Thursday, April 9, 2015

Bare minimum is too much customer service for Pittsburgh state store

PLCB Employee Customer Service Briefing
According to a few sources the retail customers -- the taverns and restaurants -- who are forced to buy their booze at store #0247 (5956 Centre Ave, Ste 201, Pittsburgh) are being "coddled" too much.and have the gall to expect the same level of service that is given by free market (or what we call "regular" or "non-monopoly") stores or other vendors. Never mind that almost every other vendor a business has to deal with will deliver: the state stores don't. One would at least expect that all the time they save by not delivering could be put to use fixing any problems that may occur in licensee orders. Don't bet on it.

While telephone orders are still taken, most licensees use the computer automated system to place their orders, thus removing most chances for human error. Shortly, it will be mandated to be all computer driven by LOOP (Liquor Order Online Program if I remember correctly) so any mistakes from phone orders will be gone. But the licensee may still order the wrong thing, and the State Store may put the wrong product in the box, or order the wrong item from the vendor. Switching out a wrong item in the box is more of a pain than a problem, but when the wrong item is ordered, it may take weeks to straighten out.  It can be even more difficult because there are items offered to the licensees that are not available to the public, so they're not on the shelf somewhere else, where they could be pulled to correct the order.  (Yeah, that's right: the PLCB not only offers limited selection to you and I, they don't even offer us everything they have!)

Given the frustration waiting that long must create, sometimes the licensee involves the vendor, through the state store, to help out.  That seems to be too helpful for the manager at store 0247, so now "...employees are no longer allowed to call the vendor when they send the wrong product." That's according to Richard Swartz, a Pittsburgh bartender who's involved in this ridiculous pissing contest.

Ryan Eberlein, another licensee customer of store 0247, backs up what Richard said, "This is my store and I know this manager, and it's no joke." He added, "Also, let's understand the premise of this relationship... if the state accepts and sells the wrong product -- doing the only thing required of them, incorrectly -- we have to bring it to their attention and wait weeks to months to get it resolved." He continues, "Only a cartel can treat its customer with such disdain and disrespect. Only a monopoly can say basic customer service is too much."

Now in a normal state with normal liquor retail, Ryan could find a store that not only treats him better, but also helps resolve any problems he may have. Not to mention, they'd deliver, saving him time to do other things to help his business. Under the State Store System, he doesn't have that choice. All the stores are the same, all the products are the same, the lack of delivery is the same -- everything is decided by Harrisburg, where the only interest is for doing the minimum amount required to save their jobs, not to satisfy the consumer. Are there exceptions, clerks and bureaucrats who do try to stem this sluggish tide of indifference? Of course...and they are just that: exceptions.

We'd like to thank Ryan and Richard for speaking up, as the PLCB is well-known among licensees for practicing a petty and vindictive retaliation when their idiocy is pointed out. If that happens, we encourage them to report it. 


Anonymous said...

Wait a minute... did the PLCB wholesale store at 1601 Liberty in Pittsburgh close? Because as of fairly recently the combination of that store and the Washington Mall outlet store were where most western PA licensees would shop.

Albert Brooks said...

I can't answer your question nor comment about where most shop or not. Every licensee has a home store that they choose, maybe these folks chose 0247.