In Which We Use the Liquor Control Board’s $100 Thousand App
It was recently revealed by the Pittsburgh CBS affiliate that the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board spent $100,000 of taxpayer money creating its mobile smartphone application, which was released earlier this year. That seems like a lot. We think.
So we decided to try it out. Just because. The Fine Wine and Good Spirits app, as it’s called, is suitable for iPhones (an Android version is in the works) and essentially tells you everything about state liquor stores—how to locate the nearest one, find out what’s for sale, find out what’s on sale. If you like a bottle of wine you overpaid for at a restaurant, you can scan it, and locate the closest state store with that product in stock.
But as the conservative Commonwealth pointed out, the app unfortunately does not give one directions to New Jersey or Delaware.
They’ve also called the cost of the app “just the latest example of PA’s monopoly of mediocrity burning through tax dollars in the name of ‘modernization,’” making note of “the wine kiosk catastrophe and the $66 million failed inventory system.”
The Harrisburg-based nonprofit supports getting rid of the PLCB altogether. But at this point, we’re just interested in showing you what’s up with the application. Because you probably don’t have it. Yet.
This is the welcome screen.
Those buttons: They all work! Click on “Shop wines and Spirits,” and you can choose either online or in-store products. We chose online:
Ever drink Adult Chocolate Milk? Us neither. But the PLCB has it in stock, apparently, online.
And they use Google Maps to identify your location and tell you where the closest stores are. Some had criticized the Liquor Control Board for similar tactics when they introduced the since-defunct wine kiosk system. Because the system was government-run, it was claimed, giving the government access to your location, blood-alcohol level, etc., was a bit troublesome. But how far we’ve come! With the mainstreaming of drone warfare, Man of the Year-ing the creator of Facebook and social network check-ins, government-controlled phone applications having your current location on file was an inevitability.
Worth $100,000? Depends on what your definition of ‘worth’ is.