Oh I think it’s been about 17 years now, but anyone who tells me that we need more business regulation in this great nation certainly needs to hear this true story. You see, before retirement I was in the car wash business, and I was a franchisor franchising car wash businesses across the country. One of our franchisees got visited by some regulators. They came in to check his Material Safety and Data Sheets (MSDS) and they wanted to make sure everything was in order, and they surveyed the premises to make sure there were no chemicals around without documentation and no OSHA laws were broken.
It turns out it was a dual inspection, both OSHA and EPA and you were looking for anything out of place, or any documentation that might have been missed in the files. Often they care more about the paperwork, then the actual compliance of law. Of course, the compliance is all about the paperwork after all, that’s all bureaucrats and regulators really understand. They certainly don’t understand how to run a business, what real safety is, or how careful business owners are not to have an incident or accident that will cost them an abundance of money down the road in lawsuits.
It’s almost as if we don’t need any more regulations, there are plenty of lawyers out there ready jump in and sue. In fact it’s double jeopardy if you think about it. If the regulators come after you, the lawyers follow almost like ambulance chasers. You get hit twice, and the kangaroo courts often award ridiculous sums of money, and that is after the state, county, or federal government comes after you with big guns themselves and an unlimited budget for any legal action, and you can never afford to fight. Yes, they are big bullies, and the big blob of bureaucracy knows it. But it gets worse, especially in this story.
Having found absolutely no violations with our franchisee’s car wash, they did find some liquid paper in one of the desks. It was over the certain number of ounces which required an MSDS, and even though he bought it at the local Office Depot, OfficeMax, or Staples he didn’t pick up the MSDS with the product. The fine was $1000. The inspector said; “I have to write you up for something, and it’s nothing personal,” and insisted he did the owner a favor for not citing him for an illegal operations issue.
“The hell it isn’t personal,” our franchisee told him, “tell that to my son who needs new soccer shoes. Thanks for nothing, I can’t believe you charge me taxes, and I am paying for your salary, only so your agency can buy a new vehicle, have your car washed somewhere else, and come onto this property and give me some chickenshit fine.” Indeed, I like to tell that story when I give speeches at Universities and colleges to their MBA students. And I thought you should know too. I’ve told that story to at least 10,000 people, so note to bureaucrats, we are on to your BS. Please consider all this and think on it.