Pennsylvania’s goofy wine kiosk program gets corked for good

September 27, 2011 by Dave Haynes

The word out of Pennsylvania is that the state liquor board’s wondrously dumb self-service, digital signage-topped wine kiosk program is done.

Reports Penn Live (via Self Service World):

The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board says its one-year experiment with wine vending kiosks at grocery stores is over because of a dispute with the contractor.

The Liquor Control Board said (last) Monday was the last day to resolve a $1 million dispute with contractor Simple Brands LLC.

The kiosks were announced with great fanfare in late 2009 as heralding a new era of convenience for customers, even while the state maintains its hold on all retail sales of wine and liquor.

Installation of the machines in grocery stores around the state began in the summer of 2010. Locally, they were in several Giant and Wegmans supermarkets.

However, the kiosks had persistent problems in dispensing wine, among other glitches. In August, state Auditor General Jack Wagner recommended the LCB pull the plug.

Wagner said the kiosks had not met expectations and had cost the state $1.12 million. “We think the program has failed,” Wagner said. 

No amount of helpful videos and calls to action on digital screens associated with this thing were going to overcome a service that transformed the easy, pleasing process of looking for the right bottle of red into something cumbersome and ridiculous.

Dumb on a grand scale.


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