interesting story on bottom feeders.
First Cash Financial Services Has Standards, Fires Outed Reddit Troll
This goes to show that even the worst corporate actors have standards of decency. It was fine for First Cash to employ Michael Brutsch, the Arlington, Texas man who doubled as Violentacrez, a troll on Reddit – owned by Advance News and recently split off from Condé Nast. But First Cash drew the line on Brutsch after Gawker connected his real name with First Cash.
Before getting into the foul actions that sparked commenters on Reddit to propel Brutsch to the top of Reddit’s subreddits — a collection of online discussion topics — let’s take a look at the business that kept Brutsch employed between 2004 and October 13, 2012 – First Cash.
First Cash runs 720 pawn shops in eight US states and 23 Mexican ones. According to its 2012 10K, it makes loans at rates that “range from 12% to 300% annually.” And those high rates make it very profitable — its revenues are up 24% to $545 million in the last year while profits soared 38% to $74 million as its store openings grew about 10%. The result: First Cash earns fat margins of 13.4% – and it’s trading at a cheap P/E of 18.6.
In earning those profits, First Cash is not above a little mayhem. For example, it employed Brutsch and Gawker suggests that his boss at First Cash knew of about his Reddit work. In case you are not familiar with it – Brutsch, who went by the handle, Violentacrez, was the mastermind behind a broad collection of online filth.
While most of it cannot be described politely, a listing of the names of Brutsch’s subreddits can give you a flavor: ”Chokeabitch, Niggerjailbait, Rapebait, Hitler, Jewmerica, Misogyny, Incest,” according to Gawker.
What does this have to do with First Cash? According to Gawker, Brutsch had told his boss there about his pending outing by Gawker in the week before he was fired. And the question that comes to my mind is how long First Cash knew about Brutsch’s extra-curricular activities before he got fired.
As Brutsch wrote on October 15, “Well, I had already told my boss about the impending article last week. He thought I was exaggerating the potential fallout. So when he called Saturday morning, I just said, “Told you so”. He said not to come in Monday..”
There are no doubt people who believe Brutsch has the right to express himself however he wants. And there are others who believe that First Cash is providing a valuable service to the public by charging people 300% interest rates to borrow money.
The interesting thing to me is that a company that is quite comfortable ripping off the poor by extracting such enormous rates of interest has no problem employing someone who runs a site called R/Jailbait featuring phrases such as “Keep a teen off the streets — put her in your van!” — prompting the outrage of Anderson Cooper.
But what bothers the pawn shop purveyor is that its good name is now connected with Brutsch’s. Or at least it was until it fired him over the phone on October 13.
Even First Cash has standards of decency. See how well the “free market” works!