Dear Friend & Subscriber,
My cat is despicable.
I hate him. When I first got
him, he was the cutest thing I'd ever seen. Barely old enough to be weaned, a
fuzzy, little black and white ball of fur with trusting little blue eyes that
could charm the world. I'd walk down Ocean Drive with him and I could never
get even half a block without some pretty girl stopping me so she could pet
All that's changed now. He's
gone psycho on me. He zooms around the office like he's O.D.'d on meth. He
bites. He stalks. He lunges. He attacks... and... in general, he makes himself
as much of a pain in the ass as is within his feline capabilities.
I'm as cruel to him as I know
how to be. I hit him, shake him, kick him, throw him against walls... plus... I
do truly terrible things to him with a hot fork.
There are certain people in
this world (like Karen Redpath) who believe cats can do no wrong. They always
have some excuse, some "reason why" shitty behavior on the part of a cat should
be tolerated: He was weaned too soon; he's still a teenager with raging
hormones; you're feeding him the wrong food; his litter-mates shunned him; or
Personally, I don't give a
damn. If something bites and scratches and attacks me, I'm gonna fight back. In
the case of Alfred, one day I had an inspiring thought. I picked him up, stroked
him gently, looked into his trusting kitty-cat eyes and said, "I'm gonna have
your nuts cut off!"
And so I did.
It helped, it really did. It
didn't cure him but, it did slow him down and I don't have to use the fork on
him quite so often these days.
Here's a related story...
and... as Dave Barry would say, "I am not making this up. I swear
A couple weeks ago I'm riding
in a car with a mild-mannered friend of mine. We're going to downtown Miami to
get some copies made or something. We're zipping across the 5th Street Causeway
and we come to our exit. Like all good little motorists, when we turn off and
come to a stop sign... we stop.
And we are immediately
descended upon by two tough-looking black teenagers with a bottle of Windex and
a handful of filthy rags. My friend tries to wave them off. He gestures and
shakes his head "no" very emphatically. It didn't matter. They were like "human
Alfreds"; they wouldn't stop. They start to spray goop on the windshield.
Wanna know what my friend does?
Without saying a word, he puts the car into reverse, backs it up... then... puts
it in drive and charges right at them! They squeal and yell like stuck pigs.
They are outraged and very vocal about it. So guess what else? My friend
backs up... and... goes for them again!
Strangest of all is my reaction. I
know this sounds insane... but... I was glad about what my friend was doing. I
wasn't expressing it outside... but inside... I was cheering him on.
I know it's not right. You
can't go around running people down because they're annoying you. But damnit,
there is so much annoyance in modern life, it's no wonder people "snap"
every once in a while.
Remember that case (a few years
back) of the teenage boy who was in the Middle East somewhere and he was spray
painting graffiti all over whatever town he was in? Remember how the news media
in this country was outraged his punishment was to be tied to a post and given
'x' number of lashes?
My immediate reaction when I
heard that was, "Good! If the little bastard can't take an ass-kicking, then
he should learn how to act like a decent human being."
I was ashamed of those
feelings. But then, I read a poll which said... 80% of Americans felt the
same way I did!
The people of America are, I
believe, finally getting fed up. We've nearly reached the stomach-turning point.
We have "compassion fatigue". The fact your great granddaddy was a slave or your
parents wouldn't let you have a puppy when you were five doesn't cut it as good
reasons... why... you should not be held responsible for your actions (I'm not
even going to mention the ungrateful slimebags in the Middle East). What it's
coming down to really is...
The Producers Versus
Another true story: Years back,
I met Connie Stevens, the singer. The one who used to be married, I think, to
Eddie Fisher. Ms. Stevens is a great champion of American Indians and she would
have charity get-togethers to help them. She wanted me to help her with her
efforts so I went to one of those gatherings. It was pathetic. All those dorks
standing around at this cocktail party moaning about how unfair the American
Indian has been treated.
