Mr. Brown opened a big store in the center of town. Then Mr. Green opened a
small specialty store on the west side of town. West siders started
patronizing Mr. Green's boutique. At first, Mr. Brown ignored Mr. Green's
store. Then he noticed his sales targets were slipping and Mr. Green's
customer base was growing, and he decided he'd better do something.
Mr. Brown sent a flyer to Mr. Green's customers. It told them there would be
dire consequences to the community if they continued to shop at Mr. Green's
store instead of Mr. Brown's.
This seemed to have no effect, so Mr. Brown took out a full-page ad in the
newspapers that questioned Mr. Green's character, motives, and financial
holdings and asserted that Mr. Green had many alarming personal quirks.
Finally, Mr. Brown sent salesmen and pillars of the community door-to-door
in the neighborhoods of Mr. Green's customers. The salesmen read aloud to
the residents from a list of consequences that would befall them if they did
not shop at Mr. Brown's store. Alarmed, many of Mr. Green's customers
promised to stop patronizing his establishment. But substantial numbers
still refused to shop with Mr. Brown. Exasperated, Mr. Brown's salesmen
finally asked them why.
"Because he's too far away and he's not selling the products I want," they
Mr. Brown failed to make his sales targets and went out of business. Dire
consequences befell the community. Mr. Brown's customers never forgave Mr.
Green or his customers as, clearly, it was all their fault.
Thus our story ends, much as it did four years ago, and as it may again,
depending on what the Democratic Party decides to do as it contemplates the
latest if-the-election-were-held-today poll results: Bush, 46%, Kerry 45%,
Nader 6%. In response, the presumptive nominee may choose to re-live the
preceding tale, or he may instead figure out what you do to get customers
into your store.
Andrew Christie is a film editor in Los Angeles