South of Jewfish Creek

Dear Friend & Subscriber,

I've been working long, hard hours these last few months.

And don't be jumping to conclusions thinking, "Aha! I knew his stock system was a lot of work." Because, my friend, you'd be dead wrong.

I've been working long, hard hours teaching my students my stock system. You know, there are only so many hours in the day and to teach each and every one eventually takes its toll on you. Even if you enjoy doing what you're doing.

So this month, I've decided to lighten my own load of writing my newsletter. I've decided, being the male chauvinist pig that I am, I want to share with you some keen insight into...

100 Reasons Why
It's Great To Be A Guy!

1.        Phone conversations are over in 30 seconds flat.

2.        Movie nudity is virtually always female.

3.        You know stuff about tanks.

4.        A five-day vacation requires only one suitcase.

5.        Monday Night Football.

6.        You don't have to monitor your friends' sex lives.

7.        Your bathroom lines are 80% shorter.

8.        You can open all your own jars.

9.        Old friends don't give you crap if you've lost or gained weight.

10.      Dry cleaners and haircutters don't rob you blind.

11.      When clicking through the channels, you don't have to stall on every shot of someone crying.

12.      Your ass is never a factor in a job interview.

13.      All your orgasms are real.

14.      A beer gut does not make you invisible to the opposite sex.

15.      Guys in hockey masks don't attack you.

16.      You don't have to lug a bag of useful stuff around everywhere you go.

17.      You understand why stripes are funny.

18.      You can go to the bathroom without a support group.

19.      Your last name stays put.

20.      You can leave a hotel bed unmade.

21.      When your work is criticized, you don't have to panic that everyone secretly hates you.

22.      You can kill your own food.

23.      The garage is all yours.

24.      You get extra credit for the slightest act of thoughtfulness.

25.      You see the humor in "Terms of Endearment."

26.      Nobody secretly wonders if you swallow.

27.      You never have to clean the toilet.

28.      You can be showered and ready in 10 minutes.

29.      Sex means never having to worry about your reputation.

30.      Wedding plans take care of themselves.

31.      If someone forgets to invite you to something, he or she can still be your friend.

32.      Your underwear is $10 for a three pack.

33.      The National College Cheerleading Championship.

34.      None of your co-workers have the power to make you cry.

35.      You don't have to shave below your neck.

36.      You don't have to curl up next to a hairy ass every night.

37.      If you're 34 and single, nobody notices.

38.      You can write your name in the snow.

39.      You can get into a non-trivial pissing contest.

40.      Everything on your face stays its original color.

41.      Chocolate is just another snack.

42.      You can be president.

43.      You can quietly enjoy a car ride from the passenger seat.

44.      Flowers fix everything.

45.      You never have to worry about other people's feelings.

46.      You get to think about sex 90% of your waking hours.

47.      You can wear a white shirt to a water park.

48.      Three pair of shoes are more than enough.

49.      You can eat a banana in a hardware store.

50.      You can say anything and not worry about what people think.

51.      Foreplay is optional.

52.      Michael Bolton doesn't live in your universe.

53.      Nobody stops telling a good dirty joke when you walk into the room.

54.      You can whip your shirt off on a hot day.

55.      You don't have to clean your apartment if the meter reader is coming by.

56.      You never feel compelled to stop a pal from getting laid.

57.      Car mechanics tell you the truth.

58.      You don't give a rat's ass if someone notices your new haircut.

59.      You can watch a game in silence with your buddy for hours without even thinking 'he must be mad at me.'

60.      The world is your urinal.

61.      You never misconstrue innocuous statements to mean your lover is about to leave you.

62.      You get to jump up and slap stuff.

63.      Hot wax never comes near your pubic area.

64.      One mood, all the time.

65.      You can admire Clint Eastwood without starving yourself to look like him.

66.      You never have to drive to another gas station because the one you just pulled into is just too skeevy.

67.      You know at least 20 ways to open a beer bottle.

68.      You can sit with your knees apart no matter what you're wearing.

69.      Same work... more pay.

70.      Gray hair and wrinkles add character.

71.      You don't have to leave the room to make an emergency crotch adjustment.

72.      Wedding dress $2,000; Tux rental $100.

73.      You don't care if someone is talking about you behind your back.

74.      With 400 million sperm per shot, you could double the earth's population in 15 tries... at least in theory.

75.      You don't mooch off other's desserts.

76.      If you retain water, it's in a canteen.

77.      The remote is yours and yours alone.

78.      People never glance at your chest when you're talking to them.

79.      ESPN's sport center.

80.      You can drop by to see a friend without bringing a little gift.

81.      Bachelor parties whomp ass over bridal showers.

82.      You have a normal and healthy relationship with your mother.

83.      You can buy condoms without the shopkeeper imagining you naked.

84.      You needn't pretend you're "freshening up" to go to the bathroom.

85.      If you don't call your buddy when you say you will, he won't tell your friends you've changed.

86.      Someday you'll be a dirty ol' man.

