Blitzkrieg 2.0: Death to franchise law trench Warfare

blitzkriegbook1

Another interesting article from Blue MauMau.

Rich Piotrowksi in Quiznos Battle starts off his own story by saying:

One ounce.

One ounce cost Rich Piotrowski and Ellen Blickman their Quiznos franchise and more than $200,000 in legal fees during a two-year battle with the sandwich company.

One ounce — the amount of meat a “mystery shopper” determined was lacking in a sandwich bought at the couple’s restaurant in 2006 — is also what led a judge to order Quiznos to pay the couple $350,000 and to pay their attorney’s fees.

In a statement, Quiznos said it didn’t agree with the judge’s Dec. 31 decision. It hasn’t announced whether it would appeal.

It’s a good article and I’d like to focus on one element:

Piotrowksi said he left repeated messages for Daigle, and at one point, threatened to call a press conference because he was angry he hadn’t received any return calls. That’s when, the couple says, the argument turned nasty. A few days later, Quiznos sued them for damages.

I talked to a friend in the U.S. yesterday and he wondered: Would the threat of exposing wrongdoing in the media help his friend get his money back?

  • In a word: No.

I wish Rich and Ellen all the best but fighting a trench war (WWI) against an infinitely better armed opponent, is why franchisees are often called cannon fodder: expendable military personnel.

Technology is defined broadly as any methods that extends mans’ abilities: physical, mental, social, information, etc. In WWII, faster logistics, Lend Lease, panzers, V2, Little Boy, teletype, encryption, air force, coordination, communications, radar were all technologies that helped break the back of tyranny. It can do the same for franchisees who are willing to trust once again.

  • Don’t retreat in fear to the past, to the gore and futilityof Passchendaele (civil law).
  • Look to the skies.

In franchise tactical defense, you never threaten: You just do. Threatening is for sissies and those who think that being reasonable will elicit a reasonable response. In the history of warfare, it won’t and never has. Technology, however, can lead to

  1. Identify and share an experienced commercial lawyer (not franchise Uncle Tom).
  2. Collect emails into a database. Download volunteer electrician’s code.
  3. Blitzkrieg (or lightning war) the system via the internet. Reverse the electrical and power polarity. Create a cluster of Web 2.0 community members using email invites and links to existing and new weblogs. Go DC to AC, and then back. Be the next citizen journalist: already 10 million losers typing in their home offices, anyway; where’s the crime in 1 more?
  4. The money’s gone anyway.
  5. Regain your freedom, dignity and self-respect.

I get paid (sometimes) for thinking this stuff up. And it works:

Big time.

A prediction: Quiznos will spend their last dollar suing anyone and everyone before even considering paying anyone a remedy. Their corporate dissolution papers just need to be dated.

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6 Responses to Blitzkrieg 2.0: Death to franchise law trench Warfare

  1. Carol Cross says:

    In the WAR of the SATURATED sandwich sector, Quiznos uses Nazi tactics. Not surprising!

    They know that they have been provided with fraud and abuse insurance by the FTC and are an excellent demonstration of how “absolute power corrupts absolutely.

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  2. Les Stewart says:

    It’s often said that the new war is always fought with the last war’s tactics. That was certainly the case in WWI and I think using the law as the only means of trying to reform an industry is the same fallacy.

    Why should we think that the same institutions that are profiting from the status quo could ever want to see it changed? In many ways, individual franchisees have the LEAST invested in the industry, when you compare the cash flow to the groups of the elite.

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  3. Rich Piotrowski says:

    Les, I got a kick out of this article, and as a log time activists in other areas of my life, I especially liked your call to just “do” as opposed to “threat”. In defense of my actions, this was a fight they started, so when you react you are not knowing where its going to go. That whole press conference thing was one that was such a small thing (to us at least) of what we said when we called, but the judge hung his hat on it. To me the breaking point to Daigle was just more generalized in that I told that emperor that he had no clothes. So IOW, I just told him to not pick a fight with me as he will regret it (Quiznos in their complaint tried to label that as a threat of violence! lol)

    I’m torn though on your bigger point. I understand what you mean, we are fighting this using their game, one that they have fully rigged, but when is the time to go outside that box? Are we there yet, is it time for more drastic more action? The evidence would say if we’re not there we are close. But on the other side, they are also imploding on their own, and they won’t be around in a year from now, so maybe its just better to let them kill themselves off, that way our hands stay clean. Like I said, I’m still torn on that part.

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  4. Carol Cross says:

    If you are saying the individual franchisees have the LEAST invested and the LEAST influence with the lawmakers, this, of course, is true.

    But! the guile and trickery of regulation that actually and intentionally obscures the risk from unsophisticated prospective franchisees deserves PROTEST, doesn ‘t it? Shouldn’t we unmask the perpetrators of the guile and trickery and try to get better and fairer regulation?

    Nobody ever answers this question, but I ask again. In your opinion, do you think that franchising could survive as a business model if the unit performance statistics were disclosed to new buyers of the franchise and to investors in the franchisors’ paper?

    I realize that all of the insiders and those in the KNOW believe that this will never happen but perhaps the “securitization” mess in the World Economy will mean that governments will want more transparency for all of the parties concerned. Perhaps governments will have to rethink how THEIR nations will survive in the global financial community, etc.. —-But, maybe not!

    I see that Peter Schiff, who predicted the meltdown, indicates that the bailout is all about reinflating the bubble and not dealing with it, and that things will only get worse, and I guess this makes your point, Les!

    Like

  5. Les Stewart says:

    Rich, Very good of you to drop me a line and I appreciate that I only took an extremely narrow slice of a very large story. As someone that has been sued twice myself, I appreciate that a full 50% of the people in a lawsuit have zero ability to choose to play!

    To me, fighting with legal means is closely allied to seeking revenge or hate mongering. It usually doesn’t start like this, but in almost every situation I have observed it devolves into an obsessive need to take “an eye for an eye”. This is what I caution most: Don’t stare too long into the Abyss because the Abyss is also staring into you.

    Someone likened hating to burning down your house to kill a rat.

    There have been many, many people resist in franchising and with the new social media such as Blue MauMau, that experience is now not lost with a confidentiality agreement. And that is a very hopeful development.

    I believe that franchisees will continue to be cannon fodder until war vets like you and me co-operate together and use the new technologies to educate and advise potential investors. Without peer-to-peer involvement (which cannot be delegated to a professional class), franchising has way too many snakes and very few ladders left these days.

    Technically, it is possible now to distribute information in a free and responsible way. The only obstacle I see is those that would see their future cash flows decrease by democratizing stories such as your’s and Ellen’s around the world on the internet.

    Your story deserves to archived and accessed by ANY potential franchise investor because every candidate faces the SAME omnidirectional risks that you and Ellen faced.

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  6. Les Stewart says:

    Carol, I don’t think 80% of franchise systems could sell one more unit if the success history was accurately communicated to the potential investor. You’re absolutely right but I don’t see any time soon how we’re going to force honesty into a very crooked mom and pop selling game.

    Rather than wringing our hands, I think we need to open up the conversation and leave it up to the good sense of Joe Lunchbucket in sensing that franchising is a little bit more than “dodgy”.

    I believe with the resources we have right now, with just a few people cooperating we can publish a digital self-teaching process that will, by its nature, cause people to opt-out of the majority of the current low-quality (ie. predatory) franchise offerings.

    The work I have done with the Information Sharing Project (collecting and indexing 1,600 documents) is a good start into democratizing and decentralizing the TRUE business risks that franchising carries around with it: hard-wired into its structure.

    Sharing information is the treasure: it’s right for franchisees to cut and polish.

    Like

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