A Sound of Thunder

by Ray Bradbury
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How would you characterize the business practices of Time Safari Inc. in "A Sound of Thunder"?  

The business practices of Time Safari Inc. are characterized as disreputable, irresponsible, and dangerous. Time Safari Inc. relies on government corruption to stay open, lacks an appropriate vetting process for potential clients, engages in the deleterious business of time travel, and lacks adequate safeguards to ensure safety. Their entire industry jeopardizes the future of humanity, and the employees they hire are aggressive and impulsive.

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Time Safari Inc. is certainly a disreputable business which relies on government corruption to remain open while jeopardizing the future of humanity to make a profit. Travis explicitly tells Eckels that the government doesn't like them traveling to the past and interacting with the prehistoric environment, which is why they are required to pay a "big graft." Travis's comment illustrates several of the major issues concerning Time Safari Inc.'s business practices. By describing the time-traveling industry as a "finicky business," Travis attempts to gloss over the fact that they risk dramatically altering the history of the world or ending humanity as we know it with every trip they take.

Also, the company clearly lacks an appropriate vetting process to ensure that only experienced, responsible hunters travel back in time. Eckels is a prime example of a person who is not qualified or prepared to hunt a dinosaur. The safari also offers no formal training or assessment to appropriately prepare the hunters for what they are about to experience and the safeguards and rules are lightly enforced. For example, it is relatively easy for Eckels to step off the Path, and an inexperienced hunter could easily shoot the wrong dinosaur.

Another concerning aspect of the company is the way employees like Travis handle their clients. When Eckels panics and accidentally runs off the Path, Travis responds by threatening to leave him in the past. This indicates that there are no guidelines or procedures employees must follow in case of an emergency. Also, Travis's actions reveal that Time Safari Inc. is not interested in hiring the most qualified, rational employees.

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Time Safari is an extraordinarily dubious business venture. Even before addressing the utter irresponsibility which permeates its entire business model (given the risks involved), it is worth noting that the company itself only maintains its existence through government corruption (as Eckels is told, "we have to pay a big graft to keep our franchise"). In addition, it's also worth pointing out that the company lacks vetting procedures for its clients and is dangerously lax about security and safeguards.

Of course, on an even deeper level, the entire business model amounts to insanity, given the risks involved. This is a technology with the capacity to wipe out all of human history, or irrevocably alter it—a fact which Time Safari and its agents are well aware of, but they carry on regardless for the purposes of selling hunting expeditions. The story establishes the disastrous results of this irresponsibility, with Eckels panicking and, in the process, reshaping the course of human history.

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It's safe to say that Time Safari Inc wouldn't earn too many plaudits from the Better Business Bureau. It's a pretty disreputable business which thinks nothing of taking enormous risks with the future of humanity by going back in time and giving big-game hunters the opportunity to bag dinosaurs.

The company has lots of rules in place to ensure that the future isn't accidentally changed, but one gets the impression that these are just there to cover their backsides in the event of litigation. In actual fact, there's nothing to stop any of the hunters straying from the path and taking pot shots at animals whose killing has not been approved by the company. It's therefore deeply irresponsible for Time Safari Inc to put temptation in the way of its clients just so they can get their greedy hands on their money.

No matter how many rules and regulations they may have in place, the company is playing fast and loose with the future of humankind. It is this unspeakable practice above all which makes Time Safari Inc such a disreputable business.

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One could characterize the business practices of Time Safari, Inc. as risky, shady, and questionable. The business model of Time Safari, Inc. is to send people back in time, via a Time Machine, where they can experience the thrills of hunting a prehistoric dinosaur. One of the Safari guides, Mr. Travis, describes the Time Safari as a "finicky business" and mentions that they have to pay a "big graft" to keep their franchise. He also tells Eckels that the government does not want them traveling into the past because of the extreme risk involved. Travis goes on to elaborate on the butterfly effect and emphasizes the importance of following each rule during the Time Safari. He explains the importance of staying on the floating Path, shooting only the specific dinosaur with red paint on its body, and not altering the environment of the past in any way. The fact that Time Safari, Inc. has to pay a "big graft" in order to remain in business indicates that their company is engaged in shady business practices. Travis's emphasis on following the rules and his explanation of the butterfly effect also indicate that Time Safari, Inc. engages in risky business practices. The dangerous nature of the Time Safari coupled with the government's negative opinion of the franchise further illustrate that Time Safari, Inc. engages in controversial, questionable business practices.

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