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Sunday, August 8, 2010

Agorist Grilled Cheese Seller In NYC

This story was interesting. Someone started an unlicensed business selling grilled cheese sandwiches. He offers better price and quality than State-licensed businesses.

This guy is showing initiative and starting a business. What is his biggest concern? Is it "How do I make a better product?" No. His biggest concern is "If I'm too successful, then the State economic secret police will kidnap and torture me." That is the evil of the State.

He's intentionally keeping his business small, so that State thugs won't assault him. If he got a proper State license, then the overhead cost would make his business unprofitable.

According to that article, he sells about 40 sandwiches a day for $5-$7 each. That's about $200 profit per day, $50k+ per year. That's a decent salary. If he isn't an idiot, he isn't reporting all his sales on his taxes.

That article was in the NY Post, owned by Rupert Murdoch and The News Corporation. Instead of presenting that guy as a scumbag disrespecting "Rule of law!", the article presented the grilled cheese seller as a good guy. A similar article in the NY Times would have denounced him as a scumbag, for ignoring State food safety rules and risking poisoning his customers. I was surprised that the article was sympathetic to the businessman. Sometimes, the News corporation seems like the most freedom-oriented mainstream media outlet.

(Some of the comments were pro-State trolling. One said that the Post should criticize that illegal/unlicensed businessman as harshly as they criticize illegal/unlicensed immigrants.)

The businessman had another neat idea. To limit risk of State assault, he's limiting new customers. Only friends or friends-of-friends may buy. That's good agorist business practice!

As the State economic system collapses, people are forced to work off-the-books in order to survive. With fewer resources, State thugs can't assault every productive person working outside their extortion scam. The grilled cheese seller is acting like a good agorist, even if he isn't consciously aware of agorism.


Scott said...

I was home sick last week and saw this on the today show or one of those morning shows. I don't know the name, the one with that Gifford lady. He made a delivery to their studio and handed them cheese sandwiches. They pretended to be polite but it seemed pretty clear they didn't really like the sandwiches. Gifford said she had been on some no-bread diet for a while and only took a bite, then used some prop to wipe the grease off her fingers.

It's pretty obvious with this high profile this dude is asking for trouble.

I've gotten very sick from eating from a street vendor in an area that I later found out didn't have health inspectors. I think cities should have the right to enact reasonable health regulations that the populace wants. However, I see the freedom point of view as well. A compromise could be that health inspections are opt-in, and those who opt-in get to display a sticker saying they are part of the system.

Anonymous said...

I ate in a well-known restaurant chain in London. I've eaten in their tens of times before, maybe even around a hundred times.

But once I got very sick for about 2 - 3 days with food poisoning.

You can get food poisoning even in big restaurant chains with normally good food. I'm sure the have visits from health inspectors.

Anonymous said...

It is pretty difficult to see how you can get food poisoning from something simple like a toasted cheese sandwich.

If he used meat there would be more risk.

Scott said...

"It is pretty difficult to see how you can get food poisoning from something simple like a toasted cheese sandwich."

Well you can get hepatitis if the cook doesn't wash his hands. But, to be realistic, health inspectors only come once a year or so for inspections unless there is a known problem. The chance of them finding a problem as it occurs is at most 1 in 365. However, informing the personnel of best practices is not a bad idea. It's really mostly a problem with workers who don't give a shit and not with owners.

An independent one man operation like this guy is all about his reputation. He's probably washing his hands, and if he has a blood disease, is careful to put on a bandaid before assembling the sandwich.

A couple months ago I was eating at a well known chain and there was blood on my sandwich. They claimed it was catsup, but I can tell the difference in the smell. I asked the manager "does the cook have a cut finger?" He went back and came out and then apologized and gave a refund. I would rather have had a sandwich that wasn't drenched in human blood. This is a place that gets inspected. How did health regulations protect me here? I have to ask that.

There's little point to most regulation. Hair nets are probably not needed. Are there diseases in hair you can get from eating it? I doubt it, especially considering that a certain amount of rat turd is allowed in each sandwich and this amount is legislated. I am sure the rat turds are more of a threat than a stray hair. Too many hairs and I am sending it back to the kitchen!

I do appreciate though the letter grades. I have eaten in places with a health department A rating, B and C. Have any of you ever eaten in a non-A restaurant. Believe me you can tell the difference before you even see the sign. In fact, in each case I only saw the B and C sign because I went looking for it after vomiting from rancid mayo, or finding a condom in my mashed potatoes. Again, did the health department help me? The letter rating was not displayed prominently. I now know enough to avoid B and C, but even an A passes with a 90 score and 10 points is enough to kill you.

I have eaten in restaurants in Mexico where the kitchen is in a dirt lot in the back and there are live chickens scratching right where they are slicing vegetables. Water came from a well that had a dead dog in it.

Didn't get sick from that place, but I have gotten sick at health department inspected places in the US.

FSK said...

That's the point. Most State regulations are a regressive tax on small businesses. Most State regulations have nothing to do with best practices.

If you're operating an unlicensed business, you have a *GREATER* incentive to do a good job than in a State-licensed business.

Now that I have greater emotional awareness, I can usually tell when a restaurant serves rotten food. It's amazing, because I didn't used to be able to do that. The simple solution is "don't go back there".

A State restaurant license requires:
- special kitchen, separate from your home's kitchen
- paying for a license and inspections
- (usually) buying insurance

That's a huge regressive tax. That also makes it hard to bootstrap a business.

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