Entitlements In the Neighborhood

So I’m surfing through the neighborhood social media, and yet another thread is filling up about a locally owned bar/restaurant that has failed shortly after opening.

It saddened me for a number of reasons. I have been a small business owner, and I know the financial risk and hard work that a family takes on when opening a new venture, and how heartbreaking it must be to fail. This club was one that employed local musicians, which also hits home with me. A small business closure impacts many people – employees, vendors, neighbors and customers.

The bar/restaurant business is a tough gig. If the owner (or an extraordinary manager) is not on the premises at all times, profit seems to bleed out of the windows and doors. Bartenders “take care” of their friends, or pocket cash before it gets to the till. Finding and training good servers and cooks takes a lot of time and effort. The bad ones either don’t show up or kill your business when they do, and too often the good ones are lured away by a competitor for a few more bucks.

Stick with me, I’ll get to the entitlement part in a minute.

Some business owners shouldn’t be. While they may have a great talent and passion for a particular product or service, if they don’t understand the important basics of business – accounting, cash flow, managing employees, marketing and market differentiation, inventory control – they are unlikely to survive. Making the best cheesesteak sandwich in the world is one thing; making a profit is another.

Every day in the neighborhood social media, which is a pretty good indicator of the attitudes of the proletariat, I see a lot of whining about businesses, especially restaurants. “Why doesn’t somebody open a [insert name] restaurant here?” “I went to the new local bar but I didn’t like their nachos.” “The new sushi place is too expensive.” “I have to drive to the city to get a gourmet dinner.” Many of the folks in my neighborhood seem to think life owes them a world-class restaurant, on the corner of their block, that charges McDonald’s prices, pays its employees $50 an hour, and contributes to their favorite local charity.

The ability for customers to review businesses online is empowering. And dangerous. It feeds the expanding sense of entitlement that we see every day, fueled by the “free everything” political platform of the Democrats.

It’s getting harder every day to operate a small business. It’s do-able, but not for the faint-of-heart or one lacking serious business chops. Because of social media, all it takes is a couple of one-time correctable flubs, a dishonest customer or competitor, or a disgruntled employee to do serious damage to a business. Add to that high taxes and insensitive government decisions such as lengthy street closings for repairs and arbitrary zoning decisions. As a result, locally-owned businesses disappear as we see signs for the same national brands popping up in every neighborhood.

All we Americans are entitled to is life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Despite the empty promises of Democrats, we are not entitled to total happiness and security. We are not entitled to free health care, free college, forgiveness of debt or guaranteed wages.

Supply and demand works. Many of my neighbors are all about demand, and never stop to consider how supply happens.

Stop whining, people.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

You made me promises promises
Knowing I’d believe
Promises promises
You knew you’d never keep

Promises Promises – Naked Eyes

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