It’s not really all that surprising, considering that the place looked like it was straight out of Cold War-era Russia, but COME ON! It was so convenient! In the past year, the gods/goddesses have taken away the Pronto and the liquor store. What’s next? Our lives, liberties and collective pursuits of happiness? Spring Fling? In the meantime, you’ll have to trek out to 19th and Chestnut or 24th and South to get your booze fix.
We all recall, that fateful day
When FroGro rose in stock.
“We’ve found a means, for all who come–
to buy wine as they shop!”
The students flocked, they huffed and puffed
For Pinot, Riesling, Chardonnay.
But now, we tell the sorry tale
Dear Pronto no longer can stay.
The convenience disrupted, our heart strings yanked,
No machine rivals near it.
Looks like we’ll once more make the trek
To Market Street Wines & Spirits.
Wine kiosks across the state of Pennsylvania will be shut down as a result of “monetary disputes.” Read the full Daily Pennsylvanian article here.
Was it Nietszche who said, “The Pronto is dead! The Pronto remains dead! And we have killed it!”? Cue the sad music, because it seems that we have something of a tragedy on our hands: Yes, The Pronto (two words, capital-T, capital-P) is not long for this world. Grub Street Philly reports that this “painfully embarrassing experiment” (Such harsh words!) owes the state $1 million. Now, we’re no economic wizards or anything, but with the debt ceiling being raised and all, why can’t the state just add that to The Pronto’s tab or something?
The Pronto, we’ve had some good times together. From the first time you breathalyzed us to the time you had our fakes as an afternoon snack, we’ve been through it all. You’ll be in our hearts forever, or until we find a more convenient way to get drunk off cheap wine (whichever comes first). But who will fill the The Pronto-sized void you’ll leave in FroGro and our hearts?
Finally! After days, nay, WEEKS, of machine vended wine deprivation, it looks like the Pronto could be on its way to getting back in action. Look at the fully replenished shelves! Our photographer made sure to point out that the machine’s numerous LCD screens were displaying hours of operation. Since the photo was taken last night (when it wouldn’t have been up and running anyway), we’re not sure if the Pronto has been fully restored yet. If you stop by FroGro at some point today, keep us posted on the Pronto’s status at firstname.lastname@example.org. Update: It appears that the Pronto is back in action. A tipster informed us that she witnessed a customer blowing into the machine’s breathalyzer, and that’s all the evidence we need. To the Pronto!
Great news! The PA government’s monopoly on Wine and Spirits shoppes could be on its last legs. The New York Times reports that the good people who brought you the Fresh Grocer wine vending machine (otherwise known as the Pronto) are eager to privatize the complicated, “Soviet-style” system and start selling off state-owned stores in a much needed money grab. Since the state is facing a fairly enormous deficit (like, $4 billion enormous), these sales could be just the cash cow they need to balance the books. Ah, Liquor Control Board – you always manage to find creative solutions to silly booze-related problems! A side note: the author of the NYT article had a damn field day writing this piece:
“Like prisoners in the gulag, consumers here can only fantasize about buying their wine and liquor in a competitive free market.”
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how The New York Times sees most fit to describe what it’s like to try buying alcohol in Pennsylvania – we don’t entirely disagree.
The Pronto, otherwise known as the weird, incongruous wine vending machine in Fresh Grocer, is no more – for now, at least. According to Grub Street, all wine kiosks across the state have been shut down because of bugs in the system that “cause them to dispense the wrong bottles of wine, or in some cases, no wine at all.” Drat.
The problem is expected to be rectified by “early” next year, but given the amount of time it took for this thing to show up in the first place, we don’t think that’s particularly promising. This could potentially wreak havoc on the first few BYOs of the semester, but since the 46-step process of getting wine from the damn thing takes longer than it does to walk to 41st and Market, there’s no real net loss. Here’s hoping it’s fixed anyway by the time we get back, because we really like saying that we’re “just gonna pick up some Sutter Home at the Pronto.”