Monday, June 26, 2017

I'll Drink to That

One of the Province of Ontario's 'better ideas', or luckier ones, is the little golden-egg layer somebody invented to keep a lid on the Province's drinkers.  What started off, in the mists of antiquity, as a do-gooders wet dream to reduce the number of public toss-pots,  has grrown into a home, feeder and positive cash stream for the public purse. The Liquor Control Board of Ontario  or , as it is now styled,  'The Ontario Alcohol and Gaming Commission' has grown into the diamond on the public tiara and a pillar of financial strength. So much is that the case,  that every decade or so, some 'less government' government comes-up with the good idea of peddling it to 'private enterprise',  in return for some fast cash and a bagful of magic beans.

And every decade, or so some, 'marketing whiz' at he head office gets the idea that he needs to get a bigger bonus due to an 'uptick' in sales.   While you can only 'advertise' some prople into drinking more ... faster, a sure fire way to get everybody off their duffs and pushing  a shopping cart around the 'liquor store',  is to make them think it's Chritmas  ...  or that there is the looming likelihood of a 'dry spell'. It's the latter that's the subject of this piece.

Long reputed to be the domain of 'real men' - at least in the faceless days of selecting your poison from a numbered list and paying somebody who looked like a  graduate of a Gulag - a Gulag  that might at least have had a human rights committee -  having it delivered, wrapped in an AA-aproved brown paper bag with which you scuttled, hopefully unnoticed, out tthe door, the  'Booze Barn' has bencome an 'equal opprtunity employer'. It's also user friendly and very much better-lit - even if the general population isn't.  But if stories are to be believed, it is told that A) women are definitely still on the distaff side of management (demographically)  and B)  they are more likely than trhe 'guys'  to have part-time positions.  Although, again if stories are to be believed,  part-time positions seem to be an operating 'principle' at the Liquor Stores.  It is usually quite easy to upset the staff, then, by threatening cuts,  or rollbacks, or hiring more part-timers etc, and get them to do something 'organized' like going  on strike. Or threatening to.

The secret here, marketing-wise,  is to allow the situation to 'go down to the  (well announced) wire'.  Let the public know that,  if they're not careful,  the bottom of the Jim Beam jug might be all the 'good times'  they'll be seeing for a while. It really 'gets the wind up' and the customers out. A summer without 'refreshment' is a tragedy.

And so it was, almost,  this week. To-day was the potential 'Black Monday'.  But like other 'Black Mondays',  in the pas, t the day has come, and gone and a settlement has been found. Yes the shelves may be dimished, but the computerized stiock control and automated order system will take care of that. And laying-off the part timers who got the dear old LCBO  (almost like a 'gay' thing, isn't it? How appropriate is that this week!) should help provide the cost savings,  while the 'consumers' consume their unintended 'wet bars'.   Lord knows the full-timers will need a time to catch breathes before all that product recption, de-packaging and shelf stocking has to be done.

In the meantime,  it makes one wonder that, having a lot more 'imbibables' (*Hef invented that one) than normal,  does the rate of alcohol consumption rise - like the 'tic' in liquor sales and associated tax revenues?  And will that  all qualify somebody(somebodies) at head office for a healthy kick in the pay packet?

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