Can an empire be saved by shaming investors like Ariel Buk?

August 15, 2010

There are costs involved in maintaining investor confidence and commercial relationships. Some people need to learn to “take one for the team”.Ariel Buk and Sonia Karabin may need to understand that they should cool down, be quiet and go away about losing a $85,000 deposit on a non-existent Ontario, Canada franchise. They and, by extension, the many hundreds of other “failed franchisees” need to be taught their role in this confidence game by the industry stakeholders: take one for the team or risk being shamed.

1. James Daw presents the story in yesterday’s Toronto Star article,  Ice cream dream becomes nightmare about Mr Buk’s experience with Piazza Gelateria and Café. This is shrewd. For example, Mr. Daw opines:

They [husband and wife] should have looked more closely at the business opportunity, and their decision to use mainly borrowed funds after Buk had lost his job.

They should have considered the minimum $300,000 cost of a lawyer to sue for a refund if things went wrong, and the chances of recovering anything from a relatively young numbered company.

2. Robert Cialdini lists authority as one of Six Weapons of Influence. My experience is that attorneys are given a  lot of authority by new Canadians. Many of us see past their pretensions, BS and fear. [Examples of authority.]

Ben Hanuka of Davis Moldaver LLP is quoted as saying:

“Very few mom-and-pop franchisees ever go to that length (of hiring experts to research a franchise opportunity),” says Hanuka. “It sounds too complicated to them.”

All it well with the world the reader is assured. Go back to sleep because these people get what they deserved. The blame lies with:

  1. the anonymous, individual “other” (mildly retarded immigrant scapegoat) deserved what he got (“your success follows from your blind obedience to authority” dogma)  and not that
  2. stakeholders align their self-interest in maintaining a facade of legitimacy: not a fake, or a Potemkin village scheme which has preyed upon identifiable groups, in plain sight,  since at least 1971.

Social Psychology-based Hypothesis: Elite stakeholders deflect systemic wrongdoing by using the largely-internal mechanisms of On Cooling the Mark Out by Erving Goffman (shame-humiliation effect) while using the public’s widespread fallacy of the Belief in a Just World, BJW (Melvin Lerner, retired University of Waterloo, Canada) in the country’s largest daily newspaper.

Every dying empire resorts to displays of public humiliation.

Why were people crucified in Jesus’ time?
Crucifixion was a Roman custom used on the worst malefactors and rebellious slaves. Judea was a tributary to Rome at that time. It is recorded by the Jewish historian Josephus that after the last rebellion of the Jews and the capture and razing of Jerusalem, the countryside was practically denuded of trees the Romans crucified so many. WikiAnswer

Detail: Crucifixion was often performed to terrorize onlookers into submission. Victims were left on display after death as warnings. Crucifixion was usually intended to provide a death that was particularly slow, painful (hence the term excruciating, literally “out of crucifying”), gruesome (hence dissuading against the crimes punishable by it), humiliating, and public, using whatever means were most expedient for that goal. Crucifixion methods varied considerably with location and time period…

While a crucifixion was an execution, it was also a humiliation, by making the condemned as vulnerable as possible. Although artists have depicted the figure on a cross with a loin cloth or a covering of the genitals, writings by Seneca the Younger suggest that victims were crucified completely nude. When the criminal had to urinate or defecate, they had to do so in the open, in view of passers-by, resulting in discomfort and the attraction of insects. Despite its frequent use by the Romans, the horrors of crucifixion did not escape mention by some of their eminent orators. Cicero for example, in a speech that appears to have been an early bid for its abolition,  described crucifixion as “a most cruel and disgusting punishment”, and suggested that “the very mention of the cross should be far removed not only from a Roman citizen’s body, but from his mind, his eyes, his ears.” Wikipedia

Humiliation is the most unpredictable, violent and destructive human emotion. It can result in many types of loss (see Bob “Bhupinder” Baber, WikiFranchise.org)


Where shame is, there is also fear.

July 18, 2010

1. People think the most fearful people in franchising are franchisees.

They are wrong.