I found it all pretty
disgusting until a guy next to me... an Indian... said, "This is all
bullshit. Indians don't need charity. They need to get off their asses and go to
work. The real 'Indian Problem' is most of them are just a bunch of lazy
He's right. America offers the
same opportunities for American Indians as it does for what you might call
American Americans. But, I'll tell you this: If you let any group of people suck
on the government tit for free for a long enough period of time... they'll come
to believe... the world owes them a living.
By and large, Indians suck.
Basically, they're scum. I feel free and clear to say this because (1) I have to
believe what my eyes see, and (2) because, by and large, I, myself am
Alas, I digress. Let me make my
point and then move on. Listen: We've tried welfare. We've tried food stamps.
We've tried locking people up. We've tried program after program after program.
So, henceforth and thusly, I suggest unto thee...
Let's Give Castration
It's simple. It's fast. It's
cheap. And, it's effective. Denmark uses it on sex offenders and it works like a
By the way, did you know child
molesters are never cured? They never stop their behavior except
when they're locked up, executed... or... castrated.
I propose we do full castration
on all habitual criminals and a "partial" on all first offenders. Imagine this
scenario: Rufus Slimeola and his merry little group of gang-bangers are cruising
in their tricked-out Bronco with their bowel movement music going full blast.
They spot some pretty girls and get out of the Bronco to talk with them. Rufus
pulls one of them into an alley, beats her, rapes her, then kicks her a few
times and moves on.
He gets reported to the cops
and he gets picked up. No big deal. Rufus has been arrested 17 times before.
Usually, he ends up spending a few days inside visiting with his homeboys and
often, it doesn't even come to that. Actually, more often than not, Rufus walks
almost immediately because... there are so many "Rufuses"... the "system" just
can't handle them all.
Check this out: If you
want to go to jail for stealing a car in Miami, you have to do it nine
times. That's no joke! There's so much crime here, the sentence guidelines say
you've got to be guilty nine times before you do even one day of time.
Which means, of course, you're probably going to have to steal 200 or 300 cars
before you're actually caught and found guilty nine times.
Back to Rufus. This time
Rufus is not taken to the holding tank. Nobody gets him a lawyer. Nobody reads
him his rights or bothers to listen to his "attitude rap". Instead, he is
immediately taken to an infirmary, strapped down, given a local anesthetic and
one of his testicles (my damn cat is eating part of my newsletter now) is
removed. He's bandaged up and released with a friendly warning...
Rufus... we got one of 'em now... and... if you ever do wrong again...
snip-snip... there goes the other!"
This would get Rufus'
attention. Especially if all the cops would start wearing little gold scissors
pinned to their shirt collars.
Any of this got anything to do
with marketing? Any of this have anything to do with you making a buck?
You betcha! What you've just
read is going to serve as an introduction to what just might be the most
powerful marketing concept I've ever come up with. No! No! No! I am
not suggesting we castrate the non-buyers. That might be going too far...
even by my standards. And besides, some petty, little bureaucrat would probably
find something wrong with the idea anyway.
No, what I really want to
introduce you to here is a concept I call "EPC" which stands for...
"Engineered Paradigm Change"
First, just in case you haven't
had your coffee yet, let me explain what a "paradigm" is. It's pronounced
"para-dime" (like in penny, nickel, dime) and it is the frame of reference in
which we operate.
A book by Stephen L. Covey
tells of the following incident: A father is on a subway with his two young
sons. They are out of control. They're howling, and jumping up and down and
running around like bats out of hell. In other words, they're acting like my
During all of this, the father
makes no effort whatsoever to discipline his children. He just sits there with a
blank look on his face, oblivious to the pandemonium created by his kids.
Finally, one of the other
subway riders can't take it anymore. He approaches the father and says,
"Excuse me Sir, but your children are out of control. They are upsetting
everyone on this train. Don't you care at all? Aren't you going to do anything
Then the father replies, "Oh
my gosh! I'm so sorry. We just came from the hospital. Their mother has died and
I'm pretty much out of it. I don't know how to handle it and I guess they don't
The other subway rider goes
through an immediate change. He's no longer angry. His anger has been
replaced by compassion, he now wants to help.