87.      You can rationalize any behavior with the handy phrase, "F*@# It!"

88.      If another guy shows up at the party in the same outfit, you might become lifelong buddies.

89.      Princess Di's death was almost just another obituary.

90.      The occasional well-rendered belch is practically expected.

91.      You never have to miss a sexual opportunity because you're not in the mood.

92.      You think the idea of punting a small dog or cat is funny.

93.      If something mechanical doesn't work, you can bash it with a hammer and throw it across the      room.

94.      New shoes don't cut, blister, or mangle your feet.

95.      Porn movies are designed with your mind in mind.

96.      You don't have to remember everyone's birthdays and anniversaries.

97.      Not liking a person does not preclude having great sex with them.

98.      Your pals can be trusted never to trap you with, "So... notice anything different?"

99.      Baywatch.

100.    There is always a game on somewhere.

Go ahead and say it, "Gary, You Pig!" Whether male or female, I know there was at least one statement mentioned that made you howl.

Now, I must say, I feel better having said all that. And having said all that, let's move onward to what this newsletter is really all about.

Do you ever wonder how much time you have before you absolutely have to get your fulfillment package shipped to a customer? Do you know the two types of ads governmental agencies are always on the lookout for? If you want to use a testimonial which you "bartered" for, do you have to mention that in your advertising? I think these are valid questions which my readers should be well aware of. Thus, I now want to share with you some keen insight into...

The 17 Things You Absolutely
Must Know If You Are
Involved In Direct Marketing!

1.     Your product must be shipped within 30 days of receipt of the order... unless your offering states a different period... or unless you send a delay notice. But that "delay notice" can't just be any ol' nice personalized letter from you. Oh no! It must be in the form required by the FTC (Federal Trade Commission; better get to know those initials well if you're dabbling in direct marketing) informing the customer of the delay... and... offering the option of a refund... and... you must enclose a postage prepaid envelope to facilitate a request for their refund. A violation of this one rule alone can subject you to penalties of up to $10,000 per violation.

2.     There is a difference between guaranteeing all participants will be successful... and... guaranteeing a refund if they are not. A guarantee all persons will be successful may be fraudulent because, obviously, all people will not be successful. Hell, they may not even lift their finger and do anything! But the governmental agencies gave us a way out of this one: A guarantee of money back is not fraudulent... provided it is honored.

3.     If a guarantee is subject to specific conditions, those conditions must be clearly divulged in the offering.

4.     Yet, simply offering a guarantee does not save a fraudulent ad. If your ad or letter contains fraudulent misrepresentations, the fact you bothered offering a money-back guarantee is no defense.

6.     It seems hard for me to believe, but some folks actually send their proposed advertising to the postal service and other regulatory agencies to review to see if it passes muster. If you fall into this category beware, their silence cannot be construed as approval. All you will have accomplished is to be absolutely sure the offending piece comes to their attention.

6.     There are some products which, if you sell them, make it a virtual certainty you will be scrutinized ("Big Brother" is watching). While it may be possible to sell these products honestly, it is almost certain you will be challenged. So, unless you're extra careful, try to stay away from cures for baldness, breast enlargers, weight-loss programs involving magic pills, work-at-home envelope stuffing programs, cures for illnesses such as arthritis, chain letters, and chain referral or pyramid schemes. As I said, they aren't necessarily illegal, but tread lightly.

7.     If you use testimonials in your advertising, you must have copies of the testimonials in your files. Also, if you provided consideration for that testimonial, you must disclose that in your marketing piece.

8.     You cannot whisper the truth and shout a lie. If you try to mention inconspicuously or in a very carefully-worded but otherwise misleading fashion (whispering) the actual truth that the customer must actually do something to be successful in your program... but... you later state with greater emphasis (shouting) in the same advertising that no work or effort is required... the ad will be interpreted to have made the claim no work or effort is required. This is because the advertising piece must be read as a whole. The authorities will consider the main message of the advertising piece to be false.

9.     Not that I think my subscribers would ever do this, but still, I must warn you... the postal service is engaged in cracking down on opportunity advertising... especially... envelope stuffing programs.

10.   In the postal administrative courts, there are cases which indicate having an "Opinion Letter" from an attorney is not a defense. But that isn't true in all cases. In a criminal case or any other case where a monetary penalty might be imposed, the fact you sought legal advice may have a bearing on the issue of lack of criminal intent or good faith. It could also affect the decision of government attorneys as to whether or not they should file criminal charges.

11.   Under the Lanham Act, a consumer who was injured because of mail fraud can bring a class action on behalf of other injured consumers to get refunds for everyone.

