Marriott Alumni Magazine

Spring Summer 1977 Exchange

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rest of the nation, got the answer because we raised the question. The study, now in its second printing, has been widely acclaimed in the nation's press and in many state legislatures. I once drove a medium-priced car that widely advertised its vast trunk capacity and the fact that six basketball players could jump in and out of the seats with ease. Ease? The floorboard where my left foot would normally rest was only 10 inches deep. My foot is 12 inches long, and I had to drive with my left foot turned sideways. The head of that car company should have discovered these space problems on the blueprint, not in a letter from me. If he had paused in his day's occupation, sat back, and asked, "Can people afford my car? Can they read the speedometer? Will it fit in their garage? Do their heads fit? Do their arms fit? Do their feet fit? "-he might still have me for a customer. A local radio station has been playing an advertising spot for the past three weeks. I must have heard it 40 times. I do not know what it advertises. It is a massive production with drama, music, humor, etc., but it is impossible to understand the name of the product. If the head of that company were to pause for 30 minutes on a busy intersection and play his commercial on a tape recorder for passersby, he would know in a very short time what I know. He's wasting his money. His regional sales director must already know it. One day, in an introspective "tick-tock" session, you might want to see what your not-so-silent partner, the federal government, is up to. By the way, could you imagine what a clock designed by a federal agency would say, rather than tick-tock? Adding Interest For years, people who would ax or fatten the national defense budget and the HEW budget have been swapping blows and attracting heavy media treatment. Have you ever seen the budget of the United States? The third largest item on that budget seems to have no friends or enemies. You never hear of it. It provides no services and produces no jobs. It's the $41 billion we pay as interest on the national debt. This has to be the number one argument for a balanced budget, but who discusses it? Who even knows it's there? Wherever our government is going, you're going with it. If you're concerned about the destination, stop relying on the media for all of your information and dig up some facts for yourself. As Easy as the Yellow Pages Last Christmas, when we were trimming a tree in our lobby, a researcher asked me," Did you know you can get free Christmas trees from the federal government?" I knew that Uncle Sam is often confused as Santa Claus, but I frankly didn't know he gave away free Christmas trees. Later, in a quiet moment, I started thinking about those free trees. I wondered what other benefits our federal goverment offered that I had never heard of. Three days later I had in my hands a book entitled Encyclopedia of US. Government Benefits, published by Wm. H. Wise and Company, Inc., of Union City, New Jersey. It has more than 1,000 pages and lists more than 5,000 benefits available to every American. A jacket blurb reads, "The millions of dollars in money services and untapped government benefits that your tax dollars have been paying for all these years are now available for you to review and use for the first time... at your fingertips...services as easy to gain as looking them up in the Yellow Pages.'' A true encyclopedia, it lists every kind of government payment, service, and benefit From A to Z (from Aerial Photography to Zoological Parks, including grants, payments, programs, scholarships, investments, vacations, loans, etc.). Here are opportunities most Americans do not even know exist (even though they are paying for them) in a handsomely bound volume with lots of pictures just like a big Sears, Roebuck catalog. This book may never be reviewed on NBC's Today Show, but it is the most revealing book I've seen in the past ten years. If you were to devote one pause a week to asking simple, direct questions about your federal government, at the end of a year you could wind up knowing more about the subject than the reporters you now depend on for news. One of your most productive 30-minute pauses will be the day you tackle communications. Persuade your staff to limit their memos, not to one page, but to one sentence. Insist that they use language to communicate, not obfuscate. What a great day it will be for your organization when a bureaucrat’s "terminating illumination" becomes a Roosevelt's "turn out the lights," and a custom weapon maker's "render nonviable with a nondiscernible microbionoculator," becomes an Edwin Newman's "shoot with a silencer-equipped dart gun." Your "pause in the day's occupation" could become the most interesting, productive part of your day. And, on a particularly slow day, why not turn back to Mr. Longfellow's original intent and let it be a Children's Hour. The chimes of young laughter could be the happiest sounds in your office all year.

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