Franchisees certainly have difficulties but theirs are simpler and easier to deal with.

2. People then would believe that franchisors are pretty heavily weighted down with shame.

Yes. They have their share but not the majority.

3. The franchise lawyers are the locus of the majority of all shame-humiliation. They are crippled by it. The greatest fear I have ever seen is in the eyes of attorneys that I know. Some so great they are speechless when I see them.

Their role is to be Champions of Tyranny as Northrop Frye pointed out in his analysis of Blake.

Truth never comes into the world but like a bastard, to the ignominy of him that brought her birth.

John Milton 1608 – 1674


Failed franchisees are stigmatized and shunned

July 13, 2010

It surprises me less as time goes on but it is remarkable how far all franchisees which I once considered friends, go out of their way to avoid public contact with me. They literally recoil in fear or catching some invisible but unwanted disease.

Their social/economic need not be defiled is very profound.

Stigma and Social Identity chapter

The Greeks, who were apparently strong on visual aids, originated the term stigma to refer to bodily signs designed to expose something unusual and bad about the moral status of the signifier. The signs were cut or burnt into the body and advertised that the bearer was a slave, a criminal, or a traitor – a blemished person, ritually polluted, to be avoided, especially in public places. Later, in Christian times, two layers of metaphor were added to the term: the first referred to bodily signs of holy grace that took the form of eruptive blossoms on the skin; the second, a medical allusion to this religious allusion, referred to bodily signs of physical disorder. Today the term is widely used in something like the original literal sense, but is applied more to the disgrace itself than to the bodily evidence of it…

Stigma: Notes on the Management of Spoiled Identity, Erving Goffman 1922 – 1982

I think most “failed” franchisees like me internalize this loathing which accounts for the dramatic under reporting of all franchise opportunism. The shaming that goes on by Blue MauMau contributors such as Richard Solomon, triggers this self-censuring mechanism quite well also.


Visual artists are experts in manipulating the viewer’s perception/brain

July 8, 2010

Fraud artists are experts in making a scam appear like a legitimate business.

The trick is to project the blame (from the con mob) onto the victim. Their shame-humiliation affect response will keep it quiet.

This is a two-dimensional chalk drawing made on an existing floor. The artist is letting the King pick his pocket.

Thanks to Mighty Optical Illusions.


The internet shocks and confounds water-based stakeholders

May 23, 2010

Modern franchising (franchisors, bar, franchisees, IndFAs) has evolved as if the industry were a plumbing/water system.

It was for many years:

  1. tangible, physical/one-dimensional, hierarchical, overt
  2. local/national largely, measurable, (hub:spoke structure, based on economics of scarcity/ignorance),
  3. highly controlled ($: valves, fittings, pipes, containers; can be patched),
  4. has inputs, use/abuse and disposal elements,
  5. externalizes waste via gatekeeper attorneys,
  6. launders and sanitizes industry reputations based on “new and improved” brand BS,
  7. utilized shame-humiliation to muffle dissent,
  8. burned off waste human life savings to reduce odor, and
  9. dogmatism largely unseen/unknowable outside of the royal priesthood (subterranean, veil of secrecy, culturally taken-for-granted: figure-ground problem).

However, with the start of something called “The Internet‘ and a proper issue indexing system, the industry environment has become much more like electricity or a gaseous/liquid and solid states:

  1. invisible, highly mobile, de-centralized, informal,
  2. it can leap or arc, volatilizes: solid right to gas),
  3. several dimension, pressures and forms (volts/amps),
  4. primarily transnational/international, (web structure, based on economics of abundance/knowledge),
  5. wild/unstable, cumulative, compressable, and
  6. much, much faster (travels at the speed of light/life).

As an internet activist, I am bi-/multi-lingual, which is a very Canadian thing. I  understand water, solid and air nations of franchising. I surf among and between the dying and newly born on a daily basis.

Old school stakeholders cling to their old ways:

wondering why more of the same-old solutions doesn’t work anymore.

“If we only had some more legal referrals” or “a better franchise law”, they all cry.


