Sell Don’t Tell... Part 2 of 2 - Granite Grok

Sell Don’t Tell… Part 2 of 2

People have all kinds of different preferences. We tend to like all kinds of different things. People do all sorts of dumb stuff. We want to share our passion with others sometimes. Sometimes we want to keep people from following in our missteps.

We should all work to sell the value of our views. But when we have to resort to telling people what they should do. Well, we don’t do anyone any favors by resorting to force.


Consider studying economics. It is useful, interesting and maybe it will change how we think about things. Maybe no one should be allowed out of college without at least two courses in economics. As long as we are dreaming let’s add a couple of courses in statistics. There’s a little voice in me that says; there ought’a be a law about that.

But now being adults let’s recognize that not everyone agrees with me; wrong though they may be. In fact, some people think there are things more important or interesting than economics and statistics. It would be assuming against the evidence that compelling someone to study something is the same thing as their actually learning it.

Perhaps the waters muddy quite a bit when talk about college curricula. Colleges and universities are free to set their own requirements. Each institution should be free to decide what counts as a degree from that institution, in my opinion. Live by the sword; die by the sword. Live with the value of the education; die by the value of the education.


What about the children? Kids, too, are obviously a little bit different. We try to help our kids learn to make good choices. That’s why we give them the freedom to make a lot of low-stakes bad ones. Even when we do step in and establish or enforce rules there’s a pretty clear difference between the appropriate relationship between two parents and their seven-year-old and the appropriate relationship between adult strangers.


Pets on porches at Alabama restaurants… According to Alabama’s health code, live animals may not be allowed on the premises of a food establishment. This also means porches, apparently, which means Alabama restaurants that want to welcome pets are out of luck. The example illustrates why economic liberty is so important.

Some restaurants want to cater to pet owners. Others are wary of possible complaints from other patrons. Complaints from those who don’t want to eat in a restaurant with dogs or cats. Or those fearful of the health problems they might create. A lot of other people don’t care and just want to go where the food is good. What’s great for one customer might be an unbearable imposition upon another.

There is No One Answer to Rule All Situations

We have a lot of different cuisines to choose from because people have different preferences. There are many different kinds of retail outlets. They go from Walmart to boutique cheese shops because people have different preferences. There are people with preferences about combinations of price, selection, knowledgeable staff, and in-store amenities.


Who is “right”? Everyone and no one, and the right pattern of restaurants and retailers emerge. It comes from a dizzying array of bids, offers, and ventures. Who knows what the equilibrium looks like, or should look like? If you don’t like one restaurant’s policy, odds are there will be another one with a policy that’s much more your speed.