Antitrust for Kids: A Grinch-Inspired Account of Competition at Christmas






Author:  Molly Donovan

Every Pricer in Priceville liked Christmas a lot.

But the Government, eastward in DC, did NOT!

The Government hated the whole of the season!

Please don’t ask us why. No one quite knows the reason.

Whatever the reason, they could have been nicer,

But the DC’ers hated each one of the Pricers.

For they knew every Pricer in Priceville besides

Was busy now, pricing the presents and pies.

“And they’re working together,” the Government said,

“I just know that they meet about prices instead

Of selling things solo like each of them should,

Pricers join forces, collude!, they’re no good!

And to stop them from meeting this year, we are sure,

That cancelling Christmas is NOT premature.”

But the Pricers, let’s look at their side for a spell,

Is it really that evil or scheming to sell

Yoyos and slinkies together as teams?

So that each of the Pricers gets some of the beans!

“Sharing is caring,” that IS what they say,

To children at school, “TOGETHER you play.”

“No, no,” from DC, “the consumers get hurt

If we let Pricers reap all this money unearned.

Competing, we say, is the only true way

For consumers to pay what is fair that they pay.”

(And besides, the Government hates the Roast Beast,

That all of the Pricers prefer as their feast.)

“Why for many a year we’ve put up with it now!

We must stop this Christmas from coming! But HOW?”

Then the folks in DC, they got an idea!

A wonderful, awful, newfangled idea!

Leniency! That is the thing we must do.

Make them turn on each other! First him and then YOU!

The ones who don’t talk will pay fines and then worse

Sentenced to prison, recidivists first.

And they chuckled and said in DC, “What a trick!

After this they will quit their cartels rather quick.

They will all be upset, each one with the other

No Pricer will come to the Roast Beast-ly supper.”

The Government didn’t need reindeer or Max,

All it took was a wink and they came running fast.

The Pricers who worried that punishment’s coming

Spilled tea on their friends and their bosses and cousins.

Did Christmas get stopped? Yes it did and here’s why.

The Pricers stopped making the presents and pies.

They were sitting instead in rooms with no windows!

Confessing, “I did it and now you watch Winslow!,

He’s doing it, too, I have seen it myself!”

So when Winslow hears this, he stopped carving toy elves.

Pretty soon there was no one with nothing to say

To each other, not even “A Good Christmas Day!”.

But those who confessed, they were saved, it went fine,

DC sent them home without paying a dime.

And did THEY resume business, get back in the game?

Well, most stayed away, quite afraid and ashamed.

Closed up the toy stores, the boutiques, that was that

No Christmas could come, no toy balls, no new hats.

You all must be asking, well what happened then?

I’ll tell you, but soon this long story must end.

Just one Pricer left and he sold winter coats.

He alone was in Priceville with business afloat.

With nothing to do now, the Government cried,

Without the cartels, Section 2 we will try!

So the coat guy they watched everyday like a hawk.

For him to abuse all that strength that he’s got.

But they did learn a lesson, their hearts grew a bit.

To be nicer and softer, they said they would quit

Being stricter than strict if you STRIVE to comply

But some badness still happens despite your best try.

And the Pricers, they liked that and some did return

Some went back to their stores and they say that they learned.

Selling frisbees, red trucks, little dolls and fishhooks

Could get done, and done well when you sell by the book.

And the folks in DC, even they had a feast

To celebrate that, even they ate Roast Beast!

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