Tag Archives: Business

Let them be jerks! Deregulating the Heinous.

Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)
Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)

Imagine you’ve just left your local mom and pop hardware store and mom or pop treated you like an idiot because you didn’t know the difference between a ball peen versus a claw hammer. It happens all the time, right? We get bad service everywhere these days, and that’s part of life. How do we react to it? We don’t frequent that store again unless we absolutely have to.

Dick's Last Resort. The only restaurant famous for being rude. It's their thing.
Dick’s Last Resort. The only restaurant famous for being rude. It’s their thing.

So what actually transpires in this example? You have, in effect, fired that particular store. They work for you for a fee to make a living, and you’ve decided that you no longer wish them to do so. We often consider the firing of an employee a bad or immoral act if the person has committed no crime, but is this hypocrisy? Many of the same people who make such criticisms are the same people who lambaste a company for bad service, vowing never to return, to their friends.

So I want to go out on a bit of a blue-sky limb here with a unique proposal. There should be no regulations in the marketplace unless they fall under two basic parameters:

  • Laws that protect a corporation from violating a persons rights: These would be regulations against practices like dumping toxic waste; stealing intellectual property, patents, etc.; or laws preventing practices that risk the lives of patrons and employees alike not disclosed at the outset. For instance, people who change light bulbs on radio towers or people taking sky-diving lessons are certainly at risk, but they knew that before they agreed to do business together, not afterwards.
  • Laws that preserve competitive capitalism. Regulations such as anti-collusion and antitrust laws that ensure the marketplace remains competitive.

At first, this seems innocent enough, but when I outline what this potentially entails, you may think senility has overcome me. However, hear me out before you dismiss this off the cuff.

Laws that prevent discrimination, harassment, or any other behaviors commonly considered immoral may seem like the right thing to do, but as with any such laws they have unintended consequences.

One issue is that they mask a business owner’s true character, which may be one that you might avoid if they were allowed to be themselves. In doing so, we are affording a person you wouldn’t dream of doing business with greater success than they would get otherwise.

One look at the train wreck known as Amy’s Baking Company and their ensuing media meltdown after Gordon Ramsay had to walk away for the first time in the 100-episode history of Kitchen Nightmares is all it takes to see what free press, word of mouth, and social media can do to right a wronged marketplace of bottom feeders like this couple, and it’s happening without government intervention.

Imagine the New Black Panthers wanted to open up a “African-American Only” restaurant. Obviously I would not be allowed in, but would I want to? Even if the food is great, if the owners and customers are vehemently racist and really don’t like white people, then so be it. I think it’s morally wrong, but the government’s duty isn’t to legislate morality, it’s there to protect my rights—period. I’ll take my business elsewhere just like anyone else who would find this practice offensive.

Just as I never liked Augusta National‘s outdated racist/sexist policies of old, I never felt it was anyone’s right to dictate to them otherwise at the point of a gun, which is ultimately what government regulations are if taken to their ultimate conclusion.

But look what happened with Augusta. The press and people chastised them for being this way, and they eventually got sick of being hated by those of us who actually have a moral compass, and softened their stance accordingly. But to this day, and I know to some this is sacrilege, but if offered a once-in-a-lifetime chance of playing Augusta or TPC Sawgrass Stadium Course, I choose the latter without batting an eye—I doubt Augusta cares though. Freedom dictates Augusta and Sawgrass both be allowed to exist as they wish and fight for market share without government getting involved.

TPC Sawgrass 17th Hole
TPC Sawgrass 17th Hole

Going back to Amy’s Baking Company, it was revealed during the show that the owner was not paying his servers the tips they had earned. He was pocketing it himself because he said he was doing much of the work, which was clearly debatable. To Gordon Ramsay’s credit, he announced this to the restaurant, and patrons were none too pleased. At this point, I have little doubt that many of them, as well as the employees and potential future employees and patrons, will never return to this little fascist bistro.

But what if there were laws preventing this? (Actually, I suspect that maybe there are and they just aren’t complying)

Why let the government hide an entrepreneur’s true nature just because it feels right? I want to know what kind of person I’m doing business with, and these morality laws hide that; making me an uninformed consumer in the process. If that business owner hates me because of my race, sex, or religious philosophy, I don’t want to do business with them. So I want them  free to show me who they really are so that I may choose to stay or go.

People often lose sight of what a business is—an investment property owned by an entrepreneur. Just as you wouldn’t want the government prohibiting you from enjoying a stogie in your car, the government shouldn’t be dictating whether the owner of a business can allow people to smoke there. If it were a restaurant and you liked the food, but not the smoke, you can carry out, eat outside, or find another restaurant. You can also suggest to the owner that you may not patron their establishment so long as they allow people to smoke, and let them decide how they wish to proceed. But you, and by virtue of the phrase, “We The People,” the government, have no right dictating to a business owner how they should run their business.US Constitution

So when it comes to business, let them be the jerks that they are, then let the market sort it out accordingly.

