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Booze, Wind and Sex Changes

Steve Campbell

Steve Campbell

Well, we are approaching the long-awaited day of the Grand Opening of our brand new liquor store.

I know this has caused some irritation, frustration and anxiety for the immediate locals, who feel it does not fit in with the surrounding historic homes. This may be true, but you need to consider the feelings of people like me, who have waited for the day a giant alien spaceship would land at the second-busiest intersection in Picton.
And this is not your average liquor store. It’s huge! I understand they are going to install a petting zoo in the centre, and one of those plastic-ball pits for the kids to play in! It’s like a McDonald’s Playland for heavy drinkers.
At least they broke the LCBO’s rubber-stamp architectural plan of the concrete booze box. This is not just a liquor store, it is a monument to how much booze the County can pound back.

I have mixed feelings about it. For one thing, I only drink one brand of rum, so having a selection of 10,000 products to choose from is kind of wasted on me. Also, it’s like the screamingly-big Canadian Tire stores in which, instead of having five bottles of 10W30 motor oil on the shelf, they have 500 bottles of 10W30 on the shelves, reaching so high that you would need to find an employee with a 20-foot ladder if you wanted the top one. It’s pointless anyway … the ones on the top shelf have probably been there since 1995, since no employee is going to take the time to shuffle the bottles from top to bottom to ensure they stay ‘fresh’.
Of course, in a liquor store, this is not a problem. You just go up the ladder with stickers that say “Aged 30 Years” and stick them over the “Aged 20 Years” labels. And add $10 to the price.
And, remember, the LCBO is a provincial organization, so like the Province of Ontario, they try to bill everything as a tourist attraction: from Industrial Wind Turbines to “the relaxing butt massage you receive while driving on Highway 49.” It’s all in the marketing!

So you can expect this conversation at some home in Toronto this summer:
“Hey honey, why don’t we go down to the County to see their Industrial Wind Turbines this weekend, since we saw Chatham last week, and Bruce Peninsula the week before?”
“Great idea! Should we pack a six-pack?”
“Hell no! I’ve been dying to go to their new liquor store! We’ll set up the BBQ in the enormous parking lot and spend the day. Don’t forget to bring the selfie camera!”
So this could be a good thing. At least we won’t have the traffic and parking jam-ups at the Main Street temp location, or the endless stream of customers desperately trying to back out on Lake Street like the old liquor store.

If you’re still not convinced, think of it this way: It’s like buying booze in the future! Who wouldn’t love that?!

Another Word on Wind
What a wild and crazy ride this has been! I’ve written so much, I’ll throw in a short observation … and it’s not even mine.
I was listening to an Eagles album, and the words of the song The Last Resort struck me as appropriate. I think Don Henley and Glenn Frey express my feelings nicely, though their song was about the transformation of the California coast:
Rich men came and raped the land, Nobody caught ‘em
Put up a bunch of ugly boxes, and Jesus people bought ‘em.
They called it Paradise, I don’t know why.
You call some place Paradise, kiss it goodbye.

The Downside of Sex Changes
On a totally different note, I have a problem with the reality TV show I Am Cait. I know I always condemn people who censor movies, TV shows and books they have never seen or read. That’s just ignorance. But I’ve seen the commercial 10,000 times, and I don’t think I could bear to watch the show.
It’s not that I have a problem with men who want to be women, or women who want to be men, or writers who want to be reincarnated as stud horses, it’s just that it hurts to see anyone so used by TV producers to generate big bucks.
Cait, of course, is the new, improved female version of former athlete/celebrity Bruce Jenner. In the commercials, someone remarks that “you are a leader” in the transgender community. But I don’t see it that way.
I see Hollywood, as it were, parading a human being – and a troubled one at that – like a circus sideshow freak. When I see his/her adoring entourage, I look ahead and ask: What happens when the star falls? When you’re no longer the Celebrity of the Day. When no-one knows or cares who you are. When you’re just … ordinary.
I suspect he/she will follow the path of many child stars like Gary Coleman and McKenzie Phillips who find they are no longer cute or marketable … depression, drug abuse and suicide attempts. And that’s what troubles me.
It’s even odd that I feel sorry for someone who is rich and famous, and who hangs out with the rich, beautiful and glamourous divas, who seem to have no discernible talent, other than being rich and glamourous.
I believe everyone has a right to do what they want with their life, as long as it does not hurt others. But I learned long ago not to start believing your own press.
When people rave about you, your ego grows, and you find yourself thinking “Wow, I really am talented and creative!” But just remember when your kid showed you a drawing of ‘Mom’ that looked like a cow with one leg, one eye and purple hair and you told them they were ‘amazingly creative and talented’. Sometimes it’s like that.
The hunger for money, fame and self-adoration has destroyed rock stars, sports heroes and actors who convince themselves they are so special they are above everyone and everything, even the law. They are superstars!
And then they aren’t.

