What happens when War is Declared but Franchisees just Shrug and say: Whatever?

September 7, 2009

TugofWarIn a 24/7, J.I.T., continuous product cycle that the “managers” have lost any competence with or control over?:


Sure: They stamp their little feet for a bit but…

…they show who the weaker and already bankrupt party truly is. Tyrants always overreact and commit credibility suicide in this manner. They’re blinded by their own self-loathing and feelings of inadequacies as men and women.

Executives that preserve their careers by creating a toxic environment for franchisees that breeds 3rd party violence, mental distress, endangering public safety…well, those weasels deserve justice. Absolutely. Contempt to the contemptible.

However, their amorality is beyond any mortal’s capacity to deliver. They deserve everyone’s pity, not attention.

Old School: Franchise relations seen as if it were a tug of war. It isn’t. It’s always been bullshit thinking. It creates a passive defensive posture by our-psyched, intimidated (via education, status, class, profession, white/blue collar) franchisees.

  1. Some might say the aggression starts the moment the contract is signed. You have become less of a person because you have (without knowing it) given up some your human rights (freedom to associate, freedom of speech, etc.).
  2. Some say when the franchisor’s mask of reasonableness falls away (refuse to deal, spend $1 million on litigation before negotiating $1 to franchisees).
  3. How about when a franchisor directly threatens a franchisee leader with a personal lawsuit within 24 hours?

Each of these situations should be weighted by the executive and Board but a new type of franchisee organization (Leaderless Franchisee Network) simply ignores bad behavior.

It seems like an impossible match: a multi-billion $ per year transnational corporation versus a handful of Canadian franchisees.

Bullies can only do two things: Lie and then Sue, sue, sue.

Indeed the most famous example of SLAPP litigation was invented by the franchise bar:  a 10 year battle foolishly launched by McDonald’s U.K. against two penniless demonstrators (McLibel).

There is a perception that people that get sued, somehow deserved it. That is a fiction in franchising. Almost all lawsuits have nothing to do with the stated damages because everyone knows the franchisees have no $ to collect.

Litigation is an economic club used to bludgeon the “uppity” into submission based on the high cost of defence (war of attrition, matching $ for $). An economic and mental health assault; a negotiating tactic without any concept of fair play.

  • That’s dinosaur (top:down, win:lose, pyramid) thinking.

An AFN, exec and Board  doesn’t get sidetracked by such impotent posturing. They realize that 95% of a franchisee group’s actions has zero to do with what the franchisor does or does not do.

Only the intellectually bankrupt hide behind a Bay Street bully lawyer. IndFAs get sucked into that win:lose game.

AFNs don’t operate that way. They risk manager and allow the dinosaurs to commit suicide ASAP.

Corrupt elites are consistently surprised when the good are clever.


Franchisees have a Right to Exist

December 5, 2008

Franchisees and franchisors are separate peoples.


They are nations within nations. Each have natural rights as every citizen in the world has rights.

These obligations exit above mere commercial contract law.

Franchisees: While they may come from different countries, speak different languages in different geographic settings, they more alike than they are dissimilar. They become more and more alike the longer they remain as franchisees.

Franchisee leaders are often singled out for sanctions from franchisors and the industry. It is not just the personal humiliation and shunning. That’s corrosive enough.

  • It gets personal. It really can be seen as one side believing the opposition does not deserve to work: Does not deserve to actually live.

Franchisee leaders being called scum in U.S. congressional hearings. AUS SLAPP lawsuits are used to bankrupt dissent. Media articles are planted to pressure employers to fire advocates. I’ve had corporate head hunters laugh in my face when they find out I am “that” Les Stewart.

  • If there is any hope for retail franchising, this colonial attitude, which is an expression of a totalitarian regimes, must stop.
  • And it must stop immediately.

It is impossible to negotiate a power-sharing arrangement between different but equally-important peoples when one side engages in economic, career and reputational genocide.

In ancient Greece, hubris referred to actions which, intentionally or not, shamed and humiliated the victim, and frequently the perpetrator as well. In modern English, it indicates overweening pride, self-confidence, or arrogance, often resulting in fatal retribution.

The Greeks considered hubris as not ONLY the most serious personal sin but a criminal offence.

  • Their caution is communicated in the story of the winged Icarus and his remarkably skilled father Daedalus.

It is easy to enslave a people when the only alternative is a monopolized Court and political system. Internet-based information sharing of archived, indexed and free industry behavior records shifts the power balance. Forever.

  • Almost universally, indigenous peoples are much more generous with bully conquerors than their behavior ever justified.

Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation, SLAPP

October 19, 2008

Franchisees tend to get SLAPP-ed around a lot

Yes it is a cheap and easy win that sends a message primarily to discourage future troublemakers. But it destroys any chance for dialogue or trust between the bully, the bullied, and the bystander.

This is the main reason you see a lowering quality of behavior by the stakeholders: franchisors, lawyers, franchisees, media, politicians, etc. There are no innocent bystanders in this life: you knew or should have been expected to know. A failure to act is an action.

Definition of a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation, SLAPP is:

a lawsuit or a threat of lawsuit that is intended to intimidate and silence critics by burdening them with the cost of a legal defense until they abandon their criticism or opposition.

Winning the lawsuit is not necessarily the intent of the person filing the SLAPP.

The plaintiff’s goals are accomplished if the defendant succumbs to fear, intimidation, mounting legal costs or simple exhaustion and abandons the criticism.

The last bit is very important as it relates to the franchise industry:

A SLAPP may also intimidate others from participating in the debate. [Wikipedia]

Each trademark franchise system is a complex, long-standing group that has a well developed institutuional memory:

a collective of facts, concepts, experiences and know-how held by a group of people. As it transcends the individual, it requires the ongoing transmission of these memories between members of this group. Elements of institutional memory may be found in corporations, professional groups, government bodies, religious groups, academic collaborations and by extension in entire cultures.

Business format franchising, in general, has its own ideology [beliefs, norms, philosophy].

%d bloggers like this: