Friday, December 12, 2014

Selling Allocated Van Winkle Whiskeys Online is the "Most Fair" Method. Really?

Stacey Kreideman, the PLCB's spokesperson, told us that the most "fair" way for the agency to sell their allotment of relatively rare and highly desired Pappy Van Winkle whiskeys was to put them up for sale all at once, online, with no warning but an email to say "We got 'em, time to buy!" So let's look at how much, if any, thought was put into that statement. After all the PLCB has to serve ALL the population: we can't legally go anywhere else.

Pennsylvania's population is about 12.9 million.  Of that about 3 million are under 21, leaving 9.9 million adults who can legally buy liquor. About 800,000 people work in non-management manufacturing, mining, and construction, mostly during the day, so they aren't  -- can't be! -- looking to get twitter blasts in the middle of the work day.  That takes our number down to 9.1 million who may have the time, internet connection, and desire to buy a bottle on line.

Service jobs make up the largest part of PA workers, almost 4.5 million of them.  Even after you take out the IT folks, real estate and "professional business services" that still leaves 3.4 million working in retail, warehouses, restaurants, utilities, and all other manner of service jobs. Most of those people aren't responding to every tweet and email in the middle of work either. Down to 5.7 million

Health Services is another large employer with about 1.2 million employees. Take out the night shift, and the administrators and other desk jockeys, and that is near 800,000 who are actually at work doing something when the PLCB sends out it's email blast. Down to 4.9 million now: half of the population that will never get a shot at the PLCB's rigged Van Winkle race.

Drop another 500,000 for Leisure and Hospitality workers - wait staff, cooks, busboys, hostesses, hotel workers etc., etc. Another 200,000 for government workers like road crews, maintenance, military, police, firemen, state store clerks (they're certainly not checking Twitter; they're too busy shoveling coal into their 1930s-era POS system) and what have you, and at least another 100,000 for non-traditional services, the number drops to 4.1 million or less.

So how fair is it when over 60% of your buying population can't buy what you are selling? Putting it all on sale at 5 AM would be far more "fair" to the majority of buyers, since most could actually try to get on the crashing PLCB website. Ahh, but then the PLCB workers in Harrisburg would have to get up early and actually try to do something for the people they work for. Can't have that, now can we?

I originally made the following up, as a joke, but it turns out to be more true than I thought. "It's the most fair to everyone that works behind a desk" said the PLCB. "If you have one of those laboring jobs we really don't care about you and you shouldn't be buying $100 bottles of whiskey. Our clerks will tell you so." 

The PLCB's online 'store' needs a new motto. Here's a proposal: "We don't deal with the public, we make the public deal with us!"

All the numbers come from the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry website minus an estimated 10% for management


Anonymous said...

The question is whether you have tried Russian Imperial Stout aged in Van Winkle barrels? Made by Hoppin Frog it is delicious and ultra rare. I had it on draft on Saturday and loved it.

Albert Brooks said...

I have had it although they don't actually come out and say it is Van Winkle barrels. A bit too much chocolate for me but interesting and good nonetheless. I belong to a beer pass that sends out bottles amongst the members. Just another of my illegal alcohol activities. I'm not really that much of a beer guy though but I do like a good Stout with a steak on the grill.

Another very good whisky barrel aged beer is Ola Dubh which is stored in Highland Park barrels. They have 12,18,21,30 and 40 year bottlings. Well worth seeking out.