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Sometimes Small Business Gets Really, Really Small

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As in petty, selfish and shamelessly exploitative.

Here's a prime example. A California couple, the Fiddlers (let's name names on this story) is hawking a three million year old set of mastodon bones on eBay. It's an almost complete specimen (the tusks are missing). The bidding starts at $115,000, plus shipping and handling of course.

Here's a link to the auction page.

The Fiddlers actually discovered the mastodon remains back in 1997 and to their credit, loaned it out for display to the Oakland Museum for a few years. That's exactly where a find like this belongs, in the care of trained curators and researchers that can properly preserve it, study it and display it for others.

Now, undoubtedly, some master of the universe will buy it and have it shipped to display in their back yard as a status symbol or to amuse their over-indulged children.

I'd like to take this opportunity to name the names of those involved in this irresponsible abuse of our prehistoric past:

Shame on the Fiddlers, for selling out.

Shame on eBay for allowing their site to commercialize a find that should belong to all of us.

Shame on SoldOnline of The North Bay, a online consignment shop that specializes in selling other people's stuff on eBay for a commission. The store is based in Petaluma, CA and they've published their store number on the auction page. Feel free to call them and tell them how you feel. Maybe, they'll come to their senses and change their mind.

I find it ironic that they actually have the nerve to talk about the popularity of the mastadon with kids while on display for the Oakland Museum, noting many school children walked away from the experience saying they wanted to grow up to be paleotologists or archaeologists. SoldOnline uses this as a selling point; completely missing the more important point that these moments will forever end once the mastodon ends up in private hands.

For those of you that read this blog on a regular basis, you know I am a great admirer of American ingenuity and entrepreneurship and a champion of small business (which more often displays a higher level of ethics than larger soul-less enterprises).

This is not an example of that. This is a perversion of that.


Last updated: Mar 17, 2008




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