PLCB rolls out direct shipping to PA homes

Earlier today, the PLCB announced a new service to its “valued customers” via e-mail. Starting this week, consumers can have online orders sent directly to Pennsylvania addresses. According to the e-mail, increased shipping tariffs will apply, to offset the “cost of packaging and freight” and an adult signature cost is baked into the new pricing.  It’s doubly expensive to ship to a home over a store.

On its complexion, this new feature might resemble a consumer-friendly gesture: Receive wine at your doorstep, no travel required. The problem is, this “improvement” is anchored to a flawed foundation.

Let’s break it down:

  • Commonwealth wine and spirits consumers are subjected to an environment of zero retail diversity;
  • If it’s not in the PA pipeline, it’s not in your wine cellar;
  • In open states, a privately-owned shop would ostensibly and routinely order bottles that aren’t found on-premise at little or no cost to the shopper;
  • Shipments from out-of-state wineries and online retailers are not allowed in PA;
  • PA consumers must pay at least $7 extra for “hard-to-find” bottles that are not in stock at their local LCB outlet;
  • With direct shipping, they save themselves a trip to the store.

An improvement? It’s a little like paying to fix your sink after the plumber breaks it. It’s an unbalanced deal, a half-measure distraction from the elephant in the room.

How did this get here?

Here’s the body of the communication:

November 22, 2011

To our valued customers,

We have some exciting news to share!  As part of our goal of offering you a wide selection of hard-to-find wines and spirits with the convenience of online shopping, we are now offering home delivery on your online orders from FineWineAndGoodSpirits.com.

Starting Monday, November 21, 2011, your online purchases can be shipped to any address within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, with an adult’s signature at the time of delivery. If you currently enjoy the convenience of shipping your order to one of our stores, you can still do so.

Additionally, we are extending this service to Wine Club shipments for members of our popular Wine Club. Special Order products and brick-and-mortar store purchases are not eligible for home delivery.

You will notice some changes to our shipping costs.  While we strive to keep these as low as possible, we have not updated our charges in 12 years, during which time the cost of packaging and freight has risen significantly. Additionally, direct-to-home delivery requires an adult’s signature at the time of delivery; the fee UPS charges to obtain this is reflected in the shipping rates (customers who continue to ship their delivery to one of our stores will not be assessed the adult-signature fee). The adjusted shipping rates are reflective of those charged by other wine and spirits retailers nationwide.

An example of the new shipping rates:

  • 1-3-bottles, delivered to home:  $14.00 with $1.00 for each additional bottle after 3.
  • 1-3 bottles, shipped to a store:  $7.00 with $1.00 for each additional bottle after 3.

For more information on delivery rates and policies, please visit our Delivery Info page at www.FineWineAndGoodSpirits.com

We hope you will enjoy the convenience of home delivery—just in time for the holidays! If you haven’t done so already, please visit us at www.FineWineAndGoodSpirits.com to browse our extensive selection of gift-worthy wines and spirits. While you are there, sign up to receive our weekly e-mails that highlight new products, exclusive online sales, coupons and announcements for tastings and other special events. 

Cheers!

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