Filed Under: News from Everywhere ElseSteve Campbell

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  1. Chuck says:

    And the transfers from tax if privatized plus the operational cost savings? Let’s have the other side of costing.

  2. Michael says:

    Two decades ago, LCBO’s dividend transfer to the Ontario government was $630 million. In the fiscal year 2013–14, LCBO transferred a new, record dividend of $1.74 billion. That transfer marked the twentieth consecutive dividend increase to the province. Adding up each dividend transfer over this 20-year period equals a total of $22.5 billion. These revenues help pay for important public services, that benefit all Ontario residents.

  3. Michael says:

    Thirsty Ontarians pushed wine, spirits and beer sales in 2012-13 to $4.892 billion, an increase of 3.9 per cent or $182 million over 2011-12. And as a result the government-owned agency is pumping $1.711 billion into provincial coffers.

  4. Chuck says:

    The taxpayer would be farther ahead if it was privatized. No real estate but gain on sale of it, no employees to provide pay, benefits and pensions to. And we still get to receive the tax on sales in the coffers the same as now. It’s a no brainer.

  5. Dennis Fox says:

    The LCBO is a huge money-maker for the taxpayers of Ontario – why would we want to sell it? Privatizing does nothing but put money into private pockets – not a long term solution for the financial woes of Ontario. Cutting back on the hours of taxpayers and long term employees only makes the problem worse. Maintaining your workforce and training the young and teaching them the responsibility of having a job is a long term plan for the future of our province. This same old – I’m a taxpayer and privatize the world because it saves me a dime, is the root of the problem we have now – and is very selfish and short sighted.

  6. Chuck says:

    These are indirectly taxpayer jobs. The public would expect a province with a 300 billion debt load to manage jobs as efficiently as possible within the existing contracts. As far as I am concerned the LCBO should be privatized and there would be no jobs on the public dime.

  7. Dennis Fox says:

    Chuck – I think you have been out of the work force for too long and forget that your bills don’t stop coming because your hours have been cut. The people working at the LCBO are husbands and wives with families – not summer students. There was a time(not that long ago) when companies/government would hire students because it was good policy and management to train the young – now as you claim, it is a way of finding cheap labour and to heck with the fall-out. And some call this good management – hmmm sounds more like putting profits ahead of social responsibility and taking advantage of your permanent staff to cover your the mistakes.

  8. Chuck says:

    Come on Dennis be straight. The same or more $$ are going to the local economy, just to more people. If you owned it as an independent you would not hire full time staff for peak times and have to pay them when you don’t require them 6 months thru fall and winter. It is good management.

  9. Dennis Fox says:

    This has nothing to do with the manager at the store – so lets be clear about this. It has everything to do with poor management at the provincial/head office level. It is not good management to build an expensive oversized store that by your comments was built for basically seasonal people because our year round people won’t shop as often (I’m not sure if that is true) – then to reduce the hours of your permanent part time or full time people, hire a number of minimum paid hourly seasonal workers and then call it good management. There is no reason for anyone to have their hours/pay cut – this does not help our local economy at all.

  10. Chuck says:

    There isn’t an easy answer to this. If the County had the population all year around that it has in the summer as a Manager you would hire full time staff. Given our peaks and lows good management is utilizing part-time and casual staff. That’s good management of the Corporation and good for the taxpayer. It happens all over the corporate world.

  11. Dennis Fox says:

    I know that this issue is a bit dated – but it is the only article close to addressing what I think this community needs to know about the LCBO and how they are treating their employees….
    I was in there today and asked one of their long time employees how the new store was working out? The response – the building is great, but everyone’s hours have been cut! Employees now are working 4 hours a day – 7 days a week! The reason is that they have hired a lot of new seasonal workers and a few more part-timers – but the total amount spent on staffing this store has not increased much at all. The comment that this place will be a zoo and look like hell by the time summer arrives has stuck in my mind. So despite the fancy new building, with very limited parking – the province has done it to us again – they will collect the big bucks, leaving local working men and women to pay for their new digs.

  12. Dennis Fox says:

    Gary – You are right, the Legion is a yellow brick structure. However, it was originally a house, with great design and fits perfectly into the neighbourhood. While I am not opposed to the new LCBO – I don’t think that it has done much for improving the downtown and its box design looks pretty boring to me – not to forget the 9 or so LCBO signs on the exterior! Ever count the number of parking spaces next to the store? I hate to think of what it is going to be like during the tourist season. But perhaps everything will be fine – let’s hope so! (Pssst – I still think the yellow brick makes it look like a mall building!)

