency does: regulation and licensing and possibly audits of liquor stores, and something that isn't done in PA today....age checks in liquor stores. Maybe the Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement (currently an embarrassing arm of the State Police) would even go back into the PLCB, since there wouldn't be the conflict of interest that caused them to be created in the first place.

Mr. Young goes on to talk about the PFM report from October of 2011; an evaluation of privatization that was drawn up on a completely different plan, but that little fact doesn't stop him. He goes into turbo-spin mode, his second favorite thing to do after lying talking (and getting haircuts). 'The Governor's own report says it will cost $1.4 Billion to wind down the PLCB over 4 years,' he cries. At least that isn't a lie -- the report did say that -- but he also doesn't tell you that it will cost over $2 Billion to keep the PLCB running for those same 4 years, using the same PFM numbers. How does he keep from getting dizzy?

Mr. Young commented on Rep. Gene DiGirolamo's plan that would create more stores inside of or adjacent to grocery stores; and allowing for more flexibility in pricing. All well and good except the PLCB has had the power to put stores in grocery stores or near grocery stores...
FOR AT LEAST 40 FRICKIN' YEARS!! 

Guess what?  The grocery stores don't want 'em, anymore than they wanted the Incredible Robot Army of Wine Kiosks, or else there would likely be more than 16 in the entire state 33 years after the first store in a store was done. I'm not even sure the PLCB really wants to do it, since the requirements for the new Washington County store lists 33 pages of what the DGS/PLCB wants...but has not one line about locating near a grocery store (although it does specify what floor polish is to be used before the PLCB moves in).

Then Wendell blabbers about 'alternative pricing strategies' to 'modernize' the State Stores. Been there, muffed that! Almost 30 years ago, in 1985, the PLCB was tasked with developing alternative pricing strategies that fit within the liquor code. This was done but never implemented, and here we are in 2014, hearing that as part of "modernization," they want to develop alternate pricing strategies. What the hell have they been doing for the past 29 years? If my business was this incompetent, I would be working in a liquor store, not wanting to buy a liquor store.

You keep talking, Wendell, and I'll keep writing.  Deal?

13 comments:

Alexander D. Mitchell IV said...

"Almost 30 years ago, in 1985, the PLCB was tasked with developing alternative pricing strategies that fit within the liquor code. This was done but never implemented. . ."

Are we sure about this? I seem to recall that, somewhere around that time frame, the PLCB experimented with sourcing some booze on the "gray market", and some oddities such as one-liter bottles (rather than 750s) of certain liquors showing up on the shelves. I remember it because that one-liter bottle of Drambuie remains, to this day, the ONE bottle of liquor, wine, or anything else I EVER bought from the PLCB/"State Stores." That stuff quickly vanished, leaving me to wonder just what happened......

Albert Brooks said...

Yes, I am sure about this. 1 liter bottles were common in the so called outlet stores which were designed to keep people from going out of state. I remember the Drambuie, Wild Turkey, Beam, Absolute and others in that size. It was a way for the PLCB to get around having to lower prices everywhere. They just limited how many stores would carry the liters and charged less per volume for them or basically fucked the majority of the citizens and businesses who weren't near an outlet store. They couldn't order the product nor have it shipped to their local store. Just another fine way the PLCB takes care of the citizens.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Mitchell is correct. The LCB developed several "work arounds" about that time to change the pricing structure. One was the grey market and the liters that were initially available in all stores. You had to be careful with the grey market stuff. On the Johnnie Walker Red label there was a sticker that said for sale by the PLCB. If you peeled it off underneath it said "For duty free sale" and if you looked closer it was only two years old. The other was what were originally called post offs. If the producer gave the PLCB a discount for given period the shelf price was reduced accordingly for that period. That is how the sales still work today. Most important was reducing the uniform mark up and adding a handling fee. The result was the 99 cent pop wines (remember Boones and Ripple?) and half pints went up to about two and a quarter and high end products like Chivas Regal came down about six bucks. Short of a change in laws to create a variable pricing structure I can't see what more could be done. Finally, thirty years later, the feeling is that the legislature will be taking the handcuffs off the PLCB and allowing variable pricing and other commonsense proposals very soon.

Lew Bryson said...

Scotch whisky -- including blends -- has to be at least three years old to be labeled as Scotch whisky. That's UK law (has been for decades) and U.S. law (ditto).

Albert Brooks said...

I have not found anything in the Liquor Code, the laws or any court decision that says the mark-up has to be 30% for all items (which there are variances for already) but that it has to be applied equally across the state. As far as I can tell variable pricing could have been done for years on an item level across the state.

If some one can prove otherwise I'd love to see it in writing.

Anonymous said...

Try 207b. The markup can change but must be uniform on all products purchased by the board. The only variation is for Pa wineries. They can't mark up one item 35% and another only 25%. That's what is meant by variable pricing.

Albert Brooks said...

I have read section Article II section 207b many times and while it does state "Prices shall be proportional with prices paid by the board to its suppliers and shall reflect any advantage obtained through volume purchases by the board."

It does not specify what the markup is nor does it say the markup can't be different for different items. It says it has to be proportional.

Now the PLCB may choose to read it one way but I don't believe they have ever defined why it has to be that way or the reasoning for their doing it that way. Just because they have always done it that way is not a justification unto itself.

Anonymous said...

Seriously? With at least three pending bills that change that very language proposed I think the lawmakers that own the language no what it means. I thought you knew your stuff but after today I wonder.

Albert Brooks said...

You may think whatever you want about new legislation. I was asking for written justification of the current standard. As an autonomous agency the PLCB is allowed latitude in what they do (until they get caught doing something stupid) so without any real clarification and that nobody in the legislature was around when that part of the code was introduced, there is no legal reasoning defined.

I'm not saying it is legal I'm saying that I can't find a definitive answer one way or another. Laws are limitations not permissions.

Anonymous said...

OK. After seeing all that you claimed never happened in the eighties and now this response I'm sure. This clears up a lot.

412Libertarian said...

http://412libertarian.com/plcb-and-ufcw-cries-of-jobs-jobs-jobs-are-hollow-and-misleading/

Many PLCB store employees are part time or seasonal. The store managers have their own union, so Wendell does not even represent the best of the best the PLCB has to offer (More on the managers later).

These seasonal or part time employees are usually scheduled low hours, forced to travel all over the county, have to pay a fair share to the union, and often drive 20+ miles for a 4 hour shift. They must work for years before being promoted. Are these really the “good jobs” we are sacrificing to protect?

The PLCB is scared of privatization because it means the employees would have to work hard and compete like everyone in the private sector. Welcome to the real world.

Albert Brooks said...

Actually they have to travel within their District not the county but otherwise you are pretty close.

People can spend a long time as a Permanent Part Time employee before a full time opening comes up, especially if they want to stay at their home store. It is all seniority based not skill based so you certainly don't get the best and brightest because they have moved on to better things.

Since over a third of the PLCB in total is part time and there is no way a part time job should be considered "family sustaining" every time the union drones on about that they are lying too.

Albert Brooks said...

Anonymous - "All that you claimed never happened in the eighties" Really? To start with I only said one thing in this thread about the eighties. Secondly I didn't have to claim it - it is a Legislative Budget And Finance Committee Performance Audit of the PLCB dated May 1992. I just brought it up again. So given the choice, who should we believe you or them?