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No carpetbagging allowed

An expert, traditionally, is some kind of out-of-town smart Alec with a briefcase.

He comes to your town and tells you what is wrong with the way you are doing things.

And then he goes about drawing diagrams and making charts, explaining exactly how things ought to be done so that your business can not only thrive and prosper, but how it will pulsate while doing so.

When he finishes up about a week of study and issuing instructions that will put your operation on the road to perfection, he will invariably present you with a (statement) bill that would stagger a Budweiser Clydesdale.

Then, when you set about to follow up on Jack the Ripper's instructions, you suddenly discover that various of your local "experts" already have suggested remedial implementations this jack has included in his format of directives.

As a matter of fact, everything on his list has been considered at one time or another, and most of them were forgotten before the ink dried.

Despite the fact that you may have been duped by this smooth-talking, plagiarizing cat, we must give him his due.

Because he has served a purpose when its all said and done.

After all, he has at least made you aware that the local yokels had offered the proper advice at no cost at an earlier time, and thus they may be more appreciated.

The experience also has been a humbling one for you, but probably worthwhile. At least it should keep you from engaging in a rerun.

We stay wary of imposters who would rearrange our operation at The Advocate.

We remain ever mindful of the fact we have the brains of the elite of our community at our disposal.

Those brains, we are thankful to say, belong to those who publish our newspaper, and others of that ilk.

So, the next time an out-of-town Jasper comes to the Camellia City with the intent, purportedly, to sell his bag of goods, you'll be safer if you cold-shoulder him and seek the advice of one of our own "local" experts.