“Can’t even run a socialist sandwich shop successfully.”

While some people seem to think they can remake all of America into a socialist utopia, the Panera bakery chain just demonstrated that you can’t even run a socialist sandwich shop successfully.

A few years ago, they launched a high-minded plan for a chain of restaurants called “Panera Cares.”  They would help address that “food accessibility” issue by offering a “pay what you can” menu.  Instead of prices, there were donation “suggestions.”  Richer people could give more if they wanted, while the needier could give less, or even eat for free.  From each according to his needs, to each according to his abilities.  Sounds like a winning business plan!

Surprisingly, it has not worked out well.  So many people were coming in to eat for free every day, they had to start limiting the free meals to one a week (so socialism leads to rationing; who could’ve predicted it?)  They also suggested that people who want extra free meals might work for them.  Not much interest there.  Neighbors complained that the stores were magnets for homeless people, who would swarm in for the free food, throw their trash everywhere and crash local property values (those capitalist pigs!)  Eventually, when even rationing didn’t offset the losses, the costs became unsustainable.  The last Panera Cares just closed its doors in Boston.

It all goes to prove that you can’t run a country – or even a bakery – on a half-baked idea like socialism.