The Rancher, 1955: The Public Be Damned!

The Rancher, 1955: COMMUNITY AROUSED BY 33% INCREASE IN COUNTRY CLUB DUES; DEMAND ACTION
An Editorial: The Public Be Damned!

No one in this community denies the principle of Free Enterprise. Many Country Clubbers are successful businessmen who recognize the necessity of a fair return on an investment. But these men also know there is a big difference between a fair profit and gouging. They know that continued profits depend on customer goodwill, and that the policy of charging “whatever the traffic will bear” is not the American way of doing business today.
Those responsible for running the Country Club have seen fit to foist upon an unprotected public an increase of 33 1/3% in Country Club dues – an increase that is as outrageous as it is unnecessary. This is not a matter against Free Enterprise, since free enterprise does not exist in this case. The pool and tennis courts are a virtual monopoly; the choice is, take it or leave it. There is no competition in the usual sense, for these facilities have become part and parcel of our way of living. This is the “Country Club” we counted on enjoying when we bought our houses. It was offered to us by Levitt as one of the most attractive features of the community. How can the law of “supply and demand” be expected to apply in such a situation?
A great deal of resentment has developed in this community as a result of the unconscionable action on the part of these “business men”.
Resentment against the unnecessarily high boost of 33 1/3%.
Resentment against the insultingly offhand manner in which notice of the increase was made public (as a footnote to the Thanksgiving dinner menu!)
Resentment against their failure to give commensurate value in return for the increase.
Resentment against their refusal to reduce the number of members in the same proportion as the increase in rates
(Their offer: to lower the present 680 quota to 650).
Resentment against their failure to provide sufficient parking facilities to accommodate the big crowds.
Resentment against their arbitrary attitude and callous indifference toward members of our community.
Resentment of the possibility that the commercialized activities of the Club could affect the value of the entire community, by virtue of its almost unrestricted zoning privileges.
The management of the club would be guilty of even greater error if, in addition to their “Public Be Damned” attitude they adopted the smug feeling that “nothing could be done about it”. Stronger forces than they have been brought to bar by an outraged public. No one can safely ignore the anger of an aroused people, and this community, almost to a man, feels that it has been abused by the Country Club’s present management. Our demand is for fair treatment, not gouging; adequate return for our membership dues, not “whatever the traic will bear”; consideration for our comforts, not a “Public Be Damned” attitude.
Residents of the Country Club can rest assured that the RCC Civic Association will do everything within its power to protect their interests and does not intend to take this matter lying down.

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