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A Matter of Dollars and Nonsense
Rick Reilly
November 20, 1995
Here's what would happen if other businesses bought into pro sports' brand of economics
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November 20, 1995

A Matter Of Dollars And Nonsense

Here's what would happen if other businesses bought into pro sports' brand of economics

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"Oh, esteemed patron, it doesn't matter. This I learned from your Art Modell of the Cleveland Browns. He, too, has a private enterprise, but he demanded these things from Baltimore and got them. It never hurts to ask. Do you know that I get no share of the parking on the street in front of my establishment? Nor from the billboard advertising that sits high above my roof? And yet the town squanders thousands on a new crossing guard. I must leave. I have no choice."

"Where will you go?"

"To the new Factory Outlet Mall at Exit 32B. The people out there have guaranteed me a brand-new place with many luxury booths and preferred seating and a huge loan I need not pay back for at least three lifetimes. Plus, at my new location I can use a new logo, enabling me to double my concession income. I need only to know the area's local youth gang colors, and, as you say, I am going laughing to the bank!"

"Hold on a second, Achmed. Look around you. This place is always jammed. Look at the faces. These are your friends. Didn't we stick by you during your Spam phase? Didn't we start a fan club for you—The Unruly Tabouli?"

Achmed began to stare at the floor.

"And remember, Achmed, this restaurant is a place of rich tradition. Don't you remember when the great Dumpster Williams won the 1978 Hummus Eating Championship here, after spotting Two Forks Finnegan an entire lamb shank? How can you turn your back on memories like that?"

Achmed's lip began to quiver.

"Why not just sell it to a local buyer? This place has got to be worth 50 times what you paid for it. You'd be rich, Achmed."

Silence.

"Please, Achmed. I beg of you. Don't take this thing away. It means too much to us. We can float a bond. We can hammer through a ballot initiative. Just don't go."

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