 

Villainy is in the eye of the beholder: The myth of the heartless capitalist

Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)
Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)

If I am to believe the leftist view of us conservatives, we are clearly the most heartless bastards that ever walked the face of the Earth. I know in my heart who I am; I love my family, friends, and mankind as much as the next person. I’ve done my share of selfless acts, solely for the rewards of virtue—I am not an evil man. So I refuse to believe that I am the second coming of Satan because I’m a free-market capitalist.

Mitt Romney
Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney was vilified for saying, “I like to fire people,” but as is all too common, the context was usually missing from quotations of that speech. Only a stone-cold psychopath derives enjoyment from firing people. Romney’s charitable work rules that out if we apply logical evidence-based thought.

Often when people get fired, they have a hard time looking outside themselves at the situations surrounding the termination. I think most people have experienced coworkers whom they felt should be fired. Yet ask anyone who was fired if they feel it was justified, they will almost universally say no. Clearly, there’s a divide between how we perceive ourselves versus how we are perceived by others. We have a hard time accepting criticism, even in the face of overwhelming evidence to support it.

I could agree that it would be heartless to fire someone if we assume that person is incapable of ever finding another job, but we know that is completely untrue. Just as the saying goes that time heals all wounds, you’ll find that more often than not, these “professional divorces” worked out well for both parties in time. The company usually finds a more suitable employee, and the former employee often finds a more rewarding job as well.

Rarely is there a case where an employer and an employee are professional soul mates, and for no good reason, the employer decides to make a change for farts and giggles. Most people who get fired earned it through a lack of effort, poor attitude, sub-par performance, or immoral behavior. The proverbial model employee who gets fired at the whim of a heartless business executive is usually just the musings of Hollywood fiction writers and politicians with a statist agenda.

First and foremost, businesses exist purely as a source of income for the founder; a person who didn’t want to work for someone else, so they went into business for themselves. To believe business owners decided to start a corporation just so they could provide another random person some place to work is a rather silly notion. If they could get by without employees, they would and should.

From there, businesses succeed because they put the right people in the right positions to best grow their corporation. I know that the maintenance guy works his bedonkadonk off; he’s an honorable man. But let’s not make the fantastic assumption that he could step into the role of CEO and double the company profits with his notions of giving everyone a $5 an hour raise and spending $20,000 on a new floor polisher.

It’s not in a corporation’s best interest to fire the worker generating the greatest return on their investment. There are supreme idiots at the management level who make really poor decisions like that, but it’s certainly not the norm, or companies across the nation would be failing ad nauseam.

Stock Market DropA purely scientific and mathematical approach to employees is to understand that for a corporation, employees are simply an investment. A company spends money on a worker in hopes that worker generates more income than they take away. So think of employees as stocks and CEO’s as investors. Success depends on their ability to pick winners and sell off the losers.

Let’s assume for a minute that CEO’s adhered to the ideas of the left. Imagine a one-person company that does home restorations. They start getting good word of mouth advertising, orders pile up, and so they have to hire someone to help. That person arrives eager to work, but after the first day, he’s nailed his hand to the wall, painted a door shut, accidentally drilled through the plumbing causing a leak, and severed some wiring which blew out the circuit breaker panel. The employer has two options: fire him and hope the next hiree is better, or keep him and hope the business survives and he doesn’t accidentally kill everyone. I know that’s an exaggerated example, but the underlying truth is still the same that some employees are simply a liability, not an asset.

According to the anti-capitalist zealots, firing him is heartless and cruel. But from my perspective, him asking an employer to continue paying him even though he’s a huge loss and liability is heartless and cruel. But one should not hold their breath for a bad employee to emulate a disgraced samurai and fire themself in an act of corporate hari-kari; that requires honor unheard of these days.

So what about Mitt Romney? Venture capitalists (VCs) like him find dying companies and buy them for pennies on the dollar in hopes of righting the ship and selling them for dollars on the dollar. If they didn’t fire people, cut dead weight, and try to make better investments, everyone in that organization would lose their jobs. If the VC’s succeed however, they return a company to health, and everyone but those who were fired is saved. It may not be ideal for everyone, but it’s better than the alternative.

Coronary artery bypass surgery
Coronary artery bypass surgery

Think of venture capitalists as surgeons. To the uninformed who walked in on a surgery, it would appear the surgeon was a heartless murderer cutting someone to bits. But if they know the whole story, they understand that while plunging a scalpel into someone’s chest is usually a bad thing and that the patient will surely be weakened and sore for a while, the these painful and dangerous procedures save lives.

In these instances, firing 20% of the staff that are under-performing saves the other 80% from being dragged down with them. What the anti-capitalists call heartless, I call a painful, but life saving procedure. As the left attempt to decry successful capitalists, clear thinking Americans should understand that everyone who has a stable job can thank a successful capitalist.