  13. Gary says:

    The historic Royal Canadian Legion is yellow brick.

  14. Dennis Fox says:

    Well so much for Steve’s article. Everyone has an opinion on the new LCBO store, but not a word written about his other two topics – wind and sex changes. Give me a good discussion on a new liquor store and I’ll be there too – wind and sex changes are just sooo boring – and possibly painful too! So for my two cents worth on the store – I haven’t been inside yet, so I can’t comment. However; the store looks just only OK for me – I would have preferred and bit smaller store to match the area and done in a well designed red brick finish – to give it a more “downtown” look – yellow brick always has a plaza/mall feel to it. Also I think a nice large wall mounted clock on the front of the building would have given it a much more grounded appeal and an appearance of permanence. So there’s my two cents worth!

  15. Marnie says:

    It’s all in your point of view Mark. That store does not even give heritage a nod.

  16. Mark says:

    You ask Belleville, Napanee, Kingston, Trenton if they wished they could have had a store like this and they are saying why not us! They got a modern day box store. We lucked out and got a store that respsects heritage and streetscape. The improvement on that old barren corner is astounding.

  17. Paul Cole says:

    With your obvious brilliance Mark Rose you seem to have the answer to everything maybe you could have set everyone straight on all situations here in The County…

  18. Chuck says:

    It is compatible with the streetscape. It is set up to the sidewalk like the original Main St buildings. Parking at the rear which is line with them. Brick and the signage does have distinct similarities to that of the Royal. The glass front is unique and is becoming.

  19. Marnie says:

    The Royal was (and soon will be) something to see and probably at the time when it was built Main Street was considerably wider. The out-size LCBO with it plethora of signs can’t compete. All they need is a gigantic revolving booze bottle on the roof in case no one has guessed what is sold inside. If your vision for Picton Susan is a streetscape dotted with such buildings you might consider spectacles.

  20. Emily says:

    Too funny Susan. And the enormous Royal signage on the front must have been just over the top! So our LCBO has also brought back heritage signage. They are to be complimented for those efforts.

  21. Susan says:

    If you haven’t been up Main St in the last 80 years there is a Hotel called the Royal. Sits right upon the sidewalk with no setback. That’s probably because that’s how Main Streets were built back then. Monstrous heritage building whose height would put the new LCBO to shame.

  22. Marnie says:

    Based on some of the comments here we could have formed an entire committee to help them.

  23. Marg says:

    Just dropped in to the new LCBO. Very impressed. Bright and open. Had no problems getting in and out of the parking lot despite the fact that there was a truck making a delivery. There is more parking than there was with the old store, and no longer will people be backing out into traffic on Lake Street.

    They even had my hubby’s favourite Irish whisky which up till now was difficult to find except by going onto the LCBO website and searching for which stores carried it.

    I am still a little worried about how traffic will be once tourist season hits, but let’s wait to see how it goes.

  24. Mark Rose says:

    Its a shame they didn’t personally consult with you when drawing up their business plans, I’m sure they could have used your help.

  25. Susan says:

    Beating a dead horse. It is there in all it’s grandeur.

  26. Marnie says:

    A smaller store could have been equally modern and in step with the times. The behemoth that was built is overdone. Let’s hope it does not represent the way our town will look in the future for it has no character, just formidable size. Bigger was not better.

  27. Paul Cole says:

    So that makes good business sense to you Mark Rose ? invest with one and open the market with the other.. Possibly I could agree with your statement had the LCBO made the Picton store smaller considering sales at grocery stores will certainly take away from the new store.

  28. Susan says:

    We are all really interested in the so, so hot Caitlan. Keep us up to date Judy.

  29. judy kennedy says:

    left out -over 40— not someone who is particularly vulnerable

  30. judy kennedy says:

    you’re worrying about Caitlin Jenner?! A person in their sixties who has lived an extremely public life for over years? really?

  31. Mark Rose says:

    Because they’re adapting to a changing market and most of the rest of the modernized world is already doing it?

  32. Paul Cole says:

    It seems very odd for the Ontario Government to be building such a big liquor store while at the same time opening the market to Grocery stores to sell wine and beer.. Hmmm

  33. Gary says:

    If this is an alien invasion into Picton, I hope they continue to visit us!

  34. Susan says:

    I think the large beer cooler room will be a big hit. Nice to have a shopping experience for new craft beers from Ontario. The Beer Store is an antiquated place without shopping choices.

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