scouts-l Mail Archive for June of 2000: Re: Zero Tolerance & Uniforms
Anthony Mako (ajmako@NLS.NET
Sat Jun 10 2000 - 13:48:50 CDT
<Rick Seymour wrote>
>Lets look at things logically, that always fun!
I would agree, logic is fun! The problem with Scouts-L is that when
"logic" doesn't work, the "Zero Tolerance" types start to fight like girls.
Exactly what is the difference between girls fighting and boys fighting?
OK, but this is not a normal mark-up. My local Army/Navy store sells a
better quality American-made boy's BDU for $19.95. By your logic, it is
reasonable to assume that my local store pays $10 each for them. The BSA's
actual cost is much less because the quality is remarkably lower (these
products are easy to compare), and the quantity is so much higher (millions
I have a question: do you know for a fact that the BSA's actual cost is
"much less"? Even if we concede that BDUs are better quality and cost less,
there are several possible reasons for this:
1) American-made boys' BDUs are generic - the same basic design is used by
many different manufacturers.
2) American-made boys' BDUs can be mass produced accomodating many standard
3) BDU manufacturers aren't required to meet the manufacturing
specifications of the BSA (or any other group).
4) BSA uniform parts aren't generic - the design is specific to the BSA
which means design costs must be included in the overhead.
5) BSA uniform parts need to be produced for "off" sizes as well as standard
6) BSA uniform manufacturers are required to meet the manufacturing
specifications of a single organization.
Let's say the BSA pays $8. Their version of a boy's BDU sells for $34.50,
that is a mark-up of $26.50. If my locally-owned Ma & Pa store can retail a
better product for $19.95, the BSA's profit must be at least the 10% of the
retail that you calculate PLUS THE DIFFERENCE IN PRICE, for a total PROFIT
of $18. That is more than NINE TIMES the profit you are used to, Scott!
Let's say the BSA pays $18 per pair. What happens to your argument then? If
you don't know what the BSA's actual cost is for a pair of uniform pants,
you can't make this argument work for you. If the BSA pays $18 for a pair of
uniform pants, the markup is only $16.50.
>Yes I do agree that the uniform does cost more that most similar clothing
>BSA clothing is also specialized in that a small percentage of the
>it and that also makes the cost higher.
If locally-owned Army/Navy stores can sell American made, boys size $34.50
"Scout Pants" (BDUs) for $19.99, then this is not a logical argument. If
anything, the dynamics of "specialized clothing" work in the opposite
If you're saying "specialized clothing" should be less expensive than
"generic clothing," I'm afraid I don't understand your logic. Specialized
clothing requires the same fascilities to manufacture as generic clothing.
Since generic clothing can be produced in much higher quantities, the cost
of production is spread out over a greater number of units - the more units
you produce, the lower your cost PER UNIT.
An example: let's say it costs me, a manufacturer, $1000 to produce 1000
belt buckles. My buckles are generic, plain-faced "friction" buckles (the
kind used by the military). As long as I produce only generic buckles, my
cost per unit stays at $1. If one of my customers wants a specialized buckle
(like a company logo for instance), I have to modify my machinery to
accomodate his buckles, which adds to my cost per unit. Even if I already
had a stamping machine to stamp the logo on the unassembled buckles, the
cost still increases because of the extra step involved in manufacturing the
buckles and the need for machining the stamp.
In most manufacturing processes, it costs a manufacturer the same amount to
produce 500 units as it does to produce 1000 units (excluding materials).
Slowing the production line down doesn't decrease the overhead, it simply
decreases the output.
Remember that this is a design from the 1970's, when famous dress designers
could get men to wear tight pants and short shorts. Boys are far more
modest now than were their 1970's fathers/grandfathers. To impose this
questionable product of a by-gone era on today's youth is hazing, pure and
While I agree the basic design of the uniform is hopelessly out of date, I
cannot agree on two points: 1) the design has been modified over the last 30
years to reflect some aspects of youth fashion; 2) hazing is a serious
subject - it's probably inappropriate to use it with regard to BSA uniforms.
Like Microsoft, the BSA is a monopoly with a captive population. If the
BSA's concern was really for children and not for wild profits, they would
simply order BDUs from Rothco or MLW Corporation and sew some BSA buttons on
them. This might increase their cost to $10 per unit, but their profit (not
markup) would still be EIGHT TIMES what you are used to in the retail
Your comparison here is hoplessly flawed. Microsoft might be a monopoly, but
it's hardly has a captive population. Microsoft's products do not make it
impossible to use a competitor's products - it's possible to use Corel
OfficeSuite or StarOffice on a machine running MS Office with only minor
annoyances. It's also possible to replace a Window's operating system with
another operating system (Linux, Unix and others). The BSA, on the other
hand, isn't a monopoly. There are literally thousands of other youth
organizations out there competing with the BSA including local youth sports
leagues, church youth groups, and national programs like the Boys' and
Girls' Clubs. Furthermore, the BSA's population is hardly captive.
Eight times the profit multiplied by millions of units! The thing about
monopolies is that too much is never enough.
The BSA's arrogance and greed is loaded gun. Sooner or later someone is
going to notice how obvious it looks amid the dirty laundry of our carry-on
Again, do you know the actual cost to the BSA for a pair of uniform pants?
Once again, assuming the BSA's cost is as low as $8 or $10 allows you to
make your argument work. If, however, you assume a higher cost to argument
There is, I believe, one thing you aren't considering. Even if the BSA's
cost was as low as you believe it is, where do you think the extra "profit"
goes? I know, a lot of folks believe it goes into the pockets of national
level professionals. That doesn't say much for our organization. Profits
from ALL BSA items goes back into the BSA's program. Someone has to pay for
the production of training videos, research and development, production of
program materials, liability insurance, defending the rights of the
organization, and all of the other things that registration fees don't even
begin to cover. Yes, professional salaries are also covered by BSA
Irving should take a clue from Seattle. If you have read the BSA's Charter,
you know that the BSA serves at the pleasure of Congress and this pleasure
is subject to review each and every year! If our enemies weren't so
focused on legislating morality through the Courts, they would see how easy
it would be to simply yank our Charter through the Legislature using the
democratic process as it was intended to work.
And this would stop the BSA from functioning how? Actually, the reason our
enemies haven't tried to get Congress to "yank our Charter" is because they
know it would be phenominally impossible. It would take a pretty expensive
smear campaign on the part of our "enemies" to reverse the effects of 90
years of good will Scouting has generated.
England has six different Scouting Organizations. Think of them as
operating systems. Most people will always prefer a bulky, commercial
Windows-type Scouting, but some of us would be happier with a Linux flavor.
There's nothing stopping anyone from developing a Linux-flavored
organization. Yours in Scouting,
A. J. Mako, Scoutmaster, firstname.lastname@example.org
Old Portage District, Great Trail Council