Monday, September 17, 2012

The Free Market

On Saturday mornings, when I was six, I would hang out at my father’s newspaper office in Mansfield. He would give me a quarter to buy a funny book. I would then race across the street to the Rexall Drugstore and pick out a Harvey comic (Casper, or Sad Sack, or Little Archie) and slap my quarter on the counter with gusto. The proprietor, a squinty-eyed old goat with a cigar stub stuck to the edge of his mouth, would take my quarter (with a gleam in that squinty eye), and I would happily skip away with my funny book—unaware (because I knew nothing of change) that I had just paid a quarter for a twelve-cent product. Eventually, my father noticed I was returning with no change, so he encouraged me to go a little farther down the street to Ray’s Pharmacy. There, I soon discovered I could get two comics for a quarter and have one cent left over for the gumball machine. I never went back to the old goat’s drugstore, and soon afterward the dingy old establishment closed. I like to think it was due to the lack of my patronage. I do not know the moral of this story, only that it has something to do with the Free Market.