Wednesday, June 25, 2008

How Other People Shop for Booze

Yesterday I was in New Jersey.

I did stop at a liquor store.

It was big. It was full of booze: spirits, wines, beers, even mead. I did see wondrous liquors, a rainbow of cordials, and I did take a bottle of St. Germain down from the shelf and fondle it (noting as I did that it was on sale for $6 off).

It was well-marked. I did see large signs declaring wines from Italy, South Africa, Chile, New Zealand (where I did see a marvelous array of wines with shelf talkers and swell prices), California, New York, France, Spain, Portugal; dessert wines, sparkling wines, jug wines, and fighting varietals; wines in coolers, wines in cases, wines to be sampled. Wines on sale: every non-sale bottle of wine was 20% off on Tuesdays! Amazing.

It was friendly. I asked about a wine, "Passion Has Red Lips," and the clerk didn't sneer or look at me blankly...she looked it up, and another clerk made helpful suggestions. They apologized when they could not find it.

The beer was chilled, and displayed in its myriad assortment. It was nicely priced, and so convenient to buy, by the single bottle, or six-pack, or 12-pack, or case, all there with the wine and spirits.

Whiskey? Oh, my yes, a nice assortment, and an amazing assortment of gins, vodkas, brandies, cognacs, and even armagnacs.


I did buy a little. And took it to my car.

And I did drive back to the land of the PLCB.


Anonymous said...

What a beautiful vision. I'm wildly envious of your trip to a magical land.

They sell St. Germain here in western PA. I worry that they've started selling it only to get me hooked, so they can then take it away and make me yet more miserable.

Kevin said...

They have a place like that near where I work in Delaware. It is like being on vacation from the LCB.

Rich said...

Does the PLCB have a complaint system? You know, for those employees that don't know their trade and don't wish to learn it or be helpful in the least bit?

I'm thinking...there doesn't seem to be any interest from the PLCB on improving service, and friendliness of employees. That would be a good poll, Lew...something about how the PLCB employees treat their customers. You see, in private industry there is motivation to keep your employees knowledgable, its called competition. I guess that there is no motivation in a monopoly...get it and get out if you don't like the service go somewhere else. Oh, wait, you can't...TFB.

Anonymous said...

Reminds me of my last trip to Binny's in Chicago. Compelling and broad selection, and employees who were well-versed on any spirit, beer, or wine you wanted to discuss. They even let you taste from available sample bottles BEFORE YOU MADE THE DECISION TO BUY!!!!

What a wonderful world it would be...

peterb said...

I don't think it's quite true to say "the PLCB isn't interested in improving service." They are interested in the abstract, and I can say that a number of PLCB employees have contacted me, privately, to say that they share my anguish. What we can say is that over the course of many years the PLCB has improved dramatically in some ways, but has failed to improve in many, many more.

Anonymous said...

As a former plcb employee, I'm anxious to tell you that you could and should be prosecuted for bringing alcohol back into the Commonwealth from one of the so-called 'free' states.
How dare you try to get it cheaper, in more pleasant surroundings and from knowledgeable store personnel?

Lew Bryson said...

Hey "former"!

(glug, glug, glug...)

What booze I bought out of state? Don't know what you're talking about...

Anonymous said...

I read this page .... I find it hilarious that is called "BOOZE". So I am assuming that they are not adults (or ones that don't want to act like adults) ..... please booze? It is liquor, that is difficult to say as an adult correct. If you NEED to purchase alcohol in every store you go into whether it be a STATE owned and run or privately owned. You really need to sit and and look at your life ... plan ahead. I know unexpected things arise but hey you deal with it. We are adults ... if you can drink all you alcohol in your house and not have anything to offer your guests .... you ave a problem. You also say clerks look at you blankly when you say a name or snicker with some of the "off colored" named wines .... I find them facinating. NOT ALL LIQUOR CLERKS THINK THAT WAY! Some love to help and will search or suggest a wine that is similiar. As far as how many stores are in the state or where they are placed or even the hours ... that is an issue .... they need to get out from behind their desks and tour the state and finds the REAL NEEDS of the areas before cutting the hours, stores, or products. Thank You for your patience in my ramble!!!

Lew Bryson said...

Hey, Ramblin' Man. I use the word "booze" because it's easier than always writing "beer, wine, and spirits." Instead, I just write "booze." Everyone knows what it is. If it makes you laugh, well, that's your issue, not mine. It makes me chuckle when people in Erie call carbonated soft drinks "pop," but I don't run down the content of what they're saying because they do.

As for all this other "you let alcohol run your life, you need to get a grip, you drink too much" crap... Please. Are you saying that everyone in other states where you can buy booze in grocery stores, drugstores, and gas stations therefore are automatically alcoholics? All I want is the same kind of convenience and choice they have. Not so much to ask.

As for the hours and position of stores..."they" don't need to get out from behind their desks. They need to find jobs in the private sector when the PLCB is abolished. Because that will solve all these problems. Except your problem with the word "booze." You'll have to deal with that on your own time.