The Simpsons, The Mafia and franchising

A smooth talker sells Marge on “mobile pretzel retailing.” But when sales go soft, Homer asks for help — from organized crime boss Fat Tony.

Marge: Homer! Did you tell the mafia they could eliminate my competitors with savage beatings and attempted murder?

Homer: [swallowing beer] In those words? … Yes.

Homer: I saw your pouring your heart and soul into this business and getting nowhere. I saw you desperately trying to cram one more salty treat into America’s already bloated snack hole. So I did what I could. I did what any loving husband would do! I reached out to some violent mobsters.

Full Transcript. From television episode, The Twisted World of Marge Simpson, original aired on Fox TV on January 19, 1997

Marge buys a pretzel franchise, fails to achieve her sales targets and violence ensues.

3 Responses to The Simpsons, The Mafia and franchising

  1. Carol Cross says:

    Of course, the violence in the “franchising” scenario to date has been self-inflicted by franchisees and is manifested in the “destruction of families” –even suicides when life savings. marriages, and mental and physical health are lost.

    The terrible stress over a long period of time takes its toll on good faith investors in franchises who, under law in the US, are not given material information upon which to assess the risk and the rewards of the investment in a franchise before they buy the franchise. . They invest, unknowingly, by the thousands in unprofitable and high- risk franchises because of the constructive fraud of the so-called mandated government disclosure document and the adhesive, non-bargained, take-it-or-leave it contracts that are upheld in the courts. They are tricked by the appearance that there is some government oversight of franchising that would prohibit franchisors from selling unprofitable and economically unviable franchises to the public under cover of regulation.

    Prospective franchisees have no one to lobby for them and the river of blood from bloody franchises doesn’t flow through the Congress of the US who continue to ignore the malicious flaw in the FTC Rule that has also ignored in 30 years of case law in the US Courts. Obviously, churning and encroachment are central to the durability of franchising, and if there were true disclosure of the risk before the purchase, not at many franchises would be sold.

    Too bad! So sad! Did you publish on the article by P. Dillon in 2006, entitled “Will Franchising Survive As a Business Model Under Canadian Laws and Regulation.” Aren’t Canadian franchisees in somewhat better shape than US franchisees?
    Articles: Ezine — Buying a Franchise! The Great Hoax! A Business of your Own?” — “Buying a Franchise! Look out for the Franchisors Use of Third Parties –Those Sucking Straws who Suck up Good Deals for Themselves.” –“Franchise Regulation Realities — Deception or Patriotism”


  2. Les Stewart says:


    CDN franchisees may be in a better position but that is way too early to tell, even with 10 years of experience in the province of Ontario (50% country’s GDP, 40% population).

    Peter’s article is a fine one but I think he over-simplifies the situation.

    Consequences for predatory actions should be seen as a positive for everyone concerned. Bad franchisors dislike any oversight and “good” franchisors (the theory goes) should prefer or be indifferent with quality improvements.

    I think the industry has not achieved (yet) an accurate reputation for its practices. Sales have NOT spiked because of the recession but nose-dived further.

    This is why everyone is spending so much time trapping military veterans and discounting 1st time sales.



  3. Carol Cross says:

    Yes! I always feel sick at heart when I realize the government has made the Vets and their families the targets of franchisors who will not disclose the risk of the investment in their franchise.

    The Patriot Express Loan Program was supposed to be a pilot program to HONOR the veterans and their families but I suspect that it was primarily an effort to stimulate the failing economy that was heading toward deep recession even as they were debating this pilot program in the Small Business Committee of the Congress.

    I would like to think that some of it was ignorance of the actual failure rate of franchises by some of our elected officials but I know that not all of them were ignorant and uninformed about the fatal flaw in the regulation of franchising that has ruined so many good faith investors in franchises.

    It hurts me that they would again put Veterans at terrible risk without disclosing the risk of an investment in a franchise and the malicious terms of the routine franchise contract that are upheld in our courts.


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