12.02.2006

Despair, Inc

We got a flyer in the mail from Despair, Inc. , which is a real company, as unlikely as that sounds. The cover of the slick catalog looks like a Mad Magazine version of a motivational products company's. The photo on the cover looks like a typical positive image of a whale's flukes emerging from the ocean. Except that on second glance, it's a ship going under! And the title in big Times Roman letters isn't SUCCESS, it's FAILURE. Underneath it reads "It could be that the purpose of your life is only to serve as a warning to others." There's much more in this vein. It reminds me of the management book I saw a few years ago What Would Machiavelli Do?

I bought something from their e-store for my boss for Christmas. Here's part of the closing transaction page.

You're More than Just Another Customer
You're more than just another order to us. In fact, you're the sum total of the amount you've spent with us, minus the designing, printing, fulfillment, licensing and other costs incurred to bring our products to you... Now that you've given us several dollars, feel free to share your two cents with us, as well.

Satisfaction Guaranteed*! With every order made, Despair, Inc.™ offers my unlimited personal guarantee. With every credit card effectively processed, my personal satisfaction is completely guaranteed*. And it is my promise to you, the holder of someone's valid credit card information, to commit myself to even greater degrees of self-satisfaction in the days and weeks to come, as I invest your hard-earned money in ever more gratuitous and hollow displays of wealth- with which I will intimidate and demoralize my narcissistic and materialistic peers in industry. Ah, the relentless pursuit of dejection!

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