What has happened to that
fellow subway rider is... he has undergone a paradigm change. His frame
of reference is now very different. The "context" in which he views and
evaluates the behavior of those out-of-control children has been completely
Now, know this:
Most Paradigm Changes
Happen By Accident!
You're in an office and some
dull clod invites you to a business-related dinner party. You know it's gonna be
so boring, you'll hardly be able to stay awake. You're about to offer up a great
excuse... when... all of a sudden... a splendid-looking young lady with an
utterly dazzling smile interrupts to ask what the "dress code" is for the party.
Instant Paradigm Change!
What was, an instant ago, a
suffocatingly, boring business/social obligation has now become... an
opportunity for excitement! And nothing changed about the event... except...
the context in which you were relating to it.
In the movie about Clark
Gable's life, it starts by showing how he first met Carol Lombard who later
became his wife. What happened was, she was going to a Hollywood party when she
was jumped by a small group of really nasty guys. As she was trying to fend them
off, Clark Gable happened by, saw what was going on, and came to her rescue. He
waded right into the middle of that deal and beat the living shit out of the bad
Her relief was profound. She
had an immediate "endorphin dump" which means pleasure-creating brain chemicals
began to flood her system. This endorphin dump almost always occurs when someone
suddenly experiences a huge relief from stress.
Clark Gable couldn't have
engineered a better beginning to his relationship with Miss Lombard. There is
nothing which makes a person as immediately affectionate for you as you
So, in this case, Clark Gable
sure was lucky, right?
Nope. Luck had nothing to do
with it. You see, Clark Gable did engineer that fracas. Those "bad guys"
weren't really bad guys at all; they were, in fact, studio stunt men who were
doing Clark Gable a favor and making sure he got off on the right foot with the
woman he was so attracted to. In other words, what we're talking about here
An Engineered Paradigm
The message is: If the context
in which you are working isn't working for you... change the context!
You know, when my mother died,
I was naturally very affected. I remember a few times being in sort of a fog and
having to apologize to people, "I'm sorry. I just learned my mother has died
and I'm not thinking too clearly."
What would happen is, a person
who was annoyed with me would now become immediately sympathetic and want to be
helpful in any way he or she could.
John Carlton told me about a
girl he knew in college who, whenever she missed a class, would use the excuse
her grandmother had just died. The problem was, she "killed off" her grandma so
many times, it became a struggle to remember which teachers she had used that
ploy with and which ones she hadn't. Clearly, if you're gonna "kill off" your
loved ones to engineer a paradigm change, you need to keep careful note of what
you've told whom.
OK, so maybe killing off loved
ones is a little gross. How about something less gross... but still... very
effective? So, let me tell you...
How I Invented
A lady friend of mine was
staying in a hotel in Orlando. It was a huge hotel and they must answer 1,000
calls an hour. Their standard telephone greeting is, "Blah Blah Hotel, please
They don't even give you a
chance to talk. You're left there holding the phone for an eternity
listening to some vapid, canned music. Finally, disgusted, you hang up, wait a
while, and then call again. Same thing, "Blah Blah Hotel, please hold."
Over and over, it was making me crazy.
So, about the 7th time I
called, before the person on the other end could even get started, I blurted
Emergency! Do Not Hang Up. This is Doctor Feingold. One
of my patients is
a guest in your hotel and I must speak with her immediately!"
I got right through.
Does this seem a bit
underhanded to you? It doesn't to me. When you think about it, what I did...
did not hurt anyone. All it did was, get me the simple connection I think I
was entitled to in the first place.
Look, the way we're all treated
today is unfair. We are reduced to being instantly put on hold or trying to
communicate with "voice chips". I think Southern Bell here in Miami is having an
efficiency contest within their employee ranks to see who can get their
customers off the line the fastest... preferably... without even talking with
For example, if you dial 411
for information here in the Miami area, you will not get a human being.
You will get an infuriatingly syrupy "female" voice chip asking, "What City?"
Then it waits for you to answer and it asks, "What listing?" Then it
waits for you to answer again and it says, "Thank you." Then you get
another voice chip giving you the phone number.
