As a general rule, the outpouring of community support demonstrated by the effort to keep the Fat Rascal’s res-
taurant afloat should send decidedly mixed signals.
Heartwarming though it may be to see friends and customers rush to the assistance of a neighbor in need, it’s always important to remember that a business isn’t a charitable operation and thus shouldn’t depend for its survival upon the generosity of others.
In the ultimately unforgiving Darwinian laboratory of a capitalist economy, society as a whole actually benefits at the expense of entrepreneurs who fail because in doing so we are assured that only the strongest businesses — i.e., those providing goods and services most needed or desired, and doing so in the most cost-efficient manner — will survive.
In the case of Fat Rascal’s, however, that model doesn’t work quite as well since, by all indications, the owners seemed to be providing a service a large number of their customers have decided the community would be a little poorer without.
Indeed, the South Kitsap barbecue establishment doesn’t appear to suffer from any lack of enthusiasm for its product in the market. Rather, its problems have to do with staying ahead of the tax man — which adds one more entry on the debit side of the equation, making it just that much more difficult for the restaurant’s ledger to end up in the black.
To be sure, Fat Rascal’s isn’t the only business that has to overcome the crushing demands of taxes, and the others seem to be doing so without relying Blanche DuBois-like on the “kindness of strangers.”
Still, the image of a business that otherwise seems to be satisfying its consumers having to struggle to stay alive is unsettling.
You’d think just offering good food at a fair price would be enough. But apparently a savvy accountant and tax attorney count for at least as much in the current economy.