Saturday
Mar142009

Timeshare Sales and the Consumer Gene

I had an occasion to visit with a group of tele-marketers this week.  On one of those great Ozark early spring days, a dozen or more of the Spinnaker Properties staff, were out on the veranda, (actually it was a concrete & steel commercial building outside corridor) taking what occured to me was a well earned break.  Since last falls confirmation by Katie Couric and the rest of the international media apparatus that the world had "gone to hell", it crossed my mind that selling "ozark timeshares" in March 09' would be like selling Dasani to the drowning.  I was wrong.  A little friendly inquire quickly evidenced that The Dow, The Federal Reserve, The Bailout, The Foreclosure Rate, the Plummeting of House Values, Indeed None of the Above was relevant to their quest.  One of the older and more confident of the group proceeded to explain, with nods of acknowledgment from the group, that their task was more simple.  He explained, what I had not known, namely that about !.5% of the population of this country, are "born with the consumer gene".  According to this unsuspected molecular geneticist, a small subset of our species have an innate and irrepressible instinct to buy things.  All that is required, so he reported, is that they simply have to be reached by "a good salesman" and that they will as a matter of natural course, "sign on the dotted line".  From their veranda vista, I could count perhaps a thousand unoccupied condos maintained and manicured by yesteryear's "consumer gene people". It seemed like incontrovertible evidence and so I, perplexed, but somewhat changed, wandered down the hill to play my part in this extraordinary drama called Branson.   

Saturday
Mar142009

Perpetual Parole

Here , "deep in the heart of traditional values", evolutionist and creationist regularly face-off as to whether this extraordinary thing called "life" is a gift from God..... or a self organizing complex system unceasingly adapting to a dynamic, but insensitve, time/space field.  I will leave these meta-questions to those impassioned students of species history such as Lewotin, Gould, Dawkings, Wilson, and of course Keith Moore.  My minimal personal contribution in this clash is to offer what seems to be an example of a complicated system that I'm pretty sure no one designed, but which flourishes here in Taney County.  The system to which I refer is the "criminal justice system"  Without reasoned planning or structured expectations our community daily goes about micro managing the lives of those among us who have "crossed the line".  While we may be short on cash for remedial education, indigent health services and green energy initiatives, we never fail to fund the cost to "hold fast" in the fight against our very locally defined "axis of evil"  At face there is nothing wrong with this legitimate function to "provide for the common defense".  It is quite another issue when you consider that in aggregate the police, staff, advisors, counselors, lawyers,  judges, prisons, half-way houses and there respective suppliers and assistants constitute a massive economic network not dependent on "the market" for their  CJ system viability.  The CJ system needs only conspire to maintain a steady flow of criminals.  My suspicion is that in todays "information rich" environment the Criminal Justice System may have discovered that stabilized processing volume is most easily achieved by "recycling".  Yes this means that offenders are selectively targeted for repeat offenses.  We need to maintain a little skepticism when the "repeat offender syndrome" is so casually invoked as "the simple truth"  Maybe we need to look a little closer. We might discover that the CJ system has found an evolutionarily attractive model.  It might be called the "Perpetual Parole Model".  Most everyone who reads this will be only spectators, a few will be direct/indirect enforcement agents and none will be draftees.  Be glad your not a draftee.  It would be a long life.         

 

 

Saturday
Mar142009

Are Mortgage Lenders going to be "More Stupid" on the way Down?

60,00 house

Saturday
Mar142009

Red County & Blue Money

bridge

Saturday
Mar142009

Chester's One Legged Chicken

Everyone in Branson knows that restaurants come and go by the week.  Many of the new offerings are expressions of "non-professionals" with a dream.  Sadly the aspirations rarely translate into great "dining experiences".  An example worth the noting is Chesters, on the strip.  Not having a long history in the area I don't know the proceeding names, but it's the nice little place with picture windows overlooking the river valley. Chester, (I don't know if there is a Chester) has done his best to cover all possible markets.  He does "biscuits & gravy" in the morning, "specialty burgers" at lunch and "family style pan fried chicken" on the weekend.  Hoping during the off season to keep the margins in the black, he pursues a vigorous "waste not/want not" policy.  Last weekend my sister and I ordered the chicken.  It was priced at the fairly high price of $11.95 per person, which would have been fine except that when the waitress served the "family style dishes", the entree "fried chicken dish" offered, for our party of two, one wing, one leg, and one thigh.  My inquire to the waitress arose less from my concern over value that from my curiosity as to how such a policy could have come to be.  Yes, it is tough to "hand fry chicken", but as long as your going to do it, it's not much harder to fry more, rather than less.  After all their cost was negiigible in relation to the menu price.  The clearly embarrased waitress explained that, "although not stated on the menu, it is "all you can eat, if you ask!".  It's this inventive spirit that is both the pride and prejudice of our extraordinary little town. 

PS  She did bring an extra helping and it was very, very good.