Wednesday, March 02, 2011

One word too many.

In an article on gas station pricing, one station owner was quoted as saying
"Consumers don't understand how the business works," he said.
He could have left out the "the" and just said that consumers don't know how business works.

Seriously, a shockingly large percentage of the population has no clue how the part of business that makes it worthwhile, the part where the money changes hands, operates.
"Asking liberals where wages and prices come from is like asking six-year-olds where babies come from." -- Dr. Thomas Sowell
Which is a fine and funny quote, except it ain't just liberals. Go to any gun forum and read any discussion on pricing of guns or ammunition at the retail or wholesale levels, the audacity of dealers who charge for transfers, or (my favorite) "That idiot behind the counter who didn't know nothin' about __________!"
Yeah, Enrico Fermi, like it's easy to find ex-SEALs who are not only active in Cowboy Action Shooting, but also lifetime members of the S&W Collector's Association, certified reloading instructors, and have associate's degrees in Gunsmithing who are willing to work for part-time retail clerk wages. Oh, they should pay their help better? And sell you the gun for what you saw it for in that CDNN ad in Shotgun News?

Pop Quiz: "Profits are..."
  1. "...the money in the till at the end of the day."
  2. "...the difference between the cost of the gun on the shelf and the one in the Shotgun News ad."
  3. "...what you have left of the difference between the cost of the gun on the shelf and the one in the Shotgun News ad after you've paid the rent and the utilities and the employees."
Sadly, I'm afraid that, to the average Joe, the "Profit = Gouging" meme has taken permanent root. (Of course, I guess it's always been there: For example, look how many religions have called charging interest a sin...)

33 comments:

Tango Juliet said...

What can I say? We're a nation increasingly made up of whiners... whiners who don't value an education.

og said...

"whiners who don't value an education."

Maybe not so much education as knowledge. A lot of remarkably well educated whiners out there.

It ought to be "basic training" for humans to work in retail for a while; it teaches you a lot of important stuff- like what type of service merits complaint, and what type of complaining is counterproductive, and what type of assholes the general public can be, and how not to be one of them.


I very rarely get bad service in a restaurant, or in a store, because I go out of my way to treat the staff the way I would have wished to be treated when I was doing that sort of work. A very little respect and patience is returned in spades, and understanding that the business won't be in business if it can't profit makes me more and more likely to do business with local businesses.

Anonymous said...

.... average Joe, the "Profit = Gouging"

The same Joe will go on and on about how he got a steal from some old lady/coworker/friend on some POS firarm while telling you the store wants too much for a quality pistol.

Gerry

Sevesteen said...

There was a proposal here to prevent gas station owners from raising prices until they had sold out of the gas they had bought at the lower price.

Of course, there was no requirement that when prices drop, consumers still had to buy from stations that hadn't sold out of the gas they paid more for.

Mike W. said...

"Sadly, I'm afraid that, to the average Joe, the "Profit = Gouging" meme has taken permanent root."

Quoted for truth. I've tried to explain this to many and they look at me like I'm crazy.

If cletus buys a bunch of .380 and prices it for sale at $30/box and a bunch of morons are willing to buy it at such a price it's not gouging.

If a seller sets a price and can sell at that price it is not gouging no matter how audacious some might consider that price to be. It's not like he's putting a gun to your head and forcing you to buy.

Anonymous said...

For people to understand how business works they would have to be educated.
People are not educated anymore, they are indoctrinated. The educational system truly does teach that profits are evil and the rich are villains. Business classes are the only place where profits are allowed, as long as they aren't too high.

Anonymous said...

A lefty barrista (is there any other kind?) once told me there is 50% profit on every cup of coffee sold. I asked him if that included the first cup a new coffee bar ever sold, to which he replied "huh".

JD

Joshkie said...

What do you mean it's not my right to demand from others that they set the price, of the things I want to buy, to what I want to spend? I believe that is in that "Fortune of Countries" book.

Josh

Warrior Knitter said...

I agree. Most customers think the difference between what the company buys the product for and what they sell it for goes right into the owners pocket. If that's the case why is the owner driving a 15 year old beater, and not taking monthly vacations and cruises to the tropics and Europe?

They don't think about the basics that have to come out of that obscene "profit" like paying for utilities, building rent or mortage, insurance, salaries, equipment upkeep or purchasing new equipment, etc.

Bubblehead Les. said...

Profit? In the Obamaconomy? Comrade, I think you might be one of those "Wreckers" that is trying to halt the inevitable March to the New Soviet Person. Just go along quietly with those FBIBATFEIEIOTSA Security Personnel and you'll soon be Re-Educated into the Proper Socialist Mindset, just like those Brave Revolutionaries manning the Barricades up in Wisconsin.

Joshkie said...

Warior Knight-

By definition profit is what left over after you take out what you spent on over head. But most good business men reinvest in expanding the business or into a new venture.

Me just being nitpicky,
Josh

Joshkie said...

Sorry Warior Knitter.

Joshkie = Fail

Joshkie said...

Lets try this one more time.

Sorry Warrior Knitter.

Joshkie = Super Fail.

og said...

Joshkie: it's the avatar that's screwing you up, I swear. You need an avatar of a giant fire breathing hellbeast, or something. The lawyer lookng guy with the receding hairline is just harshing your mellow. ;)

Joshkie said...

