Sunday, December 30, 2018

Free market means individual choice

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for November 28, 2018)

I love the free market. The market, liberated from government rules, subject only to the choices of individuals.

One of my choices is to not shop on major holidays. If I knew for certain the store let employees volunteer to work on the holiday it would be different. As it stands, no sales or discounts can entice me to shop on Thanksgiving or Christmas when I know the employees were probably coerced into working instead of spending the holiday with their families.

I'm also not willing to fight crazed crowds for "deals". It's not an experience I enjoy.

That's my choice; yours might be different.

I would oppose laws making it illegal for stores to open on major holidays, just as I oppose laws which make Sunday alcohol sales illegal. Those laws are arbitrary and silly. I am responsible enough to make my own choices of what to buy and when to shop. I don't need a babysitter holding a gun on shop owners to make certain they do what the babysitter believes is right.

I'm not boycotting anyone. It's not a crusade. I'll go to those stores on other days. I won't ask anyone to join me. It's just me, as an individual, making a personal choice. My meager spending won't be missed, but I feel better not encouraging businesses to use their employees in ways I don't like.

I care about people; that's why I'm libertarian. I believe all human interactions should be voluntary. If a business (or any other institution) can't survive through voluntary association, I believe it should die. Customers and employees are equally important.

There would be employees who would choose to go to work rather than spend the day alone, or with family they want an excuse to avoid. It might not result in a full staff, but if you put off the sales for one day it would be fine.

When I owned a business I chose to open one Christmas day. I wasn't able to be with family, so I was completely alone. I had nothing else to do, so instead of sitting and watching television or something equally pointless, I decided to work at the store and flip the sign to "open". I got some things done, even while feeling sorry for myself. I had one customer all day; I still remember what he bought. He didn't comment about my store being open on Christmas. At least I was busy and productive, and it was my choice.

Thank you for helping support

Wilson, the stingy

"Wilson" was the stingiest person I ever knew... with his ammunition.

In his mostly unfurnished house, he had built a "wall of ammunition". He had stacked the little boxes of 7.62x39 and the bigger boxes of .40 S+W so as to build a "wall" against the back wall of his living room. It didn't actually cover the whole wall, but it was about 3 or 4 feet high and about 6 feet long. It continually grew. I don't know why he didn't find a better way to store it.

But when we would go out shooting, he would only shoot one firearm that day. He would either shoot his carry pistol or he would bring along his SKS to shoot. He would never shoot both on the same outing. And he would only bring 3 to 5 cartridges to shoot. That was it.

The first time we went out to shoot his SKS I offered to buy a box of ammo from him for us to shoot. (He always bought every round the local shops would get as soon as they came in.) But, no, he wouldn't do that. He was convinced he might need it later.

When I ran into him years later and miles away he told me he had gotten married, but it went bad and his angry wife reported him to the cops for abuse. They came to his house, cuffed him on the floor at gunpoint, and stole his guns and all his ammo. He said he never got it back. I have no clue if he really abused her or not. It's possible-- he could be a bit excitable. Doesn't sound like she was without issues, though.


If you enjoy personal stories like my "Wilson" series, you might also like Grant McGee's blog. He used to write in the paper here and has pretty interesting tales to tell.


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