Free Market Means Individual Choice

I love the free market. The market, liberated from government rules, subject only to the choices of individuals.

One of my choices is to not shop on major holidays. If I knew for certain the store let employees volunteer to work on the holiday it would be different. As it stands, no sales or discounts can entice me to shop on Thanksgiving or Christmas when I know the employees were probably coerced into working instead of spending the holiday with their families.

I’m also not willing to fight crazed crowds for “deals.” It’s not an experience I enjoy.

That’s my choice; yours might be different.

I would oppose laws making it illegal for stores to open on major holidays, just as I oppose laws that make Sunday alcohol sales illegal. Those laws are arbitrary and silly. I am responsible enough to make my own choices of what to buy and when to shop. I don’t need a babysitter holding a gun on shop owners to make certain they do what the babysitter believes is right.

I’m not boycotting anyone. It’s not a crusade. I’ll go to those stores on other days. I won’t ask anyone to join me. It’s just me, as an individual, making a personal choice. My meager spending won’t be missed, but I feel better not encouraging businesses to use their employees in ways I don’t like.

I care about people; that’s why I’m libertarian. I believe all human interactions should be voluntary. If a business (or any other institution) can’t survive through voluntary association, I believe it should die. Customers and employees are equally important.

There would be employees who would choose to go to work rather than spend the day alone, or with family they want an excuse to avoid. It might not result in a full staff, but if you put off the sales for one day it would be fine.

When I owned a business I chose to open one Christmas day. I wasn’t able to be with family, so I was completely alone. I had nothing else to do, so instead of sitting and watching television or something equally pointless, I decided to work at the store and flip the sign to “open.” I got some things done, even while feeling sorry for myself. I had one customer all day; I still remember what he bought. He didn’t comment about my store being open on Christmas. At least I was busy and productive, and it was my choice.

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Kent McManigal

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