Stop yanking on my wiener and touching my buns
By John Intini
The University of Western Ontario is world-renowned for the quality of its business school. However, it seems that the school's business professors and their disciples have taken a back seat to the unscrupulous management at The Spoke in teaching some of the harsher lessons of free enterprise and competition on Concrete Beach.
While taking a break from studying at the end of last term I started up an interesting conversation with Nancy, the hot-dog vendor who sets up daily near the entrance to the University Community Centre. We got to talking about things and I commented on the fact that her competition hadn't shown up that evening. She smiled and remarked that he would be there later that night. She went on to tell me, much to my surprise, as well as disgust, that he was hired by The Spoke in its attempt to force her from her central position on campus.
For the three months I've been at Western, I have, on many occasions, noticed the two vendors set up on Concrete Beach. I have commented to a couple of friends how funny it was to see the "hot dog war," similar to the one I see in downtown Toronto where I work. The one big difference between the two situations is that in Toronto the competition is warranted, while on Concrete Beach it is not.
I am by nature a capitalist and I am an advocate of competition and free enterprise, however, I have a difficult time hiding my compassion for Nancy. I have to wonder why a thriving on-campus business like The Spoke finds it necessary to compete with two women who are just out to make ends "meat." Doesn't The Spoke make enough money on alcohol and food sales within the bar? Or does it make at least enough money to not have the need to drive away two women people who are just trying to make a go of it?
I am in no way putting down the service I receive from The Spoke, of which I frequent at least once a week, and I feel is one of the best bars in London. I just cannot stand by idly and condone business actions that I feel are unnecessary and downright heartless. To think that a hot dog stand outside of the bar is robbing The Spoke of revenues is simply ludicrous. It seems like The Spoke is just trying to push around two women not because they have to, but rather, because they can.
I would like to ask the Western population to think twice after dropping 15 or 20 bucks next time at The Spoke or The Wave. When making the decision whom to buy a hot dog from on the way home, put the couple of bucks into the pockets of two women who make it a living and not in the pockets of a management that makes it its living to ruin the businesses of others.