At least, that's the way it's
supposed to work. Often enough, it screws up. I just called to get the number of
the Delano Hotel and ended up with the DeLido Hotel. And I had to call
information again (another $1) to get the right number.
But, that voice chip really
can't tell what you are saying. All it responds to is sound.
There's an operator lurking in the background listening to what you're saying so
she can get that automated system of hers to give you the number you need
without her having to dirty her hands by actually talking with you. (Does that
work as a metaphor?)
Here's what I do now: The voice
chip asks, "What City?" and I yell...
Then, just like I had made an
intelligent response, it asks, "What listing?" and I repeat a little
And the voice chip says,
"Thank you" and an operator comes on and, although she's upset (personally,
I don't give a damn) she actually talks with me.
(Dr. Feingold manifests himself
in many ways.)
Here's how I used to
engineer a paradigm change when I was selling encyclopedias door-to-door.
What they trained you to do was, dress up in a suit and tie, go to somebody's
door while carrying a huge briefcase, knock loudly on the door... and... when
someone opens it, you give them a big shit-eating smile, paw your feet back and
forth on the ground (really) and ask if you can come in.
Think about what that homeowner
sees when he opens the door: An eager beaver, pushy person...
Who Has Salesman
Written All Over Him!
Natural reaction of the
homeowner? Tense up, get rid of him, tell him you're not interested.
Now, compare that encounter
with this one: You (the homeowner) open the door and about five yards away, a
young man is standing with his back to you looking at the flowers in your yard.
He's wearing a neat, short-sleeved shirt and he doesn't turn around when
you open the door. He appears preoccupied. After a few seconds, you ask if you
can help him. He turns around slowly with a shy smile. "Sorry, I didn't hear
you open the door," he says. "I guess I got a little wrapped up in
looking at your flowers. Listen, I think maybe I've got the wrong house. I'm
looking for the Buckwheat family."
"No," you say, "this
is the right house. I'm Mr. Buckwheat."
"Oh good," replies the
young man. "I've been asked to get in touch with you. May I come in and talk
with you for just a minute?"
Bingo! Sir Gary Of Halbert
Busts Another Door!
My first direct mail success
was the result of an engineered paradigm change... and... I've been using it
ever since. Think about it: Most direct mail packages are like that door-to-door
salesman. They begin screaming right from the envelope, "I want to sell
you something! I want to sell you something!"
My letters, as you know, almost
always "sneak-up" on people. I think it's a big mistake to "telegraph" your
intentions when you are selling. A little "warm-up" goes a long way.
How do we use this insight to
increase our marketing profits? There are many ways and they are very effective.
I'm going to give you about a week to ponder this subject and then I'm going to
explain to you in exquisite detail how... what you have you just read in this
letter... can increase (by a large percentage) the amount of fungolas in your
bank account. I suggest you re-read this letter several times to make sure you
fully understand what I've written and are 100% prepared to immediately
utilize the EPD profit-making techniques I'm going to share with you in the next
edition of this newsletter.
In the meantime, I've made
myself a strange promise.
I've decided to write something
new and have it posted on my website (www.TheGaryHalbertLetter.com) every single
day for the rest of my life. I've decided to call these little nuggets of
So, every day from now on, you
can go to my website and read something new! EVERY day! Seven days a
week, 365 days a year. This will be separate from my monthly newsletter.
Much of what I write will be
marketing tips. Some of them will be wry observations on something which has
amused me. Sometimes they will be vulgar and profane. Collectively, they will
serve as an exhaustive written documentation of my abject insanity. This is
where I'm gonna let it all hang out and write EXACTLY what I want to write. I do
censor myself slightly when I write my monthly newsletter. But, not when I write
There are already 21 of these
written and posted on the Internet. You'll find them at
www.TheGaryHalbertLetter.com/HOTD/ "HOTD" stands for "Halbertism Of
Check it out. You might learn
something... plus... you might read something that amuses you and lightens your
It's up on the Internet right
now and... don't forget...
There Will Be A New One
Posted Every Single Day!
Gary C. Halbert
think of anything to write as a "P.S." this month. So sue me.
Copyright © 2003 Gary C. Halbert. All Rights