LoL

Thanks Og some time my brain farts, and I lose my ability to read or type words.

Josh

og said...

Oh, I type with two fingers, and they don't like each other. So I almost never actually KNOW what I'm typing. I can spell, and sometimes I'm even capable of acceptible grammer, but I'm damned if i can type worth a damn.

Old Grouch said...

...after you've paid the rent and the utilities and the employees...

Very good, but you left out the most important item: TAXES. Which you pay FIRST, or you go to jail and the gov't takes all your stuff.

Can't pay/don't pay the others, you just go bankrupt.

DirtCrashr said...

I've never-ever worked retail but I know enough to be nice to my waitress or to somebody who handles my food...

Anonymous said...

" And sell you the gun for what you saw it in that CDNN ad in Shotgun News?"

Heh ...
anonymous CDNN salesman :)

Anonymous said...

It's even worse among public employees (Q.V., Wisconsin, Indiana, DC, you name it).

Am I the only guy left in the gorram Civil Service who remembers that he's working for the taxpayers?!?
_____________

Mike Doyle

"My psychiatrist says it's because I'm an anarchist in the wrong job..." - Undersecretary for Spatial Affairs Henry Gladstone Kiku...

atlharp said...

This is what happens when people live without risk. When people "earn" their way without risking anything, when they get by in the safest of pursuits (ahem....government jobs) how else do they act? The older I get, the more I see how risk plays a role in the human element. There is something to be said about putting your ass on the line for something. The epitome of this is lying on the floor of the Capitol building in Wisconsin, stinkin' up the joint. Is it really that surprising from a bunch of people who expect someone else to wipe their asses for them?

Boris da Bastid said...

Bravo!

Don't ever lose the snark.

greg said...

To address the gas station industry in particular, my mother dated a guy who owned a gas station in the suburbs of Seattle.

He used to tell me(and I had no reason to doubt it) that he was lucky to break even on gas most months...all his profit came from the little mini-mart/snack stand that he had attached to gas station.

Anonymous said...

@Og

"I can spell, and sometimes I'm even capable of acceptible grammer..."

To funee.

Cond0010 said...

@Tam

"Seriously, a shockingly large percentage of the population has no clue how the part of business that makes it worthwhile, the part where the money changes hands, operates."

Not to mention a complete disconnect between the mind/body/spirit interface:

http://drvaleriegalante.files.wordpress.com/2009/12/maslows-hierarchy.gif

One wonders what alot of people do with all their spare thought time...

Nice quote from Thomas Sowell. I put it in my Quote Archive.


@Og

"very rarely get bad service in a restaurant, or in a store, because I go out of my way to treat the staff the way I would have wished to be treated when I was doing that sort of work."

Dad used to be extremely obnoxious with the restaurant help. The last time we went to a restaurant (went to buffets after that one) he was so bad I actually got up and apologized to them in their kitchen (got up and went to the 'bathroom') and gave a fat 50% tip. They were VERY courteous. They even offered to give me a free meal (before I had gone and apologized - and given the tip) which I politely declined (ermmm... 'special sauce', anyone?). :)

Skip said...

I pay my people $42h,
I charge $125h.
I net 3%.
One screw up, just one and the net goes to zero.

Matt G said...

The concept of "Gouging" should be foreign to a capitalistic economy.

But alas, we are moving away from capitalism. Somebody oughta do sumpin'. There oughta be a law!

Tam said...

MattG,

"But alas, we are moving away from capitalism. Somebody oughta do sumpin'. There oughta be a law!"

Heh. ;)

Anonymous said...

Tam; You have identified The Problem.

The solution is something else, but I say public education has a lot to do with it, as in; it has to be forced to change radically or go the way of the dodo bird. The latter being the ideal.

How does one get all the way through junior high school and not fully understand what you've had to explain to grown-ups? -- Lyle

staghounds said...

"Profits are..."

everything except the pushcart I started with in Brooklyn...

Ian Argent said...

It's probably a joke old enough to bitch about getting carded for the senior-citizen special, but here goes:

Four men were sitting in the hallway outside of court waiting for their case to come up. A passer-by asked them why they were there. The first one said, "I'm a gas station owner, charged with undercutting the market because my gas was too cheap." The second one says, "I'm a gas station owner, charged with price-gouging, because my gas was too expensive." The third and fourth guys explain, "We're gas station owners, charged with price collusion because our gas was priced the same."

Dr. StrangeGun said...

"Am I the only guy left in the gorram Civil Service who remembers that he's working for the taxpayers?!?"

Nope. I'm a subcontractor working in an office building full of conscientious public employees. Makes me proud sometimes... though sometimes aggravating. I recently got an 'upgrade' to one of my PCs that consisted of replacing a 10 year old PC with a 5 year old one fitted with extra RAM, a new hard drive, and Win7. Then there's the microwave in the break room that's old enough to drink... but it works fine, as do most things.

The place squeezes buffalo nickels until they get chips... and not only do I respect it, I kind of like it. Gives me some technical challenges to solve :)

Joshkie said...

Dr. StrangeGun -

Question: Is the taxes & fees so low that they are forced penny-pinch? If the taxes & fees are high, where's the money going? Pension & healthcare benefits or graft maybe?
I'm hoping your right and it is because they are trying to be good stewards of the public trust.

Josh