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This week I have one of those “you won’t believe how they treat small business owners” stories that is all too common in today’s world. Just another day in paradise.

Every year a county inspector comes to our office and performs a thorough inspection of our operations. This year a rookie showed up and you probably see where this is going. “I need to see your annual pesticide training records,” he declared, official clipboard in hand. I rummaged through my paperwork but couldn’t find those particular records, and I had no idea how I could have screwed up so royally.

“If you don’t have them,” he said, short and sweet, “I’ll have to issue a cease and desist order right now.” He was literally going to shut down my business. But, he took pity and gave me until the next morning to get the training done. He left and I scrambled to get everything in order. 

But, as I thought it over, something wasn’t adding up. I have a checklist of required training and that item isn’t on it. How could I have gotten it wrong for over a decade? Then it hit me: annual pesticide training isn’t required for my workers because they have a grade of license that exempts them. I knew that, but in my panic I had just forgotten. I called the inspector and told him my guys were exempt. “Uh, well, my boss isn’t here,” he mumbled. “I’ll have to check with him first. I’ll call you tomorrow.”

The next morning, tired of waiting for his call, I called him. “Uh, yeah,” he said awkwardly, “you don’t have to worry about that training.” And if anyone thinks he apologized, then say hi to Peter and Tink and Captain Hook. Hah! 

My secretary Alejandra, unfamiliar with legal jargon, got it right when she called the cease and desist order a ‘decease and resist’ order. “You know, Alejandra,” I said dryly, “it hasn’t gotten to that point yet…. but just give them a few years.” Have a decease and resist week, everyone! 

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