12.   Judges of the Federal Courts come from a socio-economic class where they don't think highly of diet ads, opportunity ads, and other "flamboyant" ads which are written in a National Enquirer style. Even though the law states the burden of proof is on the prosecution... in reality... it falls on the defense.

13.   You can be found guilty of mail fraud not only for what you say in your ad or letter, but also for what you imply. Implied claims are those things you don't come right out and say, but what an ordinary reader would read into the ad.

14.   Big Brother says the point of civil mail fraud cases is not to put the operator out of business (and we all believe Big Brother, don't we?). The point, they say, is to obtain a cease and desist order or a civil consent decree which stops you from making similar fraudulent statements in the future. Your goal ought to be to negotiate the terms of a consent decree. The outcome should be restrictive enough to satisfy the government... but... not so restrictive as to prohibit you from running advertising which still pull orders. Hear me well on this point: The attorney's role is critical. Your "family" attorney, real estate attorney, divorce attorney, personal injury attorney cannot handle this case for you. You've got to hire an attorney who has marketing savvy... he must understand what it takes to write an ad that will pull orders. He'll be the one who can guide you as to what you can give up to appease the government... while still... keeping you in business.

15.   Even though cases for mail fraud may be filed civilly, they are more likely to be filed as criminal cases. The reasons are: (a) Failure to deliver the product; (b) Failure to make promised refunds; or (c) Lottery or chain referral scheme.

16.   Another reason you must hire a marketing-savvy attorney is due to the fact postal and FTC cases are not handled like ordinary lawsuits. Most attorneys make the mistake of Answering the Complaint, gearing up for discovery, and "act tough." In some cases, the tough guy approach may be proper but... in almost all cases... the best approach is to at least try to get together with the opposition as early as possible with the hope of working out a win/win solution. The outcome will allow you to continue to operate your business with minimal government interference while still protecting the public. I cannot emphasize it enough: The attorney's role is critical because he must understand not only your needs but also the goal of the government. Remember, judges generally react badly to mail order advertising... and... the mail fraud laws are so broad, it usually is easy for the government to get a victory. The main objective of you and your attorney is to avoid large penalties and a court order which could prohibit you from operating profitably in the future.

17.   Whether the case is filed civilly or criminally for mail fraud, statutes now permit the government to seize real and personal property, including bank accounts which are used in a mail order business or which are traceable to the proceeds of a mail order business. Such seizures can be made without notice and may result in total forfeiture of such assets to the Federal government.

Now just because I shared these "warnings" with you doesn't mean you have to be paranoid when you start writing your letter or ad. The key to writing good copy is to sit down and write. Write like a madman. Spill your guts. Let it flow freely. Don't think about Big Brother or any other negative factor. It's just you and your customer. Don't think about spelling, hyphenation, grammar. These are things you can take care of later.

Then, after you've gotten it down on paper... then... you go back and if need be, clean it up a bit. Are some of your phrases and words too harsh? Too soft? Too bland? Are you too ambiguous as to what you are trying to achieve? And if you're one of those people who have used a computer for this project, did you not only do a "spellcheck," did you actually sit down and read it yourself? You know, the old fashioned way? You'd be surprised at the typos that a spellcheck will let by. I once read the words "doe snot" where it was clearly supposed to be "does not." And while I'm on the subject of proofreading, the absolute best way to proofread is to read it aloud. Turn off the radio, the television, the wife, the kids. Go find yourself a quiet place (your bathroom will suffice if all else fails) and read it aloud.

Then, after you've cleaned it up... then... you go through your checklist. Do I have an outstanding headline that'll grab their attention? Is my introductory paragraph going to whet their appetites to continue reading? Does the body tell them everything they need to know about the product? Did I include testimonials? Did I take all the risk factor by giving them a money-back guarantee? Are the ordering instructions perfectly clear and easy to follow? Did I put in some type of "code" so I can keep track of which list or publication pulled best? Did I mention how long my customer should wait before he receives the product? Did I write Gary Halbert and tell him how much I value all the information he shares with me?

Then, after you've added those items you might have previously omitted... then... go back and proofread it again.

Then, after you've made the final corrections... then... give it to someone else to read. If they say, "Wow, I gotta have this!" you know you have yourself a winner. And then, my friend, you drop your sales letter in the mail like hotcakes or get your ad to its publication via Federal Express.

Go for it. Do something. Get your lazy ass in gear.


   Gary C. Halbert


P.S.    Help me out here guys... tell me what you'd like me to write about in upcoming issues. Or send me "100 Reasons Why It's Great To Be A Gal!" (Like, are there 100 reasons?)

P.S.#2  I cannot take credit for writing "100 Reasons Why It's Great To Be A Guy!" since those trinkets were passed along to me. Do you know what that now means? I also can't take credit for being the male chauvinist pig you thought I was!


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Copyright 2002 Gary C. Halbert.  All Rights Reserved.