Simply being exposed to the claim of low risk/high success can influence you to buy a poo-filled franchise

July 26, 2012

Communications designed to persuade mislead and damage you using untruths and half-truths is called propaganda.

Social psychologists define something called priming: unconscious memories influence your behavior. Sometimes fo a very long time. Through repetition (a form of brainwashing).

Franchising trade magazines and trade shows influences potential franchisees to see franchising (in relation to independent business) as lower risk and higher success. Banks write their booklets in a very pro-franchise manner. McDonald’s success and its use as a bell weather (“the McDonald’s of the poo-collection industry”) primes candidates to attribute success where none exists.

Neither of these “truths” is true but that’s irrelevant. By the time the candidate franchisee is looking the low risk/high success bias is part of their DNA. They’ve created a stereotype.

As the scientifically-based research indicates, just looking at words associated with either youth or old age influence how you behave.

What kind of chance do you think you have at a trade show or a franchisor’s open house when every tiny detail is controlled for a positive sales effort? No one’s brain is very good at defending against these extremely powerful persuasion trick and traps. The technology of franchising is the science of neutralizing your defenses and then when the financial loss happens, re-assigning blame from these techniques to you (ie. On Cooling the Mark Out).

BBC Replicates Bargh’s Famous Priming Study at The SituationistJohn Bargh

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Experience teaches only the teachable.

April 25, 2011

The propagandist’s purpose is to make one set of people forget that certain other sets of people are human.

Franchising is a total institution ruled by fear:

A really efficient totalitarian state would be one in which the all-powerful executive of political bosses and their army of managers control a population of slaves who do not have to be coerced, because they love their servitude.

Solitude and acceptance are the answer.

I’m afraid of losing my obscurity. Genuineness only thrives in the dark. Like celery.

I like being myself. Myself and nasty.

Aldous Huxley 1894 – 1963


Franchisee advisory committees are frequently chaired by Nurse Ratched

December 10, 2010

I have suggested here that franchise systems are an example of a total institution as defined by Erving Goffman.

Mental hospitals are a traditional example of a total institution.

There are lots of Nurse Ratcheds in franchising and lots of acting out franchisees.

Look to those that create the environment, not those who have to endure it.

Original draft:


Franchisee zombies: born, made or self-made?

November 28, 2010

Blind obedience, standardization, duplication and monotony all fueled by the illusion that action means movement.

Cults are very good at turning intelligent, compassionate and engaged highly-functioning people into uni-dimensional zombies. How this is done is perfectly consistent with other total environments.

Surrendering your free will and human rights is incompatible with a life.

It means embracing a zombie death.

This is a rule only for those creatures that are aware that one day they will physically die.

[NFGraphics.com]


Anyone’s spirit can be shattered if mental pressure is applied skillfully enough

October 7, 2010

Franchising is like being in a war zone.

My experience and training suggests that running a franchise provides the same type of mental conditioning that happens in total institutions (ie. patient in a mental health hospital, recruit in military basic training, life on a naval vessel) without any form of appeal.

Many former franchisees see their time as a franchisee as they would imaging doing time in prison would be like. Most will confidentially talk openly of being mentally tortured. Many require significant mental health intervention to recover some degree of normalcy. Even years after their experience, the mere mention of their experiences triggers the strongest emotional response possible, many of which revolve around shame.

clinical depression :: affective disorders :: violence (self & others) :: divorce :: hospitalizations :: estranged children :: broken extended families :: suicide

Dr. Meerloo’s insights ring very true to me as a former franchisee and provide tremendous hope because they use a quantifiable and scientific approach rather than a one-dimensional, ad hominem attack- and shame-based legal view.

The Rape of the Mind: The Psychology of Thought Control, Menticide and Brainwashing (free online), Joost A. M. Meerloo, M.D., 1956

In Book: It is Dr. Meerloo’s position that through pressure on the weak points in men’s makeup, totalitarian methods can turn anyone into a “traitor.” And in The Rape of the Mind he goes far beyond the direct military implications of mental torture to describing how our own culture unobtrusively shows symptoms of pressurizing people’s minds. He presents a systematic analysis of the methods of brainwashing and mental torture and coercion, and shows how totalitarian strategy, with its use of mass psychology, leads to systematized “rape of the mind.” He describes the new age of cold war with its mental terror, verbocracy, and semantic fog, the use of fear as a tool of mass submission and the problem of treason and loyalty, so loaded with dangerous confusion…

The first two and on-half years of World War II, Dr. Meerloo spend under the pressure of Nazi-occupied Holland, witnessing at firsthand the Nazi methods of mental torture on more than one occasion. During this time he was able to use his psychiatric and psychoanalytical knowledge to treat some of the victims. Then, after personal experience with enforced interrogation, he escaped from a Nazi prison and certain death to England, where he was able, as Chief of the Psychological Department of the Netherlands Forces, to observe and study coercive methods officially.

In this capacity he had to investigate not only traitors and collaborators, but also those members of the Resistance who had gone through the utmost of mental pressure. Later, as High Commissioner for Welfare, he came in closer contact with those who had gone through physical and mental torture. After the war, he came to the United States, where his war experiences would not permit him to concentrate solely on his psychiatric practice, but compelled him to go beyond purely medical aspects of the problem.

As more and more cases of thought control, brainwashing, and mental coercion were disclosed…his interest grew. It was Dr. Meerloo who coined the term menticide, the killing of the spirit, for this peculiar crime.


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)


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.


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