Is there a way to re-form a franchise management team?

May 4, 2010

If franchising were like a prison…

maybe Donald Nathanson, MD may have something of value to say.

Summary

  1. Organize the franchisors, franchise bar and regulators into a community FIRST (help the structured players).
  2. Try to view franchisees as human.
  3. Change is made one conversation at a time (can only happen one-on-one).
  4. Educate yourself about shame-humiliation and the other 8 affects (try on the Compass of Shame).
  5. Understand everybody’s got to change (try to identify issues).

What do you think?


Uniforms define who is “in” and “out” of favour

March 8, 2010

This was worn by a Jew in Holland.

The purpose was to humilitate the wearer.

To change their identity into something that was less.

Encyclopaedia Judaica


Elites treat all non-humans are as if they were children

March 7, 2010
SIR–I do not join in the belief that the African is our equal in brain or in heart; I do not think that the average negro cares for his liberty as much as an Englishman, or even as a serf-born Russian; and I believe that if we can, in any fair way, possess ourselves of his services, we have an equal right to utilize them to our advantage as the State has to drill and coerce a recruit who in a moment of intoxication has accepted the Queen’s shilling, or as a shopkeeper to order about a boy whose parents had bound him over to an apprenticeship. I say an equal right, because if soldiers were abased and degraded by their profession, or if the duties of an apprentice tended to make him a worthless member of society, it would be an iniquitous exercise of tyranny to take advantage of the position of these persons to their manifest injury. But when the soldier is taught self-respect, and is made into a nobler man than he could have become if left in his village, and if the apprentice is trained into a useful member of an industrious class, there can be no just complaint of tyranny. These persons are simply treated as children by their masters, and compelled to do what they dislike for their future good and for that of society at large.

— Negroes and the Slave Trade, London Times, Dec 26 Dec, 1857 Source

Sir Francis Galton FRS (16 February 1822 – 17 January 1911), cousin of Sir Douglas Galton, half-cousin of Charles Darwin, was an English Victorian polymath, anthropologist, eugenicist, tropical explorer, geographer, inventor, meteorologist, proto-geneticist, psychometrician, and statistician. He was knighted in 1909.


The renaissance dealt with difference by shipping the mad out

March 1, 2010

Michel Foucault, who wrote Madness and Civilization, saw in the ship of fools a symbol of the consciousness of sin and evil alive in the medieval mindset and imaginative landscapes of the Renaissance…
Renaissance men developed a delightful, yet horrible way of dealing with their mad denizens: they were put on a ship and entrusted to mariners because folly, water, and sea, as everyone then “knew,” had an affinity for each other. Thus, “Ship of Fools” crisscrossed the sea and canals of Europe with their comic and pathetic cargo of souls. Some of them found pleasure and even a cure in the changing surroundings, in the isolation of being cast off, while others withdrew further, became worse, or died alone and away from their families. The cities and villages which had thus rid themselves of their crazed and crazy, could now take pleasure in watching the exciting sideshow when a ship full of foreign lunatics would dock at their harbors.

— Quote: Jose Barchilon’s writing the introduction to Michel Foucault’s Madness and Civilization, Ship of Fools

Franchising does the same to everyone (attorney, banker, franchisor and franchisee) over time.
Everybody plays the fool.

Franchisors create a cage which affects franchisee behaviour

February 26, 2010

Franchisors control 95% of the business model (ie. when you work, what you wear, who you associate with, what you can afford, etc).

Every environment changes the people within it (franchisors and franchisees).

Franchisees, as a consequence of group and individual cultural, social and psychological forces become institutionalized.

…individuals in institutions may be deprived (unintentionally) of independence and of responsibility, to the point that once they return to “outside life” they are often unable to manage many of its demands…

The law and internet has freed franchisees: but these very powerful, internal and misunderstood forces continue a chain gang mentality.

I see this every day. Franchisees who have lost their former life-skills: confused, conflicted and in unnecessary pain. And it’s in the family where this toxic play is acted out.

Listening to you partner is the key.


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