A tale of two pubs

The Wire recently ran an article, which included a story about a pub in Dover, NH that took it upon themselves to ban smoking. The owner did so for health reasons, which should be applauded. The problem was most of his customers were smokers so following the ban the article points out that he took a 30 to 40 percent reduction in business.

I’m told through people who have contacted the owner of this pub that he was one of those in favor of an all out smoking ban because of his loss of business which is sad that instead of trying to use his choice in running a cleaner healthier location to his advantage that he instead looked to use the club of government to force all other businesses to follow the rules he created so that it would “level the playing field”.

Too often we see this same thing play out again and again and each time more of our freedoms and rights dissolve away one by one.

If it had been my restaurant, I would have put up signs all over town showing two meals. One clean, healthy and fresh, while the other was sitting in an ashtray covered in soot and having cigarette buts stuck in it. Under the picture I would have the question “which would you rather eat?” followed by a call to eat at my cleaner healthier location. What makes anyone think that they have a right to force another business owner to run their business the way they want to run theirs simply because they aren’t clever enough to think of ways to compete?

Since NY, MA and CA are usually the leaders in such infringements I’ve been keeping an eye on what they are doing as I foresee the same restrictions being forced on us sooner or later just as we are seeing with the seatbelt laws, trans fat bans and cell phone bans. And one such story in NY really worried me. A guy I know owns a small restaurant in NY City. He does ok for himself but isn’t rolling in it by any means. He mentioned to me that they are currently looking at a law that will require eating establishments to list out things like calories and other things you’d typically find on a box from a store on their menus. This guy buys meats, veggies and other ingredients in bulk and cooks them up himself so he has no idea how many calories one of his dinners has. Because of this law he is now going to be forced to hire an outside company to analyze his meals. And where as he used to change up his menu to keep new options and regularly offer interesting specials of the week, he said he would no longer be able to do that because of the cost it would require him to have each dish analyzed. As it is he said he may even find he needs to cut back on one or two of his staff in order to meet the burden being put on his business with this new law.

If you are interested in the details of your meal many larger chains already supply that information,  nothing prevents you from eating at their locations. And I’m sure if smaller businesses choose to supply that information they could even use it to their advantage. Heck, just look at subway with their eat fresh ads. But instead we’ve grown to a point as a society that a small group seek laws forcing businesses to take on changes or in some cases burdens against their will. This is sad indeed and sadder yet that we are allowing NH to go down this road.