Business Mogul Resorts to Arson to Take Down His Competition in the Dog-Eat-Dog World of Bouncy Castles
As movie and TV tropes go, there are few that resonate with audiences quite like a powerful business enterprise, struggling to stay on top in a cutthroat world. Succession. Yellowstone. Empire. Mad Men. Going all the way back to shows like Dynasty and Dallas. And virtually every mob movie ever made, plus The Sopranos.
There's just something universal about the appeal of bold, ruthless patriarchs willing to do whatever it takes, legal or illegal, to keep a grip on power. A theme that's been explored by everyone from Shakespeare to the ancient Greeks to the Old Testament. Yet it's as contemporary as today's business environment.
Consider, for example, this Bouncy House Castle magnate and the lengths he was willing to go to keep his empire going:
Source - A man who ran a company offering bouncy castles for hire became obsessed with beating his rivals using any means possible.
James Balcombe, 58, was yesterday jailed for 11 years after earlier admitting 11 charges of conspiracy to commit arson, ABC News reported.
The business owner paid his co-offenders to set fire to their own firms in Melbourne, Australia, in late 2016 and early 2017.
Many of the fires were lit with fuel or Molotov cocktails, and failed to have much effect – except one which was devastating. …
Judge justice Stewart Bayles said: ‘It consumed your every waking moment and you were continually thinking of ways to maximise and advance your business.
‘You wanted to eliminate your competition so you would succeed, your business being the number one business in the industry.’ …
The court was told how Balcombe entered the industry with his business Awesome Party Hire in around 2006, expanding to bouncy castle hire in 2011. …
It took several years to bring Balcombe to justice after he failed to appear in court in 2018 and was later found living under a false identity in Perth.
Justice Bayles said Balcombe’s crimes caused ‘significant loss, suffering and emotional trauma’ and said he had ‘lost perspective’.
To be clear, in no way would I ever try to justify a heinous crime like arson. If I've said it once I've said it a thousand times, "People who live in PVC, vinyl and nylon inflated castles shouldn't throw Molotov cocktails.
But on the other hand, no one said the Bouncy Castle Rental business was a bounce in the park. It's a vicious, competitive industry. First, there are only so many birthdays to go around. And the rise of the over-protective Helicopter Mom has been murder on business. Kids that were raised like free-range chickens, running around at a party while mom sucked down Screwdrivers, smoked Newports and flirted with the handsomest dad, grew up to worry their precious little snowflake is going to get his/her head crushed like one of Gallagher's watermelons in those things. A business climate like this means you're looking at limited demand and too much competition. This situation called for bold and decisive action.
Again, this is not to excuse James Balcome. (Besides, his hairline is unforgivable.) But there's nothing Judge Bayles said that doesn't describe some of the most admired anti-heroes of all time. He was a Coreleone. Awesome Party Hire was his Genco Olive Oil. He built it into his hugely influential crime family. He controlled the Bouncy Castle rackets. For a while, had the judges and politicians in his pocket like so many nickels and dimes. The arson was him taking care of the family business. But he overreached, and destroyed his own empire in the process. Regrettable, to be sure. But also a tale as old as time.