News & Politics

Inspirational Business Writing Hits A New Low with Studies in Crap and Pro-Sumer Power!

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Your Crap
Archivist brings you the finest in forgotten and bewildering crap
culled from basements, thrift stores, estate sales and flea
markets. I do this for one reason: Knowledge is power.

Pro-Sumer Power! How to Create Wealth by Spending Smarter, Not
Cheaper


prosumerccover.jpg

Author:
Bill Quain, PhD

Publisher:
INTI Publishing &
Resource Books, Tampa, Florida

Date:
2000

Discovered
at:
Thrift store

The
Cover Promises:
Back
before the tech bubble burst, all you had to do to get rich was just
wave your Visa in front of a computer.

Representative
Quote:
“The word
pro-sumer is a
combination of the words
producer
and
consumer. Producers
make money. Consumers spend money. Pro-sumers make money while they
spend.” (page 9).

In all
of
Pro-Sumer Power!,
the first book I’ve ever wanted to punch in the crotch, there is but
one flicker of genuine inspiration, and that’s right there in the
title. Apparently, we’re now free to swap prefixes and root-words as
we please. After pro-suming, who’s up for a ride on a circum-cycle
with an para-hobo?

Other
than that, this merely demonstrates how insulting the
you-deserve-wealth-because-you’re-special genre has come to be. More
full of nothing than the deepest reaches of space,
Pro-Sumer
Power!
disguises its emptiness
behind asinine parables, laughable charts, self-help lies, a story
about
Lassie, a
discussion of iMac commercials, and countless exclamations of the
beauty of an idea it never gets around to defining.

I
call it ‘pro-suming.’ And it’s a proven way whereby
you can
produce and consume at the same time!

No, that wasn’t a misprint. Just to make sure your eyes aren’t
playing tricks on you, I’ll write that statement in all capital
letters:

THERE IS A WAY YOU
CAN PRODUCE AND CONSUME AT THE SAME TIME!”


In all
108 pages, Quain never explains
how someone
can produce and consume at the same time. (I think it has something
to do with eating on the toilet.)

prosumerback.jpg

Instead,
Quain strings along the gullible by doling out one bit of pro-sumer
philosophy for every ten interruptions. He’ll loosely introduce a
concept, explaining that even purchasing discounted goods isn’t good enough for a pro-sumer since
“You can’t ‘save’ money by
consuming, because money is going out, not coming in.
” Then, instead of elaborating, he’ll quote a Family
Circus or ask
Do you want
to be the gorilla or the banana?”

The gorilla
question deserves exploration. Quain writes,

The
simple truth is that consumers are the bananas and the stores are the
gorillas. Gorillas need bananas to survive. So the gorillas come up
with all kinds of tricks and schemes (they call it marketing) to
attract more bananas. Offering deep discounts is their favorite
‘trick.’ And the bananas fall for it every time. They line up and get
eaten by the gorillas, who get fatter and fatter and happier and
happier.”

This raises some
concerns.

  1. What stores
    eat their customers?

  2. What do
    gorillas have that bananas want?

  3. How
    exactly does one
    market to
    bananas?

  4. Can
    gorillas produce and consume at the same time?

In chapter two,
Quain instructs us to “THINK DIFFERENT” and solve this maze:

prosumermaze 001.jpg

(This
is meant to illustrate how we should THINK DIFFERENT, but the answer
go aroundis
marked right there on the maze itself.)

Also, nobody’s ever
lost money on the internet!


prosumerchart 02.jpg

To recap:


  • THINK
    DIFFERENT.

  • Cleverly circumvent obstacles by
    following a path someone has marked for you.

  • Never spend
    your money because by spending it you have less money not to spend.

  • Pad your note
    card’s worth of ideas out into a full book by any means necessary.

Shocking Detail:

Thirty-seven pages
before the end, Quain is still trying to sell you this book:

What
if I could show you a way to have your cake and eat it too? A way not
only to ‘save’ money, but to earn money, while you save time?
Would
that be a revolutionary concept worth learning about?”

Then, just one page
away, comes something of an answer. Turns out that pro-sumers
practice something “e-ferral” commerce, which Quain defines as “a
combination of a 50 year-old proven industry called Referral
Commerce, combined with the speed and efficiency of e-commerce.”

Eight
pages, two anecdotes, and a description of a Mercedes commercial
later, he makes his pitch: referrals, exponential growth, gulling
your friends into buying vitamin supplements– ah, shit, this is
Amway!

[Your Crap
Archivist shakes his fist.]

Actually,
it’s Quixtar, the
multi-level marketing company that stopped calling itself

Amway right around the time the Feds
started levying fines. (Here’s a
Dateline
report
on Quixtar.)

Quain
champions the Quixtar model without once mentioning the company by
name, but he once write a book called
The
Quixtar Price is Right

a volume conspicuously
absent from his
Pro-Sumer Power! bio.
Think of it this way:
The Quixtar Price is Right is
his
Dianetics;
Pro-Sumer Power is his
Battlefield
Earth
. It’s on the reading
lists
, it’s given
out by recruiters
, and it’s reprehensibly stupid, but it can
almost pass as secular.

Also,
your Crap archivist encourages you to click
here
, on WFMU’s fantastic 365 Days Project, to hear Pat Boone shill for Amway.

Highlight:

If you
drag your cursor over the “Products” tab of Dr. Quain’s web-site,
a drop-down menu offers a link to a book tiled
Overcoming
Time
Proverty.

Proverty? Is
that a pro-sumeresque combination of the words
producer and
poverty? Could there be a
better formulation to describe the poor saps who have wasted their
time and savings on Quixtar based on the advice of shills like
Dr. Quain?

Unfortunately, it
turned out to be a mere type-o. A type-o that tells us nothing.

Unless . . . you
THINK DIFFERENT!

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