The Parable of the Apple Store


Downtown on Main Street, outside on the sidewalk in front of the apple store, the shop owner has bins of apples out for sale, but people keep taking the apples as they walk by. The owner keeps putting more signs up asking people not to take them, but people still do. The owner tells people that he’ll go out of business if they keep stealing the apples, but they do anyway. They don’t care, and they tell the shop owner his business model is outdated and that he should “adapt” to the current state of the world. At one point, he tried to bring the bins inside the store to control his rights and protect the apples, but people just kept breaking in and putting them back outside. So he took them back outside, and they kept getting stolen.

People justified their actions saying the apples were being sold for too much, so it was okay for them to take them. Other people pointed out that the tree was where the apples came from, and they grew from it without costing the shop owner anything to reproduce them, so it was okay that they took them. Other people said they buy t-shirts with the shop name on it, so since they supported them that way, it was okay to steal the apples. Finally, other people said it was what was best for the apple store, because it helped get the store’s name out there. Nobody cared what the apple store owner wanted, or respected his rights to do what he wanted with his fruit. They just took it and said it was his fault for not figuring out a way to keep people from stealing it.

The owner wasn’t a franchisee of a major chain, he was just an independent store owner, he grew his own apples, and they were just about the best around. That didn’t matter to anybody. Eventually, he couldn’t sell enough apples and could no longer afford to pay his bills and feed his family, so he just closed up the store. All that was left was the major chain’s rotten, chemically-treated and artificially-produced fruit.

I guess it’s the owner’s fault, because he should have found a way to give away the fruit and somehow make money some other way. He should have “adapted” to a society that felt it had the right to steal. Yeah, he has nobody to blame but himself.