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Monday, March 22, 2010

Playing Monopoly

A finely tuned wine is a wonderful thing, particular if you're Chairman of the Board of LCBO:

One "pre-board meeting dinner" in January 2009 racked up a $458-booze bill, part of the overall $1,436 tab, while another similar gathering at Chiado in August 2007 set taxpayers back $1,397, according to expenses filed by board chairman Philip Olsson.


Layton said the idea of the dinners was to nail down the agenda and "fine tune" things for the next day's board meeting. Most were held at the downtown Toronto Club, where Olsson has a membership and the board could meet in a private room.

What exactly is there to "fine tune?" The LCBO is a monopoly. A few half-decent sommeliers and some purchasing managers you're good to go. Business strategy? Don't need to have one. Improving efficiency? The unions won't have it and the government won't let you fight the unions. What's left? A quick review of the quarterly gouging - sorry, earnings - and maybe debating the interior decor of the Vintages stores? Less mahogany and more birch? Like NRO's John Derbyshire tells us every week in his podcasts, "Get a Government Job."

Posted by Richard Anderson on March 22, 2010 | Permalink


The LCBO stores are nice looking, pretty good selection (not much from BC though), but very few locations and their hours of operation are poor. In Alberta, the public is served better, but the stores are not all the same and many don't look as nice. But I much prefer the messy free market than the orderly monopoly any day. I flew into Toronto one night and the beer and LCBO stores were closed. It was about 10:30 or 11pm I think. Anyway, I couldn't get a case of beer or bottle of wine so I went without. No big deal. The point is, in Alberta I would have been able to find a liquor store just by driving. I wouldn't even have to check the phone book or navigation system.

Who does the LCBO serve best I wonder?

Posted by: TM | 2010-03-22 5:15:12 PM


I can recall when the LCBO stores had an almost Soviet feel to them. Lots of brown. When the Harris conservatives threatened to privatize the LCBO, the stores got face lifelifts, and the variety and prices improved.

Posted by: Publius | 2010-03-23 11:50:14 AM

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