And Then They Came For Tesla…
Elon Musk has enemies in North Carolina
The North Carolina State Senate unanimously passed a piece of legislation that would make it illegal for Tesla to sell vehicles via their current direct sales method.
This story will no doubt go viral. But this is hardly the first time the greasy palms of North Carolina’s Senate were asked to target a successful business model that threatened a special interest.
If you are an Ebay seller in North Carolina, it is illegal for you to do business in that state without getting a $250 auctioneer’s license that requires renewal each and every year. Fines, criminal charges, attorney fees, and a long lecture from a disheveled yokel from the North Carolina Auctioneer Licensing Board, are all potential risks you take by selling your Furby collection on Ebay if you live in North Carolina.
At first the entrenched powers that be tried to take on Ebay directly, which resulted in copious amounts of laughter and merriment from Ebay headquarters. Along with a terse reminder that Ebay could deplete the financial resources of the licensing board at the drop of a hat.
Since that was unsuccessful, they are now targeting the little guy. Or lady in this particular case.
The state of North Carolina’s Auctioneer Licensing Board is apparently targeting small business owners who have the nerve to use this Internet thingy to auction off personal property. Why? It may have to do with other auctioneers. But as someone who has worked in the auctioneering staff of thousands of sales here in the Southeast I highly doubt it.
This is a money grabbing scheme that enables local auctioneering schools to make a killing along with the state’s licensing board’s desire to remain financially relevant.
Wanna sell your Furby on Ebay little people? It only becomes legal if you first take approximately $1000 worth of classes whose techniques of selling are rooted in open bid calling methods that are amusing to do if you want to be a live auctioneer, but have no real relevance to online sellers.
Then you pay $250 to the government. Welcome to the new economy, North Carolina style!
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Since Tesla's lobbying budget is apparently lower than a collection of small town Chevy dealerships, maybe the way to play this is just to let the law go into effect and just refuse to sell cars in North Carolina. After all, there are 49 other states and 193 other countries to sell in. Just focus on everything outside NC, and let wealthy, environmentally conscious North Carolinians with time on their hands fight the battle for you. The problem is most eBay sellers are either private individuals or small businesses, they just don't have the clout to fight dumb regulations like that, since government doesn't really exist to represent ordinary people. But just wait till some millionaire in Kill Devil Hills or the Research Triangle finds out he can't have one of those fancy Model Ss his peers in New York and LA are tooling around in.
Obligatory NC joke given all the Hitler talk, courtesy of The Simpsons: "Look at what happened to Hitlerville, North Carolina. If they hadn't changed their name to Charlotte, they would have been ruined!"