Friday, October 19, 2018

Redacted for your benefit...

Just yesterday I wrote about how the PLCB finally managed to get down to one minor inventory mistake on their listings for Jack Daniel's. That was based on checking their "database" the week before. But I spoke too soon. Never ones to rest on their laurels or maintain high standards, the registraters and data enterers have corrected their excellence. This week's database iteration shows a 200% increase in bad JD data. Back to "PLCB normal."

We have been telling the PLCB — and showing them! — EXACTLY what some of the mistakes were for five years. We aren't trained specialists like they have at the PLCB, but we do know a thing or two about whiskey. Apparently we know about twice as much as the 40 year vet of the PLCB's Chief Executive Of Doing Things Wrong, Charlie Mooney. The buck doesn't stop with with Chuck so much as it kind of blows onto the floor and slips under a desk where you can't see it...problem solved!

But we did learn something from inside the Forbidden City at 910 Capital Street. Remember that 1792 Full Proof bourbon I wrote about yesterday? The one that both the online Product catalog and the "Fine Wine and Good Spirits" (the money they paid for that name, we should use the whole thing!) website didn't show?
It isn't missing because the PLCB doesn't have it in stock, OR that they don't have the information entered yet. One of our secret army of disgruntled and fed up clerks sent us a screenshot of the secret employee version of that same page. Check this out:
Well whaddya know, there is 1792 Full Proof, just like it used to be listed on the consumer site! You know, the one ordinary citizens have to use. I know the PLCB has products in inventory that are licensee only, things that they not only don't want you to buy, but make sure you aren't allowed to buy, because they know better about what you the consumer wants than you do. A lot of that stuff isn't available for general purchase mainly because if it were someone up in Potter County might actually want to "Special Liquor Order" it — you know, like the PLCB's supporters always say is so important, the right to access to special booze in Coudersport! — and they'd lose money on the deal. Of course they would, that's what they do.

Our source didn't know why we couldn't see these "regular" and "luxury" items that are available for sale to the consumer, but he thought it was because the system was "broken,"  his word, not ours.

But we agree wholeheartedly. The system is broken, and not just the website: it's the entire agency and its reason for existence. From the preamble of The Almighty Liquor Code: "for the protection of the public welfare, health, peace and morals of the people of the Commonwealth and to prohibit forever the open saloon," or as Governor Pinchot put it, to "discourage the purchase of alcoholic beverages by making it as inconvenient and expensive as possible."

It is broken, it always has been broken, and always will be broken so long as there is a monolithic, monopolistic, and inevitably incompetent bureaucracy, run by people with no real industry experience, little to no oversight, doing any harebrained things that their crazed bosses come up with (wine kiosk, anyone?). This agency has no vision, no insight, no real knowledge of what consumers want, and does not want to hear anything about that from any well-meaning and industrious folks out in the individual stores. They only follow, like sheep, as real leaders in the booze business move forward with new ideas. How good can any police-enforced monopoly be, especially when they not only don't want entrepreneurial thinking, but have laws in place to prevent it!

When everything is broken, you can't fix it. You start over...and in Pennsylvania's case, you start over where you should have started in the first place: Privatize. No matter what the PLCBniks say about "well, if we were starting back in 1934, sure, this system isn't what we'd want, but now that we have it —"

Hey. Stop right there. This system isn't what we want. Let's go with that icy chunk of truth. Privatize now. Fix what's broken: everything.

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