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Sunday, 27 December 2009

The new black market: don't get caught holding the sardines

After the second world war, when I was already middle aged, ha! there was a joke going round about a crate of sardines.

One of the boys on the black market liberated them off the back of a lorry, and sold them on to a pal, who sold them on to his pal, and so on. Eventually one guy opened a can to see what they wee like.

They were rancid, foul, inedible. He rang his friend to complain. "Have you tasted these bleeding sardines? They're foul, disgusting. What a liberty!"

He was greeted with roars of laughter. "What are you playing at? Are you insane? They're for buying and selling, not eating, you schmuck."

And that, friends, is a brief parable that explains why the world's economy is now in shit.

It is also highly relevant to the way so many people are persuaded to buy miracle courses on how to sell when they have nothing to sell, and nobody to sell to.

I was talking to Ken McCarthy about this a couple of weeks ago over lunch. He does give advice on what to sell before his system seminars, and I now recall that I give a long list early in my book Commonsense Direct and Interactive Marketing.

That book is a constant puzzle, mingled blessing and curse to me. Year after year it keeps going, which is good, but year after year I have to keep revising it. Aaargh.

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