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One of my high school teachers gave me a copy of How to Be Rich by J. Paul Getty. The book had a lot of good stuff in it, but even after all these years one particular point Getty shared in his book has stuck with me.

In one of the later chapters, as he was reflecting on the lessons life had taught him, Getty wrote about his cousin. His cousin wasn’t wealthy in the financial sense, but, as Getty put it, he had scores of friends and seemed to make more wherever he went. He described his cousin as sincere, relaxed and carefree, exactly the kind of person anyone would like to have as a friend. He said he was the kind of fellow who could just have a good time no matter what he was doing. And Getty went on to say that he actually envied his cousin just a little bit for that. Getty was a billionaire in an age when being a billionaire was much more rare than it is today, and he felt like his cousin had something he didn’t have and would never have despite his great wealth, or perhaps even because of it.

Among the many things I’m grateful for, year-round, is to have you as a reader of this BLOG. Heck, I’ll bet people envy me for having readers as great as you!

From our family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving!

Count your blessings, not your troubles.” – Dale Carnegie


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Crowd.jpgRetailers light up when they talk about “Black Friday.” This is the Friday right after Thanksgiving where they offer all kinds of crazy deals and hope to start to show black ink instead of red for the first time during the typical year.

I’ve already shared how I feel about the Super Bowl, and I have similar feelings about Black Friday. I think marketers are looking at the wrong things when they examine whether or not what they’re doing on these particular days is “good marketing.”

The idea is to get a stampede of customers into your store before the crack of dawn and get your inventory in their eager hands before your competitor does. The opportunity to get a jump on holiday sales is there, but does this tactic really net positive results?

First, there is that whole issue of the stampede of customers. The customers get pitted against each other in a viciously competitive way that hardly reflects the holiday spirit. I also don’t think it does much for the brand of the store or the product when the television news leads with a story about how one granny broke the other’s nose fighting over the last Tickle Me Elmo at Wal-Mart.

Assuming the sales events are non-violent, I still question whether they are really that productive. The merchandise is already offered at a discounted price and probably at a lower overall profit margin. The run on the store requires additional resources in the form of added personnel and such, which of course drives up overhead and can also eats into profit margins. Doesn’t that then push the elusive goal of producing black ink instead of red for the first time all year back just a little further?

I think my favorite Burtism, “Don’t cut the price, build the brand!” applies here as well as anywhere. And as I mentioned a few years ago, I think the online retailers are doing a better job of delivering in this area. Translation: Amazon.com RULES!

Price is what you pay…Value is what you get!” – Warren Buffett

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