Gene checks out the New Bae in town
Me: I will admit that the taste is slightly different, and I am very slightly less revolted by New Bae than I am by Old Bay, but I can't really back you if you are a copycat product. So please tell me why you are not. I promise to be really gullible. Now, to begin with, do you feel New Bae tastes like dandruff from corpses and rust from toilet fixtures?
Bill: Well, we're not marketing it that way.
Me: Good, good! We're halfway there. Now how else are you different?
Bill: We are more complex and fiery tasting. But most important, New Bae is a fully organic product and Old Bay isn't. No pesticides and chemicals are used in growing our products. Plus, Old Bay is in a plastic container and ours is glass. Glass is inert. There's no chance that it transfers chemicals to the product.
Me: So Old Bay kills people!
Bill: I don't believe that.
Me: Work with me here, Bill.
Bill: I don't necessarily believe that.
Me: Good job. I am going with you guys. But I have one demand. It does me no good if your very similar product kills Old Bay but takes over the same mammoth market and spreads just as widely. Then I will have to hate you, too. So do you promise to accept only reasonable profits -- perhaps enough to buy a Swiss chalet or two, but not, say, the entire island of Tahiti -- by not getting greedy? Do you promise to limit your reach and your spread? To not become just as much of an impossible-to-avoid blight on the human palate?
Bill: Business can be a driver for good. ...
Me: Work with me here, Bill!
Bill: I promise.
Me: We're good to go.
Gene Weingarten can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter, @geneweingarten. Chat with him online Tuesdays at noon Eastern at www.washingtonpost.com.
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