Thankfully the era of rotary phones is behind us, but in Pennsylvania we’re dealing with a similar relic: The PLCB. In a time when 48 other states have private stores selling some or all of their wine and liquor, Pennsylvanians are stuck with a rotary phone in an iPhone world.
You don’t have to be a friend of privatization to recognize this relic. UFCW 1776 boss Wendell Young IV and some legislators claim that “modernization” of the PLCB will satisfy customers. Young recently told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s Kari Andren that more legislators tell him they’d rather modernize than privatize. But so-called modernization efforts are like being told you can upgrade from a rotary phone to a push-button: it might be a bit easier to use, but good luck texting your friends in 48 other states.
What is this modernization they discuss? Well, you might recall the very modern wine kiosks, a failed effort that cost taxpayers millions because customers didn’t like blowing into a vending machine in the middle of a grocery store. Or there are the modern “Convenience 2020” initiatives. One initiative would allow select “laboratory” supermarkets to sell wine and beer in store. But before you get too excited, thanks to government control, customers would be required to check out at cash register for wine, a different cash register for beer, and one more cash register for food. Convenient? Modern? I don’t think we share the same definitions of those words.
A push-button was a worthy replacement for the rotary in 1985, but customers won’t line up outside stores for one today. Likewise, Pennsylvanians don’t want “modernization,” they want freedom. Governor Corbett told the Tribune-Review that the PLCB’s “time has come.” Indeed, it’s high time to place the final call, and send government booze the way of the rotary phone.