It doesn’t matter if they’re big stores or small ones, if their headquarters are in the U. S. or outside it, the effects of destroying stores and looting cannot be ignored.
You’d think that someone who’d taken a substantial amount of time to build up a business—to win customers, and work to satisfy them with his or her work—would come to understand basic economics. On a microeconomics level, that may well be the case. Unfortunately, the same doesn’t appear to be necessary when it comes to understanding things from a thirty thousand foot view.
As an excellent example of this, I was listening to one of the talking heads I make a regular practice of attending. He’s worked to create his own little media empire, and it’s starting to get to the point where maybe he doesn’t have to worry about where his next meal, or his mortgage, or his car payment is coming from.
Of course, I applaud his actions. I’m well aware that he’s spent countless hours “building his brand.” I’m very sure it hasn’t been a simple thing to get where he now finds himself. But, you know, if his building were to get burned down by rioters, and his equipment was stolen by looters, what’s it to me?
This attitude is one he conveyed in a recent video. That it’s fine to pilfer from and damage bigger retailers and other large businesses.
Sound appalling? It does to me as well. Totally aside from the fact that I consider his videos and podcasts to be a valuable resource for those looking to better understand their world, I also value his right to success and happiness. The same applies to mega-stores.
But surely it’s different for a national or international big box store? Not really. To begin with, just like any other successful business, there are countless hours taken out of untold numbers of lives that could’ve been spent in various kinds of leisure, but instead went into building up that business you might so flippantly write off.
But that’s just the beginning of the story. That you destroy an empire a person or a family, or even a group of associates (read here, “probably friends”) spent unimaginable resource building, is bad enough.
That store you burnt down or looted? It was the workplace of your cousin, or my uncle, or maybe just a good friend of yours.
That individual hated going to work every day, but at least he or she had a job. He or she may’ve been barely making a living, but when you torched their workplace, or stole the products that entity was selling, you potentially cost them their livelihood.
A business won’t open its doors if it’s damaged or has nothing to sell.
Here we come to my grandma or brother, who used to shop at that particular location. Since it’s no longer open, that won’t happen anymore. The people who used to frequent that convenient place to get essentials or desired products that’s no longer there, can’t do that anymore. Maybe it’ll come back, but who’s to blame the people who spent their hard earned dollars creating it if they decide against that happening?
More importantly, it cost money and countless other resources to put that facility and the things found inside, where it sat. What if the owner counts the expenses, and comes to the conclusion they just don’t have the needed resources to restore it to its former glory?
So it’s possible in “giving them their comeuppance,” you did more to harm those who counted on that grocery store, or appliance outlet, or whatever, than anyone.
You can bet the owners have been saving their money, so they could retire in comfort. What happens when they decide to just go ahead and call it a day, to say it’s time to stop dealing with the ongoing pressure of making that top spin? Maybe, just maybe someone else’ll come along to provide those same goods or services. Then again, maybe not.
So, who was hurt the worst? Was it the owners, or those counting on being able to shop locally and cheaply? Or was it the people who worked there, who now are unable to pay their bills.
The sad part is, it just gets worse.
For the most part, big box stores and supermarkets create none of the products sold. They may even buy and repackage products from local farmers and not-so-local manufacturers, but they don’t typically craft that which they sell.
Instead, they must pay for it, buy it from those who do cause it to come to be. Then there’re additional costs, stocking shelves, paying cashiers, janitorial services, water, electricity and so many more.
When people riot, burn, and pillage, all of that time and purchased resource is lost. And lest you think, “They can afford a little loss or damage.” Think again! To begin with, even for larger stores, they must remain competitive with the market. That applies to multinational corporations just as it does to mom and pop bodegas.
Granted, the larger entities can often eat the cost of loss or damage to products and buildings, but you’d have to be nuts to think they’re not going to pass as much of that as they can on to their customers. If it doesn’t happen immediately, it may show up in the steady rise in prices as time marches on.
If they can’t recoup their losses through increased prices, they’ll often settle for reducing employment, either by cutting hours, or jobs.
Or maybe instead, they’ll cut wages. It’s a myth that most entities pay their employees minimum wage—particularly as they become more valuable to them. When they lose money on an ongoing basis or as a result of catastrophe—man made or not—they have to find ways to make up that loss.
If you think you’re doing anybody a favor by rioting, looting and, destruction, you’re not just lying to yourself, you’re harming people about whom you claim to care in the process. To say nothing of others you’ve never even met, who might seek to be sympathetic to your plight, were it not for your untoward actions.
Thanks for reading, and may your time be good.