No amount of “woke” will overcome a bad product.
Take three recent examples: The Anarchist, a coffee shop in Toronto, Canada, the 2023 live-action remake of The Little Mermaid and another “pay as you go” coffee shop in Glasgow, Scotland. Coffee shops and a Disney movie both sound promising, but when you get into the details, you can see all the ugly disasters they were trying to hide.
The Anarchist was a “pay what you can” anti-capitalist shop. Sims-Fewer, the owner, wrote on a frequently asked questions page that his “pay what you can” pricing scheme for drip coffee was meant to make coffee more affordable. “I hate how everything in specialty coffee is so inaccessible to working class people, and inhospitable to everyone but the white upper middle class. That’s also why I continue to scrutinise my prices and look for opportunities to lower them. Maybe when the shop has a couple more workers, allowing us to make significantly more drinks per day, we’ll be able to do an across-the-board price cut.”
The “woke” was strong with this one, but he ultimately lost profit because there weren’t enough customers. Paying customers, that is—the owner constantly lost money until he eventually closed one year later.
If his product had been good, and his place nice, this might’ve been a different story, but he replied solely on the “woke” to get him business.
The same could be said for the latest casualty of the “culture” war.
A “queer, anarchist ‘pay-what-you-can'” cafe in Glasgow recently had to shutter due to financial difficulty. Like Sims-Fewer’s attempt to settle the score between the “haves” and the “have-nots”, The Pink Peacock, which was opened in 2020 by an anarchist collective, made the announcement on its website that the staff could not maintain the business.
The reality is that keeping a business alive is hard. Giving things away from free, no matter how much companies would like to do so, is not feasible nor sustainable. It’s a failure of epic proportions. You can’t “woke” yourself into success.
That reminds me, yet again, of The Little Mermaid disaster.
It was a shameless copy of the animated version, stealing all plot moments and “good will” to use for itself. The only thing it brought to the table that was new, that the cartoon didn’t have, was “woke” diversity (even though it now makes you question where the film even took place?) Some reviewers said it should’ve had open slavery, due to the time frame and location—another bizarre notion that the woke are eating themselves because they can get nothing correct.
In the end, The Little Mermaid wasn’t a good movie. It relied on the “woke” to make it money. And it’s just a terrible business plan that needs to be ditched.