Small Business and Politics Don’t Always Mix

By Michael Dorausch, D.C.

I had a good reminder today as to why it’s not typically a smart idea to discuss politics in a small business setting. I’ve been a practicing chiropractor in Los Angeles for several years, providing care in a community that represents all sorts of different views and opinions when it comes topics such as politics, sports, and religion. I do my best to keep discussions related to any of those three topics to a minimum, primarily out of respect for the differing viewpoints amongst the people we serve. Today I was reminded why that is a good idea for small businesses.

This has nothing to do with chiropractic, it’s related to something that took place in my community. Over the weekend my car suddenly had a problem while driving along Highway 1 in Venice beach. Fortunately there were numerous automotive businesses right in the area and I pulled into one. A mechanic came out within the time I was out of my car, and my needs were addressed quickly. Some parts had to be ordered so was told come back later in the week.

I had never done business with the place before and when I was told I could take care of the payment after the follow-up service was done I thought that was pretty cool. I left and continue to enjoy a spectacular Southern California beach weekend.

I returned today to pick up the parts and pay for the service I received. I handed the owner my credit card and was preparing to wax poetic about how fabulous their service was, and how much I appreciated what they did for me. I started the conversation by mentioning something about the place being busy and how that was a good thing. The owner than casually stated that we’re all going to hell anyway so it really doesn’t matter how busy any of us are. Huh?

He continued with what turned into a rant on the upcoming presidential election, talk about Muslims taking over the United States, the Antichrist, passages from the Bible, prophecies, and other heated political commentary. He then handed back my credit card, gave me my receipt, said thank you and something about doing business with him again.

It totally put a damper on my whole experience and I left wondering how many other customers heard a similar rant. I also began wondering if this was something taking place regularly in small-business America.

Anybody else having similar experiences? What are your thoughts on small-business owners discussing politics with their clientele?

One thought on “Small Business and Politics Don’t Always Mix”

  1. Small business owners must focus on the bottom line profits of their businesses to survive and succeed. They concentrate on productivity to produce the goods and services for their customers with the needed profit. Owners cannot afford to allow politics to enter their business world, and a vast majority of owners became owners to avoid the political requirements of the bureaucratic corporations.

    I also accept that the political system has been slowly creeping into controlling and further taxing small businesses. Thus, small business owners are receiving more negative affects of the political system still controlled by the high paid corporate lobbying groups. It appears that your mechanic has been a victim of power politics and wanted to vent his frustrations.

    Now I have to also wonder about your agenda. You said that his rantings put a damper on your whole experience. Did you consider it a bad experience because he expressed his politics to you, or because you did not agree with his political views? How would you have rated your experiences if you had agreed with his political views? Did you receive the repair work promised at the reasonable price and time required? It appears that you did. Was there a hidden agenda on your part that you required no other interactions between you and the mechanic, at least that you did not agree with?

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