Sparklers and Snakes Aren't enough for a fireworks stand.

Snakes & Sparklers: An Economics Lesson


Snakes and Sparklers: An Economics Lesson

I’m a firm believer that economics is everywhere. And we can learn the lessons of the discipline from even the most unlikely of sources.

But first, I’ll begin with a more likely source, 1976 Nobel Laureate, Milton Friedman. In his 1993 essay, Why Government is the Problem, published by the Hoover Institution, he writes,

“The great virtue of a free market is that is does not care what color people are; it does not care what their religion is; it only cares whether they can produce something you want to buy.”

Businesses Must Satisfy Customers

Anyone who engages in commerce succeeds only so far as they satisfy the desires of the customers they aim to serve. Some folks may make decisions on the margin based on supporting an entrepreneur of the same race, religion, or some other characteristic. But at the end of the day, that entrepreneur has to be offering something that people want to be buying in the first place.

As we approach one of my favorite holidays of the year, I invite you all to absorb that lesson from one of the great mullet-ed members of American pop culture — the one and only Joe Dirt.


Snakes & Sparklers Aren’t Enough

Many of you may be familiar with this quotable scene. Here, Joe imparts some business wisdom to his friend Kickin’ Wing regarding his struggling fireworks stand. In Joe’s eyes, the fireworks stand selections leave a lot to be desired. Particularly in the arena of “things that go boom!” The prospective customers seem to agree. This is evidenced by Kickin’ Wing’s admission that he’s nearly going broke on his current fireworks venture.

It’s fine that snakes and sparklers are the only fireworks Kickin’ Wing likes.

But if he’s going to be a successful fireworks salesman, he’s got to remember Joe Dirt’s wisdom. “It’s not what you like, it’s the consumer”


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