My Nominee for Free Marketeer of the Year

From our Canadian correspondent, David Maharaj, comes a heartwarming story about a young entrepreneur in Alberta. When the busybodies controlling Keenan Shaw’s public educational gulag banned “sugary” soda from campus (the school still permits beverages poisoned with aspartame), Keenan set up shop in his locker and supplied eager customers. The aforementioned busybodies suspended him, just as regulators in the post-graduation world often do to businessmen, though in Keenan’s case, it was only for an afternoon. I’m sure our hero would agree that a few hours off from the gulag’s propaganda, anti-male bias, and stifling boredom was a blessed serendipity to his profits.

Nor has official and officious disapproval discouraged him. “’I’ve learned a lot about business and authority”—oh, I’ll bet he has—“as well as supply and demand, as well as how location ties into all these factors,’ he said.” He also “’found a little loop hole … I can walk out to the sidewalk, make the trade off, and walk back into the school.’”

Keenan disdains crony capitalism while appreciating the market’s innate regulator, competition: “Shaw said a few kids at school have even joked they might jump into the pop business too, but so far he doesn’t have any competitors. ‘I’ve told people go ahead, I don’t care,’ he said, noting he could expand into other treats. ‘There’s definitely other things I could make money on besides pop.’” Whoa! Are all you corporate titans out there listening and learning from this genius?

Meanwhile, Keenan scorns the busybodies’ stupidity, inefficiency and hypocrisy: “Shaw said he doesn’t believe the anti-pop policy discourages teens from drinking the stuff. ‘I don’t think they’re doing anything by restricting the sale of pop besides losing money, because kids are just going to go other places for it. Whether it’s to me, or 7-Eleven or Safeway, or any of the other various stores that are just a five minute walk away,’ Shaw said, noting his conscience is clean. ‘When they’re selling aspartame, and there’s actually been numerous studies that prove it’s worse for you, I don’t feel any remorse for it.’”

Where did this prodigy come by his fine instincts? Mom, of course. She, too, has a canny eye for stupidity, inefficiency, and all-around baloney while upholding personal responsibility: “Shaw’s mother, Alyssa Shaw-Letourneau, said she felt the school overreacted by suspending her son. She said if parents don’t want their kids drinking pop, they should give them a lunch rather than sending them to school with lunch money. Shaw-Letourneau also said it was good for students to question authority and not to accept things blindly, and pointed out a vending machine at the school sells vitamin water that states on the label it’s not suitable for children. ‘Selling a couple of cans of pop — I would view it like running a lemonade stand,’ Shaw-Letourneau said. ‘Sometimes you do have to question things.’”

A friendly amendment, Ms. Shaw-Letourneau: with do-gooders and “authorities,” let alone a combination of the two, you always have to question things. And, Keenan? I expect to read more about you in a few years when whatever company you found tops the Fortune 500.


10:32 am on September 23, 2014