Earn Good Karma, Read...
A hilarious satire set in a dollar store in Columbus, Ohio and featuring the eccentric, ragtag employees of Dollarapalooza in a moral battle versus the evil corporate empire of Wow-Mart.
This sprawling, comedic epic centers around Vonn Carp, who travels to his hometown of Columbus, Ohio, for a funeral. He is returning disgraced and destitute, when, after a long and productive career in higher education, he was discovered to have falsified his academic credentials 20 years prior. Recently divorced and suddenly unemployable, he reluctantly agrees to join his father, Milt, in what he considers an iffy business venture—Dollarapalooza, a family-owned dollar store.
For Milt the shop is the fulfillment of a lifelong dream for old fashioned mercantilism, a “general” store. The store falls on hard times when a massive, big box “Wow-Mart” opens across the street. Ater a nearly tragic armed robbery in his store, Milt disappears. To the surprise and chagrin of the Carp family, Vonn insists on re-opening Dollarapalooza. Along with the store’s eccentric staff, Vonn fashions an alternative business model aiming to make a difference in people’s lives “one dollar at a time.” For just one dollar, Vonn will answer anybody’s question on any topic, and the citizens of Columbus come to him seeking his opinions on subjects like love, celibacy, anthropology, metaphysics, the Internet, and true value. Through his interactions with the store’s staff and customers, he conceives a way of life with a changed outlook and a restored sense of purpose.
...Milt recalled the lessons that the singing cowboys had taught about lying, in those old white-hat-and-buttered-popcorn Saturday matinees at the Palace Theatre, back when there was a moral to every story, honesty was always the best policy, yodeling was a manly thing to do, bad guys didn’t bleed when they were shot, and grown-ups actually approved of their sons playing with cap guns. Nobody ever doubted that ‘A cowboy must always tell the truth,’ and at the end of the movie, everybody saw why that was so and it made them feel like singing, while the cowboy hopped onto his steed, smiled with a toothy glint, and rode off behind the nearest mesa.
Milt tried to summarize those lessons: “One thing that you learn from watching the Westerns is to keep things simple. That doesn’t mean matters aren’t complicated, but just that it don’t help none to overthink them. My theory is that 100 percent of everything is more complicated than what 99 percent of people could ever realize.”
“What about that 1 percent of people?,” Vonn asked.
“Those are the ones who overthink things. They are the only persons who can really understand anything.”
“And they’re also the only ones who will always, every single time without exception, do the wrong thing...”
Read a longer excerpt at the Goodreads site: