Last night Campbell live had the famous Sherril George trying to defend her actions of the other day.
She seems to have changed her tune, and is now sticking to a slightly modified story.
People who said Ms George’s actions were racially charged missed her point entirely, she said.
“This is where the ignorance and apathy come in, where people don’t see the big picture.”
The campaign was not a personal attack against Town and Country Food owner Hoyt Khuon, it was about the outlet undermining all other Waitara food outlets.
“It has never ever been about the nationality of that shop owner, it has been about the way that particular business does business.”
It’s not about the nationality of the shop owner, she just threatened to check their immigration status. Easy how one could come to the wrong conclusion there.
She wanted to point out she supported the long-standing Waitara Hot Bread Shop located next door to Town and Country Food, which was also owned by Cambodians.
Ah well, that’s all right then.
Town and Country Food was driving other businesses under and it was likely some existing food outlets would have to close because of dropping customer numbers, she said.
So her problem is ultimately that customers are choosing to shop in the new outlet. Their right to do so is one of the most fundamental freedoms in our society.
“That’s sad because it means more empty shops in Waitara and more people needing to look for employment.”
Three Waitara businesses had already cut staff since Town and Country Food opened, she said.
It’s impressive that the new business is so good that others have closed so quickly.
Ms George said it was backed by a company called Tan 2010.
She believed the company had its sights on other small communities in Taranaki and that it targeted high-density lower socio-economic groups when deciding where to open. She believed the tactics used by the company were detrimental to existing businesses in towns where they set up and the jobs created were not filled by people within the community.
Interesting how she’s so concerned about “existing businesses” not customers. No wonder she’s losing them.
Waitara needed businesses which supported each other, she said.
“They may say they’re promoting long-term employment, but we don’t think this will happen.”
They’re evil, you see.
Employees at the Masala Express, a business she accommodated by expanding her mainstreet property, did not live in Waitara, but were from New Plymouth and as far as she was concerned, that made them local.
So along with pretty much everything else, she changes the meaning of “local” to suit her own ends.
She believed the model of good business practise involved adding value and support to existing businesses.
“It’s not about coming in here with the intention of taking competition away.”
I don’t think myself that it’s necessarily a good idea to start a business just to take others down. But if existing businesses are doing a very poor job, then a new competitor is going to make existing outfits pull their socks up and do a better job (or close) and ultimately everyone is better off – except those who refuse to improve.
That latter alternative doesn’t’ seem to have occurred to Ms George.
A review of the New Plymouth District Council consenting process was needed to allow people to have more influence in what businesses opened in the community, she said.
“A council consenting process would open these concerns up to the bulk of the community so they have an opportunity to make some sort of submission.”
In other words, businesses should be able to veto new competitors. So the one pharmacy in town that takes 2 hours to process your prescription can legitimately stop a new competitor from setting up that’ll do the job in 10 minutes. A slow, dirty, expensive fish and chip shop can stop a clean and efficient franchise moving in. Old and bad can shut out new and good simply by the fact that they have incumbency. Forget about letting the customer decide.
The scary thing here is that this woman is on the council. She should know the limits of council authority. Yet she seems to think that it’s the role of local government to decide where people out to shop, where they spend their money.
No wonder she’s going out of business. She’s opposing the very free enterprise that she operates under!
Recall also that the government recently changed the law to make doing this on the sly illegal, this woman wants it explicit.
She said this applied particularly to liquor outlets.
Nice dog whistle, but I think she’s confused about people’s concerns with liquor outlets. People are not worried that new liquor outlets will hurt the existing ones!
This would increase people’s awareness of the effect certain businesses have on the community, she said.
“If people have the information then they know exactly what they’re dealing with.”
I don’t think she gets the irony of that statement. It wasn’t lack of customer information that caused those other businesses to lose money, it was lack of business information – specifically around their own price and service quality.
Regardless, her actions in trying to disseminate such “information” did not change the fact people wanted to go to a nice shop and buy good food for low prices.