Venezuela orders store owners to create a Merry Christmas even if it breaks them

Here in the United States we generally take Black Friday sales, white sales and other Christmas season discounts for granted. Hey… who doesn’t like to save a few bucks? (Even if you risk getting trampled to death at Target.) Not so in Venezuela, though. If you’re going to find a sale there it needs to be approved by the socialist government. But this year the shoppers in that nation are being treated to the opposite effect. Shop owners aren’t in any position to cut their prices in honor of the holidays, but President Nicolas Maduro is in no mood to hear any complaining in the midst of a popular uprising. He’s mandates Christmas sales and some business owners are preparing to head into bankruptcy because of it. (Associated Press)

Ever since Venezuelan government agents put up a giant “Sale” sign in his storefront, crowds have been lining up outside Juan Vieira’s shoe shop.

But he’s having a hard time getting into the Christmas spirit.

“What good is it to sell shoes if I’m giving away my product?”

Stuck in a nasty economic crisis, Venezuela is facing a Scrooge-worthy Christmas this year.

That shoe store is only one of more than 200 businesses in Caracas which were visited by government agents who forced the owners to put up state mandated Christmas Sale signs in the windows. They are being forced to cut their prices to improve the holiday spirits of the starving peasants even if it means they are clearing all their shelves at a loss.

But depending on how much Mr. Vieira charges for his shoes, his other problem may be whether or not his storeroom is big enough to hold all of the money he’s taking in. Thanks to the collapse of the socialist regime’s monetary system, their currently is currently more valuable as wallpaper or fireplace kindling than actual money. The Bolivar is currently trading at a rate to small to measure without a microscope. The largest note currently in circulation – the 100 Bolivar bill – is worth approximately two cents in American money right now. To buy a pair of shoes you probably need to bring along a wheelbarrow to hold all of your cash. This has led the government to solve this problem by… yep. Issuing larger bills. (Fox News)

Venezuela has unveiled six new bills set to go into circulation next week.

Central Bank President Nelson Merentes said Tuesday the new higher-denomination bills would make commercial transactions easier in the country with the world’s highest inflation.

The six new bills ranging from 500 to 20,000 Bolivars will begin circulating on Dec. 15.

Triple-digit inflation and a currency meltdown have left the country’s largest note worth just around 2 U.S. cents on the black market. Currently the largest-denominated bill is 100 bolivars, not even enough to buy a hard candy at a street kiosk.

I do hope you’re all keeping up with events in Venezuela this year because it’s an important object lesson which I’ve tried to drive home here repeatedly. This is how socialism always ends. It never fails. And the bigger a nation is, the faster the collapse can happen. Owning and operating a store can be a dangerous proposition in such a place because, as we’ve seen here, the government can show up on any given day and simply order you to change your prices or policies. This is being done as a stunt by Maduro to cheer up his people (who are actively trying to remove him from office at the moment) but in the meantime he’s destroying the lives and livelihood of the few business owners who somehow continue to operate there.

Consider them more collateral damage I suppose. At least if they have any food stashed away they’re probably in better shape than most of their customers.