The Star News is reporting today that shrimp retailers - those with fixed, brick-and-mortar locations - in Brunswick County want to see the county place regulations on roadside shrimp vendors.
As is often the case, the retailers who favor these regulations cite "safety concerns" in support of their position.
But roadside shrimp vendor Glenn Williams takes the more plausible view that the retailers just don't like the competition from guys in pickup trucks with their coolers on the tailgate.
As alluded to in a previous post, it may be true that there is a competitive advantage to being exempt from the myriad of rules and regulations that hamstring many businesses.
But the appropriate course of action is always to fight against the excessive rules that apply to you, rather than demanding more rules for others. Demanding rules for others creates a "culture of regulation." Once that starts, the only way to "win" the game is to maintain influence over the regulators in a way that favors you and disadvantages your competitors. Over time, that becomes a very difficult and expensive proposition. The better course is fight tirelessly against the source of the regulatory power that's hurting your business, so that all market participants can operate their businesses freely.
PS -- I have to mention, I was very impressed by this quote from Pam Overstreet, the county environmental health supervisor:
"It's pretty much self-regulating," she said. "Most anyone can tell when seafood isn't fresh." She said people should make sure the seafood they are purchasing is stored properly and at the correct temperatures.
Amen! It's refreshing when anyone - especially someone in government - takes the position that people aren't stupid and can figure things out for themselves.