Habitat for Humanity’s Reuse Store stole $61 from a Hamilton resident not too long ago.

The manager insists that as a Charitable Organization, it is not theft.

I am left to ponder if she means that as a Charitable Organization, no matter what they do, it is still a good deed.

The manager assures me that as a Not-For-Profit Organization, rules of accounting oblige them to write-off their debts at the end of each month, the debts they owe to others which are more than 60 days old.

Wouldn’t that be nice…

While I am a big fan of Habitat for Humanity and the work they do to put people into houses, even here in downtown Hamilton, the Reuse Store is essentially an international pawn shop with a much more clever business model since the merchandise is donated and the staff are volunteers. As a pawn shop, their inventory is totally random, so a sixty day limit on anything is absurd as they have no guarantees of what will be in stock.

According to my friend Wikipedia, Sanction means to grant permission. By shopping there we have been sanctioning this objectionable corporate behaviour: the nullifying of store credits after sixty days, aka: stealing.

Used in the popular term Economic Sanction, it means exactly the opposite, to not give permission. Sociologist describe economic sanctions as a form of social control;

Societal mechanisms that regulate individual and group behavior, leading to conformity and compliance to the rules of a given society, state, or social group.

So I am asking you, my friends and readers, for an Economic Sanction against Habitat for Humanity’s Reuse Store. Stop shopping there until they stop stealing.

Let them change their bookkeeping practices that they seem to think are the law, let them tell us about it, and then lets all get on with our good deeds and charitable activities.


New-School Business Model

The new-school business model that is emerging is evolving a different set of values than the old-school businessmen possess. I can see a clear line between the old-school way of doing things and the path that certain new entrepreneurs are forging. I think the new-school way could be summed up as “creating value for others” a notion I first came across through the literature of Dan Sullivan, the Strategic Coach.

Here are some of my observations on how new-school works:

  • These entrepreneurs have communities, not markets
  • They are building relationships, not looking for transactions
  • Because these relationships are sincere, they don’t need weird gimmicks to get people to come back
  • They are looking for win-win-win opportunities, for instance between me, my suppliers and my customers
  • They take pride in what they are selling and value the patronage of their customers

I come into contact with old-school business people who would never eat the food they sell, don’t respect the people who buy it and think that scamming someone makes them a good businessman. When I meet them, all I can think of is how fast can I get away from this influence.

I think new-school is the way of the future and though we have not reached a critical mass, we will.

And along the way we have quality food and good company to sustain us.