PCLB can't mind its own P's and Q's
Pennsylvania's booze monopoly has to deal with something of a conundrum. It can't drag itself into the 21st century of customer service without acknowledging its deep, fundamental flaws that argue for its elimination.
Then, even when the Pennsylvania Liquor Control board tries to improve that service, it can't go all the way because of archaic state laws and its own regulations. It can't get out of its own way.
Last week the PLCB said it wants to increase convenience for consumers by enabling them to buy wine and beer on a single trip to the supermarket, rather than forcing them to three different locations.
Imagine that. Or don't, because the last time the PLCB felt compelled to join the rest of the universe by allowing consumers to buy wine where they buy food, it came up with the infamous "wine kiosks" - massive, clunky vending machines and a convoluted process to with them.
This time, the PLCB has a better idea. It wants consumers to have the opportunity to buy wine in supermarkets without having to use a kiosk. But because of the law and its own rules, it only will allow such a revolutionary concept if the PLCB itself operates separate stores inside supermarkets.
So a consumer who buys wine, beer and food on a trip to the supermarket still would have to do so through three separate check-outs rather than one, as he would in a non-monopoly state.
Well, you have to give the agency credit for trying.
So, two pilot stores will open inside supermarkets in Western Pennsylvania, and the PLCB will relocate some stores closer to supermarkets as leases expire at current locations.