Mandeville, LA – Exclusive Transcript
Begin Mike Church Show Transcript
Mike: This particular post here by Jeffrey Tucker just strikes a nerve with myself and I’m sure with many of you because Tucker puts into words something that we have tried to put into words here and have been unsuccessful in doing so, I think. But now that I have this one I’m going to keep it at the ready.
People can be downright nasty to store clerks in stores. It is their right: A feature of the market is that you don’t have to trade with anyone in particular. And yet it still troubles me when people are so dismissive of attempts at entrepreneurship. Why not refrain from buying and just walk away? Why hurl invective or behave in a rude way?
Ladies and gentlemen, can I tell you that I have dealt with this exact scenario, in this exact what Mr. Tucker is writing about? Ive dealt with it. People that are here in our employ have. And the thing that we usually get are, Why, you rotten businessman, you don’t know what you’re doing. Why, if you knew what you were doing, you’d have a real business. Who told you you could sell DVDs, hmm? Who told you you were good at making and selling T-shirts? And Ive often lamented this, that just because that’s the way I am. You ever go out to dinner with someone that just has to complain? They’re just all they’re always upset. There’s always something wrong. And they have to let the people that are waiting on the table or whoever, they’ve got to let them know about it? Well, it happens in retail, too. Back to Jeffrey Tucker:
In the sports store the other day, I heard customers muttering that this glove is too expensive, this tennis racket is too tightly strung, this shoe is too gaudy, this exercise equipment is not all it says, and that the store should carry this brand of ball, not that one. Most people are happy, else the place could not be in business; but other people (again, rightly) just assume that it is their right to dislike … cut down, put down, and generally dismiss any merchant with a wave of their hand.
Compare to the scene at airport security. This same class of citizen marches in lockstep, permits himself or herself to be subjected to invasive searches, holds the tongue even when subjected to barking orders from the TSA, and even allows property to be confiscated from personal bags. No one dares utter a word of protest or even complaint for fear of landing in the slammer. The goal is just to get to the other side of the government barrier, where the mini utopia of airport commerce awaits to serve us in a real way and that hamburger and beer had better be served up immediately, else we will demand our rights. Boy, how true is that? Nobody complains at the TSA. Oh, yes, I’m sorry, Ill take my shoes off [sobbing]. Go to the Gordon Biersch Brewery on the other side, though, and if the garlic fries aren’t the right temperature, somebody’s bitching about it.
We are masters of the universe, writes Tucker, as customers and as compliant as lambs when acting as citizens. And perhaps that’s easy to understand. The government has a gun pointing at our heads. The merchant is trying to persuade us to part with our money in exchange for goods and services. One wont take no for an answer; the other sees no as just part of daily life.
Still, we should be more conscious of the difference, and appreciate what it means. The class of people who have chosen the path of persuasion over coercion are deserving of our gratitude even when we don’t buy from them. The merchant class is that which makes everything possible in our lives: our homes, our food, our medical care, our clothing, our air conditioning, our computers, our music listening absolutely everything that makes daily life tolerable and joyful.
We are too often tempted to think that the gas station, the drug store, the restaurant, the fast-food franchise, and the mommy-owned cupcake bakery are just a given part of the structure of our world. They are not. The decision to open a business is absolutely wrenching because the risk of failure is so high. The future is unknown in either a macroeconomic sense … or a micro-economic sense…. Often it involves cashing out retirement savings or being in hock to the banks. No matter what the business plan, it is scary.
And its not only about money. You end up buying lots of capital equipment that is not easily converted to other uses or sold at anywhere near the price you bought it at. Custom chairs, tables, signs, and other decorations are all a pure waste if the business doesn’t work. Then there is the issue of people. You have to hire employees, and they must get paid long before the point of profitability arrives if it ever does. You are suddenly responsible for them.
You call yourself boss, but you know the truth. You are responsible, but not really the boss. The bosses are the consumers whose fickle ways can make or break your new livelihood. You are completely at their mercy. And then he talks about marketing, and then he talks about competition:
Then there’s the competition. Anyone is free to copy and replicate your successes. The more you succeed, the more you inspire imitators who are pleased to do exactly what you do but somehow manage to do it at a lower price. This means that you must constantly stay on your toes and innovate. At the same time, you have to constantly watch your back. A bad day of sales could mean nothing or it could mean everything. It could be a bump on the road to glory or the foreshadowing of disaster. There’s no way to know for sure.
The forces of competition in a dynamic market…. I’m reading Jeffrey Tucker from yesterdays Mises.org blog. Its a great piece about why are lunatics like Mike Church and other people, why are they out there in business? Well, they’re trying to persuade people to part with their dollars, and they’re offering a good or a service in exchange. And yet the point Tucker is making, that when the government tries, they do the same thing, they force you to do it. They coerce you to do it. And yet people aren’t dismissive of the government. They aren’t angry to them. They don’t complain directly to them. Oh, but the merchant class, we get bludgeoned all the time with angry people. I want to buy stuff, and I want it now.
Why does anyone do it? he writes. Why does anyone become a merchant and an entrepreneur? The usual rap is that people are in it for the money. But there is no bucket of money to grab. The money may or may not be there. And when it is there, it usually ends up being poured back into the business itself in order to stay on top. Boy, isn’t that the truth. So why do people do it? It has to do with the dream of success, the hope of making a difference, the living out of a vocation, the fulfillment of an ambition to serve and make a difference. This is what drives the entrepreneur.
And how do we repay them? writes Mr. Tucker. We snarl and sneer, refuse to buy, criticize at the slightest misstep, and otherwise refuse to give them credit for anything at all. We call them greedy and dismiss their pleas to buy as craven marketing. Boy, you know, AG, how many pieces of hate mail have you fielded from me that I forward to you from people that are absolutely livid that I do live commercials? Remember the last one that we got? That’s a craven attempt at marketing. That’s right, we should never market and promote business. We should just promote all government, all the time. And that’s the point that Tuckers making here. And he is making it with a rapier pen. I mean, this thing is a this is a razor point pen.
We call them greedy and dismiss their pleas to buy as craven marketing. The state hectors these people with regulations, taxes, mandates, and impositions far greater than the rest of us experience, and yet people call for ever more. Clearly the merchant class is treated now as it was in the ancient world, as lowly and unfit. And yet here’s the truth: The merchant class is the class that brings us all the things we love the most. We depend on them, and they depend on us.
People living in the age of the Leviathan state often feel powerless to do anything about the state of the world. I would suggest that one way to fight against the takeover of society by the state and its minions is to show a greater appreciation of their opposite. We should show love to the merchant class. We should begin by intellectually appreciating what they do for us. We should go further to actually say to the merchants how highly we regard their vocation. Boy, I mangled that sentence. Let me try that one again. We should go further to actually say to the merchants how highly we regard their vocation.
Managing our affections is one way to fight back. Show love to the things and the people who are doing what is best for society and are providing a model for others to follow. The model and ideal of the kind of peaceful and prosperous society we want to live in might be as close as the convenience store right down the street.
End Mike Church Show Transcript