Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Chairman's Selection? Or Chairman's Dumping Ground?

The PLCB sent out a press release yesterday, heralding the "Biggest Chairman's Selection(TM) Sale of 2009"! In case you don't know by now, the idea of the "Chairman's Selection" originated back when Jonathan Newman was the PLCB Chairman. He came up with the amazingly original idea of using the state monopoly's enormous buying power to secure large lots of great wines at a discounted price, passing the savings on to customers. The program was a big success, as it delivered wine value to Pennsylvanians for the first time since Repeal. Since Newman left, the program has been criticized for losing its way, selling wines of questionable quality at suspicious discounts.

Well, fear not: the PLCB has come clean! Here's what they say about this new sale:
Incredible Savings at Pa Wine & Spirits Stores
Clearance will make room for new wine selections
The biggest Chairman's Selection(TM) sale of the year begins at Pennsylvania Wine & Spirits Stores on Wednesday, July 1, to make room for new Chairman's Selections(TM) wines arriving this summer.
Because this is an inventory-reduction sale, not every reduced-price selection will be available in every store. "The inventory of sale wines will vary greatly by store, and they'll only be available while current supplies last," Short said. "Once these are gone, we are rolling out exciting new Chairman's Selections(TM) for summer and fall."
Specific sale wines can be transferred upon request from one store to another, but a shipping fee will be charged for this service.
Yup. The Chairman's Selection has been reduced to a fire sale. Slash the prices, call 'em "special values," and get 'em off the floor, because you need room for new stuff. The curtain has been ripped aside, and the PLCB revealed for what it is: a government monopoly that doesn't know or give a damn about the products it sells -- or the profits -- just about how to move product and keep the cashflow turning.

Jonathan Newman would be appalled, only he's got a private wine business now...and you can't get his wines in PA. Anyone surprised by that? I mean, what could they call them? The Ex-Chairman's Selection?


Anonymous said...

just hop across the border. It's not that far :D

sam k said...

Yeah, Anony, I can just hop across the border here in landlocked State College. Nice try.

Premium Selection Stores(TM?) used to have individual wine buyers to select wines that locals preferred, but no more. Now those employees are just floor walkers like the rest. Now Harrisburg tells every store what they can stock, and how many fronts to give those items, if the store can even get them.

Fast Eddie The Patronage King has turned the once semi-progressive LCB into not only a dumping ground for wines and spirits, but also for cronies that have been voted out of office and have no idea how to run a retail monopoly. Joe Conti will be the lightning rod in the eventual restructuring of the Almighty Liquor Code(TM?) via the Sheetz incentive that's taking place as we speak.

Ask any state store (what an amazing phrase in the 21st century!) employee what they think of the current administration. They all hate them as much as we do. Their dignity has been crushed as much as ours, and we all deserve better.

Anonymous said...

Since Sam brought up the Premium Selection Stores, it's worth pointing out that the designation doesn't really mean much anymore either. The PSS in my hometown has every flavor of Smirnoff and every vintage and variety of Yellowtail, but if you want one of good French wines like you read about in magazines, or rye whiskey, or non-rap-star cognac (to say nothing of armagnac), or sake or mead or any dozen other things, your tastes and interests are just too premium.

Also, I disagree that the PLCB was ever anything even remotely resembling progressive, except in the sense that progressives were partly responsible for the temperance movement to begin with (we've since come to our senses and resumed drinking, thankfully). The PLCB is and always has been operated under the democratic equivalent of a royal letter patent. It may have been better (or at least less badly) run previously, but lots of reactionary movements are.

Anonymous said...

see how many managers had dui and are running these state stores.

Anonymous said...

Excellent post. I am going through many of these issues
as well..