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April Fools Day Is No Day To Market Truth

The month that follows March kicks off with some tomfoolery; we call this April Fool’s Day. 

As a publisher, each year I receive some April Fool’s Day press releases. While the best ones quickly become self-obvious, there were a couple that I wasn’t sure about. I scowl and press delete.  This is a great reason to never, ever make a serious announcement on April first. You don’t want your important missive to be dismissed as a joke.

I remember years ago, the head-scratcher goes to a book announcement for:

“A Paradise for Some is Paradise for None. Based on actual stories, it tells you about Ron Edelweiss. A former Swiss banker Ron Edelweiss spent eight years in the Caribbean tax, a legal and regulatory haven of the Crocodile Islands, and the challenges he and his family face there, and then in Switzerland as a consequence of his determination to resist the corrupt system.

Although based on “stories,” the book jacket said it was “an entirely and completely and decidedly and deceptively fictional novel.” A Google search of the title gave no matches, but the author is presumably real—and has a website and blog about his ordeal. The book was listed by Lulu, a publishing company that offers books-on-demand and e-books.

The whole thing smacks of subterfuge, but if it is, it is an elaborate ruse. In any event, had I received the announcement on April 2, I would have accepted it as real. As it is, I’m not sure what to think.  Perhaps that joke was on me.

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Business Articles

What If There Was No Mail?

On Monday this week (in the United States) we had no mail delivery because of Veterans’ Day.

To miss mail for one day is not a problem, but what if this occurred on a regular basis? What if Saturday delivery was omitted or we only received mail three days a week? (These ideas are considerations to help the USPS — United States Postal Service — save money.)

I could deal with that, too.

But what if all deliveries stopped? Looking at what I receive via US mail, what would be the contingency plan?

  • Magazines: I like my magazines but would not start reading them online (at least not how it works today). I guess I’d go without — and that would give me more time for other activities. (Of course this would be a problem for those in the magazine business.)
  • Bills: More and more companies send invoices and statements via email. This allows me to move one step closer to paperless bill paying.
  • Checks: My business receives some checks via mail. But payment could be made by credit card or electronic funds transfer instead.
  • Formal communication: Invitations and thank you notes, as well as cards are typically mailed. If need be, they could go online as well.
  • Shipments: Although the USPS is sometimes the least expensive option, it’s far from the only one.
  • Ads and junk mail: I could do without this category of mail, but I supposed they’d go online too and start spamming me.

The USPS isn’t likely to stop all mail delivery anytime soon, but if they did, we could get by.

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Miscellaneous

Gotcha!

Tomorrow is April 1st, also known as April Fool’s Day.  So, be on your guard and make sure you aren’t fooled.  You’ve been warned.

In school, I would endure all manner of fibs and misinformation for the entire day.  I would usually be caught on the first one or maybe two, but would soon become skeptical of anything that seemed even remotely suspect.

As an adult, the tricks at work were minimal, often limited to a few childish co-workers who forgot that they should set aside their juvenile pranks from high school.  Still I need to keep a wary ear open for a mischievous newscaster spouting some clever work of fiction.  NPR, my news source of choice, is generally good for one creative and humorous effort on April 1st.  Once I heard a bona fide segment, which seemed a bit too phenomenal, so at first I disregarded it.

I was reminded of this when I received a “pre-announcement” announcement last week.  It’s a strange process, but PR firms sometimes send out a news release before the press conference occurs, telling you what will happen, but prohibiting you from talking about it until it actually does.

In this instance, they emailed me about a phenomenal new product would be announced on April 1st

I dryly replied that for maximum credibility, April Fool’s Day was not an optimum time to make such a grandiose announcement.  For each person who thinks the news is a joke, the effectiveness of their announcement is diminished — and their promotion dollars, wasted.

The best course of action is to save important announcements for April 2nd  — which is what I will do!