Franchising as a dying Totalitarian State

Václav Havel is a Czech writer and politician.

I have played many roles within franchising. My overall approach is similar to Havel’s description of a dissident.

Definition: a person who actively challenges an established doctrine, policy, or institution.

The dissident does not operate in the realm of genuine power at all. He is not seeking power. He has no desire for office and does not gather votes. He does not attempt to charm the public, he offers nothing and promises nothing. He can offer, if anything, only his own skin — and he offers it solely because he has no other way of affirming the truth he stands for. His actions simply articulate his dignity as a citizen, regardless of the cost.

Franchising treats its opponents in a very harsh manner. I doubt if my notoriously short attention span could have been maintained if it weren’t for the shrill reaction of the industry’s leaders.

As always, those that challenge you are your best motivators and instructors.

You do not become a “dissident” just because you decide one day to take up this most unusual career. You are thrown into it by your personal sense of responsibility, combined with a complex set of external circumstances. You are cast out of the existing structures and placed in a position of conflict with them. It begins as an attempt to do your work well, and ends with being branded an enemy of society.

I believe we are very close to the end of Mom-and-Pop franchising.

The elite were the only ones using the industry’s specialized terms, words and language. Now every amateur observer is taking over the discussion. You can hear the professionals moan about their sudden loss of authority and deference over at Blue MauMau.

The degree of impertinence and questioning of the status quo regarding churning, integration clauses, FDDs, gag orders, FTC, etc. is a sure sign franchising’s Berlin Wall is crumbling.

When the internal crisis of the totalitarian system grows so deep that it becomes clear to everyone, and when more and more people learn to speak their own language and reject the hollow, mendacious language of the powers that be, it means that freedom is remarkably close, if not directly within reach.

The Information Sharing Project translates the mind-numbing, legal mumbo-jumbo “FranchiseSpeak” into common English usage. It speaks in the language of the investor, not the apologist lawyer.

It will, in fact, replace some of the functions of the franchise bar. It is a part of what will become a franchising expert system. This will assist in breaking the current economic monopoly on information and developing a common experience shared by the non-elite.

I collect franchise documents in much the same way as Charles Darwin collected beetles. Once you have them, you look for similarities and differences: you create a taxonomy which is the practice and science of classification.

A franchise industry taxonomy and expert system makes investor risk assessment more accurate.

Stripped of its propaganda and confusion, franchising is very similar to a Soviet Union gulag.

2 Responses to Franchising as a dying Totalitarian State

  1. Carol Cross says:

    As an “accidental dissident” I join you in your hopes that Mom and Pop franchising is on the way out and is dying or mortally ill! Multi-unit franchisees will probably always be with us in the pyramid sales systems and this particular population, MUF’s, may have the power to negotiate with their franchisor and will demand proof of profits before they invest.

    I hope I live to send flowers to the funeral. But! In my country, the FTC Rule, the subsidy of the franchisors, has been immoral and unethical public policy for thirty years. When public policy feeds the powerful monied interests in society and the victims can be burried or silenced and this is rationalized as for “the greater good” – how will the status quo be changed? How can we grow a population of dissidents to effect any real change when the victims of franchising have NO voice and are intentionally silenced by their experiences in termination and failure, or in arbitration and the courts?

    The SBA Patriot Express Loan Initiative with the approval of Congress was developed to permit franchisors to target VETS and their families in 2007, as a pilot program. The meaning of the word “entrepreneur” has been manipulated to mean “self-employment” to the Economists and the hype of The American Dream, a business of your own, is still pushed to the public. This is especially true when the job picture is not good. It appears that the population of VETS and their families will be the next victims of the “system” and will be sacrificed to expediency and the “greater good.”

    What does this tell us? The Congress will deny that they KNOW that franchisees are a calculated sacrifice to provide resources for franchisors and that franchisors and franchising is considered essential to the stimulation of local economies. The l FTC Rule and the FDD will continue to enable the franchisors to exploit the need of Americans to produce income and predatory franchisors will continue to lie, cheat, and steal with immunity and impunity under the law. Where is this “patch of blue” that you see?


  2. franchisefool says:


    That Mom-and-Pop franchising are dead is not wishful thinking: I am simply drawing an observation from every other human invention. The history of all lies are that they are eventually found out and collapse from their own excesses. Everything is born, matures and then dies.

    The news of a death can be delayed if it is everyone’s economic interest to trade in ignorance. That every western democracy does NOT record franchising as a commercial activity is an indication of the need for secrecy.

    Some people see this secrecy masking an ill industry. It hides franchising’s death.


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