Exposing the Dark Underbelly of Happy Town

Greetings from Happy Town, U.S.A.!

Seems this guy Dan Buettner’s got a book on “happiness” coming out this month.

He visited the happiest spots on earth to find out why they’re so damn cheerful. One of them was San Luis Obispo, California, which ranked No. 1 in the U.S. for overall emotional health in a 2008 poll.

I live just minutes from “Happy Town” and didn’t even know it.

Go figger.

Here’re a few reasons Buettner thinks San Luis Obispo has such high spirits:

— The city masters banned drive-through restaurants, which he credits for cutting the town’s obesity rate.

— They’ve forced limits on size and type of signage, which Buettner says makes SLO “more aesthetically pleasing, ratcheting down marketing and decreasing the urge to buy.”

— They’ve required all new office buildings to include bicycle lockers and showers to encourage people to bike and walk to work.

I have just two observations to make…

1. These are all governmental mandates that hogtie or thwart free commerce to further someone’s utopian vision of “public happiness.”

Lesson: If you’re in business, government is NEVER your ally, no matter what anyone says.

2. By what equation does Buettner link these edicts to happiness? He offers no proof that there are links at all.

Lesson: Whether you sell a product, service, or idea — Buettner is selling two out of three — nobody buys if you don’t offer an overabundance of believable evidence.

Hey, I’m not saying that San Luis Obispo isn’t a happy place.

I’ve been a jolly resident of this area for 12 years.

But what makes me happy is its comfortable climate and its proximity to gorgeous beaches, great restaurants, outstanding wineries, and lots of places to indulge my “urge to buy.”

NOT its obstructions to business and voluntary trade.

Keep smiling!

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