Driving along this AM when cut off by a three-lane-diving, cell-phone-talking, social-norms-balking truck emblazoned with Pinnacle Restore cuts us off. Dear Sir, Small Business Owner, Tucson Resident…please understand this: when you drive a GIGANTIC mobile billboard and your message is clearly “I care not for the well-being or safety of ANYONE, nor do I have ANY common courtesy for my fellow commuters,” please don’t be shocked when potential customers assume you just might treat them with the same approach.
Also kinda makes your tagline “We’re there when you need us” seem a bit, well, empty.
Your popcorn price is too high...so I'm taking you to court!
If you’ve not yet heard this tidbit, let’s review: a movie theater is facing a class action law suit for having snack prices too high for one patron’s liking.
Several authors and bloggers have taken a swipe at this already (see here for example) and behold the swarm of comments (300+ found here ), most of which take the view that the plaintiffs need remedial training in property rights, economics, and, well, decency. Don’t like the price, don’t pay the price, right? Really don’t like the price and think you can start your own theater and cater to like-minded movie-goers, then fire up your entrepreneur muscle and open your own theater, right? Well, maybe not.
Buried in the article are two little tidbits that give us a clue as to why this automatic high-price market safety valve isn’t happening as often as it should:
Tidbit #1: “Added Ian Lyngklip, a nationally known consumer lawyer in Southfield: “Movie theaters are regulated, so the lawsuit won’t go anywhere”“
What most people fail to realize is that regulation and litigation keep big businesses big and small business from EVER starting. It’s hard enough to raise capital for new projects as it is; add hundreds of thousands of dollars just to get started and guess what? No competition. Check out some of these factoids from NFIB and Small Businesses for Sensible Regulations:
U.S. businesses spend an average of $10,585 per employee to comply with federal regulations, and it’s worse if you’re a small business. Small businesses spend almost 36 percent more per employee on compliance, according to government statistics.
Small businesses pay 44 percent of total U.S. private payroll and create more than half of the nonfarm private gross domestic product (GDP). (Source:Small Business Administration)
Unless you’ve attempted to start a business in the last decade, you’ve likely not felt the pain and frustration. Onward….
Tidbit #2: “The suit seeks refunds for customers who were overcharged, a civil penalty against the theater chain and any other relief Judge Kathleen Macdonald might grant.”
When a judge or regulator decides what a price should be between consenting parties to the transaction, someone is going to lose and eventually that is reflected in future prices and product. This is not the case when people voluntarily make trades; each is always a “winner” or they wouldn’t make the trade (see here for a great explanation).
Long story short: if you like a robust job market, lower prices, better service, and greater innovation, PLEASE remember small business is where it starts. Regulate accordingly.