Monday, January 26, 2015
PLCB: We can't do our job! (so you have to suffer for it)
You may have read that the PLCB stopped all Special Liquor Orders (SLO—how appropriate) because of a backlog, apparently caused by the departure—OVER 6 MONTHS AGO—of two data entry clerks. The huge amount of people qualified to be data entry clerks that are currently in the Civil Service system and in the general populace only emphasizes the PLCB's lack of decision making ability.
Pretty much the excuse for this stoppage was that PA residents are offered so many items in the SLO process that the staff can't keep up with the entering and deleting of them all in the product catalog. But are we really offered that much? Of the 40,000 items listed as available, the PLCB admits that there are "tens of thousands of outdated or nonexistent special liquor order items that must be deleted from the state catalog each year." If there is only one catalog that lists everything, yet some unspecified but large percentage of that catalog (tens of thousands!) are nonexistent or outdated on a rotating basis...then you really don't have 40,000 items available, you have 40,000 items listed. Note that this is exactly the same thing Joe "Da CEO" Conti used to accuse the large over-the-border superstores (like Total, Joe Canal's, and Roger Wilco) of doing; saying they had 12,000 items, but then talking you into something else once you actually got there. Guess he was just projecting his behavior on them.
Would Lowe's, Target, Sears, etc. be in business if they let the public order and pay for 25% (or maybe more) of the items listed on their websites, only to tell them days or weeks later that the item isn't available? I mean that does happen...but with a damn sight less frequency then with the state stores.
Imagine telling your boss (and we are the boss of this government-run retail monopoly, even if they won't do anything we want) that you can't do your job, so you are going to stop for a few weeks to catch up. How do you think that will go over?
Not surprisingly, once this business incompetence was reported the PLCB suddenly was able to start taking SLO orders the very next day a week ahead of schedule. Not unlike the situation in "The 90 days to do something story" I posted back in November. The PLCB doesn't "fix" anything unless they are found out doing something stupid, incompetent or anti-consumer.
PLCB says it is planning to install a system that allows for greater automation of application processing, which could help to alleviate future delays. Notice that they don't say it will fix the problem but just band-aid it enough so the citizens won't see it fail like it just did. News flash: if we privatize, you won't see it fail either. Socialist monopoly retail can not react to business and consumer needs anywhere near the way private industry can. Why continue to have the State Store System try to act like a badly-run business when real business can do so much better, and does, every day?
Call, email or write your Representatives and Senators and tell them to make a deal to get rid of this albatross; trade it for a shale tax or just sell it outright to close the deficit. We deserve better and we'll never get it with the PLCB.
Privatization IS Modernization.