Thursday, September 2, 2010

Good work, Dr. Freud

Sanity seems to be making a comeback.

Oh, sure, there’s still the potent counterargument of Sarah Palin’s popularity. But consider the recent developments where reason clearly prevailed, rescuing restaurants and other service businesses from a Twilight Zone episode.

Take today's news from Tennessee, for instance. An employee of a restaurant there has reportedly petitioned the state’s Occupational Health and Safety Administration to do its job of protecting workers. In his case, the danger isn’t an ungrounded piece of electrical equipment or a slippery floor, but guns. The state is one of several that recently bowed to the gun lobby by agreeing to let licensed patrons carry concealed weapons inside alcohol-serving establishments.

Think of how many bar fights you’ve witnessed, or perhaps been pulled into. Now consider how the outcome might’ve been different if one or several of the combatants had been armed.

According to news reports, a server at a bar and grill in Hillsboro Village can anticipate the danger—not only to the persons waging the dispute, but to himself. Bullets aren’t that discriminatory.

He's reportedly filed a complaint with the state OSHA because he believes the presence of guns in a drinking establishment poses an on-the-job hazard.

Attention, those of you who are about to brand me a tool of the liberal conspiracy: Yes, the news reports quoted co-workers of the complainant as saying they feel safer knowing patrons may be carrying. Many many people in the state do like guns, and see no reason why you can't be packing when softball team heads out after the game for some adult rehydration.

But the logic eludes a lot of restaurateurs. Sanity would suggest you keep guns and alcohol separate, even if the bearer is technically forbidden to imbibe. Why mix flame and dynamite?

That’s not the only hopeful development of recent days. Consider the wholesale shift of public companies to private-owners status, a movement that could soon claim Burger King, if the Wall Street Journal’s bombshell report is accurate.

Public ownership has morphed into insanity, with analysts and shareholders squawking like third-world dictators when a company tempers its financial predictions for three or nine months out. They start tying a noose if the management team is so foolhardy as to miss the projections.

It’s ridiculous to think that multi-billion-dollar companies should be managed for three-month returns, when far greater paybacks could be engineered if a longer timeframe was allowed by investors. “Longer” being eons of, say, a year or more. A shift away from a public-ownership model makes sense.

Of course, certain pockets of insanity are proving immune to reason. Consider, for instance, the situation in Brookfield, Mass., where civic leaders decided that the center of town would be marred by the development of drive-thru restaurants. They ramrodded through a ban on the eateries—only to discover they’d inadvertently outlawed drive-thru banks and pharmacies as well. Getting out of your car for a Big Mac might be okay, but for a refill of Viagra? Pffft.

The town amended the law to permit the development of all drive-thrus except restaurants.

No comments: