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
Bill Quain, PhD
INTI Publishing &
Resource Books, Tampa, Florida
at: Thrift store
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.
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).
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?
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.
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
THERE IS A WAY YOU
CAN PRODUCE AND CONSUME AT THE SAME TIME!”
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.)
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?”
question deserves exploration. Quain writes,
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
This raises some
eat their customers?
gorillas have that bananas want?
exactly does one market to
gorillas produce and consume at the same time?
In chapter two,
Quain instructs us to “THINK DIFFERENT” and solve this maze:
is meant to illustrate how we should THINK DIFFERENT, but the answer
– go around – is
marked right there on the maze itself.)
Also, nobody’s ever
lost money on the internet!
Cleverly circumvent obstacles by
following a path someone has marked for you.
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.
before the end, Quain is still trying to sell you this book:
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.”
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
Archivist shakes his fist.]
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.)
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
Pro-Sumer Power is his
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.
your Crap archivist encourages you to click
here, on WFMU’s fantastic 365 Days Project, to hear Pat Boone shill for Amway.
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
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
turned out to be a mere type-o. A type-o that tells us nothing.
Unless . . . you
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on June 16, 2009