Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Thank God: Wine Kiosks Still Viable!

It looks like my usually reliable source was wrong: the wine kiosks live! I'm so happy; I was really looking forward to seeing these wastes of money in operation. Thank you, PLCB, for restoring my faith in your bad decision-making capability!

Check out this latest hot wine kiosk news, in which PLCB Chairman PJ "PJ" Stapleton threatens that prototype wine kiosk deployment will take place at the Wegmans in Silver Spring Township, Cumberland County (which also sells beer!), and the Giant Food Store in Susquehanna Township, Dauphin County (which does not...). These are both hot-spots of wine-savvy grape mavens, I guess. Or maybe they're down the road from someone's house, I dunno. They're close to PLCB HQ, of course, and, like Jose Garces's restaurant -- I'm sorry, his grocery store, they were hand-picked by the PLCB to receive the largesse of extended monopoly.

According to the article, "The LCB has been testing the machines in a warehouse in Mechanicsburg for three months, making mostly technical and mechanical alterations to ensure the kiosks work properly, Stapleton said." I'll just bet. Wouldn't you like to have been there to watch the bottles full of water (you don't think...would they actually use real bottles of wine?!) come rolling out? The excitement as the teleoperator (were they in a completely different room of the building?!) determined whether the person utilizing the vending kiosk was the person their ID said they were, and were sober? There's a beaut: did they actually get someone drunk to test that?

I can't wait to drive to the Weggymans and try this dope device out. I may even buy a viddie-cam to share the moment with you. Won't that be fun!

Folks...the way to get wine sales into supermarkets -- which is clearly where the people who actually buy wine in Pennsylvania want them -- is to dump the State Store System and go to private sales: put wine on the shelves, not in some souped-up gumball machine. It's something we should have done 50 years ago. Here's hoping the kiosks are the final straw that demonstrate just how asinine this system is.

Oh, almost forgot: cui bono?You need to ask? Read this again, and then think: ask not what you can do for your State; ask what your State is doing to you.


JohnM. said...

OK, I'm completely confused. I've tried to educate myself about this by reading different stories on the internet, but I'll be damned if I can figure out the purpose behind this.

How/why is this a superior system then just having store employees handle wine sale transactions? Is the point to try to stop mildy intoxicated people from purchasing more alcohol (apparently the machine won't operate if your BAC is above .05%)?

At least by reputation, wine prices in Pa. are some of the highest in the country. Surely dispensing wine from a locked kiosk, that is located inside a grocey store (and with LCB employees on site to assist), is only going to make the cost that much higher.

Personally, I've never heard of a self service wine kiosk, and would be curious to know who came up with this brillian idea. Is there any other state that employees this system?

Sorry, I guess I'm just really, really dense today, but I can see absolutely no upside to installing these wine kiosks in various grocery stores around the state.

Rich said...


Wine kiosk debut:

What is so funny about this. It says they are trying to add convenience but from what I can tell, the kiosks are only open from 9AM-9PM, closed Sun, that's pretty much the liquor store hours anyway with the exception of Mon and Tues.