It'd Probably Work Better If It Were Run By Drunkards

Certain topics come up again and again in this space. In videogames, we constantly talk about why save points are stupid. In photo we talk about equipment obsessions and how technique is more important than the camera.

And in the “food and drink” category, I always find some occasion to complain about the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (“PLCB”). This is because, like a dog who returns to his vomit, I keep trying to go into their liquor stores to do crazy, wild, unexpected things, like purchase liquor. This week’s disappointment comes fresh on the heels of the horrific trolls at the PLCB banning direct wine shipments from Pennsylvania (and thus, out of state) wineries. This was their idiotic response to the recent Supreme Court decision. To his credit, State Senator Jim Ferlo is trying to undo their brain damage – write to the Senator and tell him “thanks”.

The last time I stepped into a State Store, it was in a nearly-vain attempt to procure some Tokaji. Today, I wanted something a lot less ambitious: a bottle of armagnac to use to inebriate some prunes (and, hopefully, myself as well). As in our previous episode, this incident occurred in one of the LCB’s “Premium Collection Stores,” which I am assured “carry an outstanding selection of premium wines and spirits.”

I didn’t see any armagnac on the brandy shelf, so I approached an associate. Hilarity ensued:

“Hi. Do you have any armagnac?”

[With something of a sneer] “Armagnac? What’s that?”

[long pause] “It’s a type of brandy. Like cognac.”

“Is that one of them flavored brandies?”

“No. It’s just brandy.”

“Sorry, I’ve never heard of it.” [turns away].

Now, let me make myself perfectly clear. I’m not upset that they didn’t have any in stock (well, I’m not that upset). Inventory management is tricky. Not every store can have every product all the time. I understand that. But that the supposedly best stores in the LCB system are staffed by people who don’t know what a not-terribly-exotic spirit is, and worse, obviously don’t care just kills me.

What drives me nuts about this is that this conversation is par for the course in one of the allegedly good stores.

A bunch of hateful bureaucrats have entrenched themselves between us and the twenty-first century. The LCB must be destroyed.

Update: In an “amusing” coda to this story, the State’s online inventory system claims there are 3 bottles of Montesquio armagnac at the store I was in.

So, PLCB, once again: screw you.