Branson - Bad Business

I’m often blown away by what people justify in the “name of business”. Somehow, this term came to imply working without a moral compass is justifiable. When we support these business’s or fail to support them we send a vote of faith or vote of confidence. Here in Branson, MO we’re on the cusp of some major changes. There are elements in town with some interesting proposals on how to re-create the city in the name of business. The question is “Who are we catering to ? The adage “the customer is always right” comes to mind.

Recently, I watched a local company treat a tourist in a manner demonstrative of a defunct moral compass. I couldn't believe what I was watching. The treatment of this individual was so obscene I had to ask myself “Why, how can the city allow and promote an industry with roots and continual proximity to the most fraudulent of marketing practices?” We have an industry here that fits the bill well. Everyday, I watch them invent new forms of fraud and disregard state law.

If you live here – you know exactly what I’m talking about. If you don’t live here you might have read one of the many articles printed throughout local newspapers in our region. The game – time share/travel club solicitation. Unlike the recent article printed in the Chicago Tribune and echoed throughout smaller publication in the US, this industry represents what America “ought not be”. Back to the original questions

“Who are we catering to?”
This year Branson conducted an extensive marketing study. I won’t get into the detail of the study but the analysis included psycho- geodemographic profiling clusters. The Branson Chamber used PRIZM data to compile a profile of the Branson tourist market. 7 million people come each year. Typically they go to church, serve or have served in the military, and participate actively in family life. They come to Branson to enjoy family friendly entertainment.

There's an industry in town that finds this type of person - good prey.

There’s a lot of money in selling air; There’s a lot of money in selling a product for 10 times it’s reasonable value. Some of these companies consider the very lenient fines by the Attorney General’s office as a mere business expense. If it’s more profitable to cheat – If it’s more profitable to deceive – If it’s more profitable to destroy a town's good reputation for small personal gains – some business’s will do it. It’s just business – right?

It costs us millions in negative publicity. It sucks our brainpower and it encourages poor treatment of our fellow man. For the city – It’s just bad business.

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