Clutching a hand stitched, torn and dirty play rabbit. A glassy eyed boy walks through the rubble of Racca, Syria. At first glance, he looks to be five or six years old, maybe. His sweater is buttoned in the middle and holding on tight. His pants reveal dust, smoke and evokes thoughts of bombs. He has shoes. Thank God, he has shoes.
Yes, that is the worst example. Worse than that is death. Perhaps, death is a way out. Nevertheless, the wrath brought upon this young motherless, fatherless boy is courtesy of some who will dine well and sleep fine tonight.
Let's take a detour to IHOP. I know. It is one heckuva detour. I am sitting with a business partner. We are there in advance of a meeting and have ordered breakfast while we discuss the two gentlemen who will meet us in approximately one hour. The breakfast is good. I prefer home made breakfast, but IHOP is a good second if you order correctly.
The two gentlemen arrive and join us. They only want coffee and tell us that they have another meeting to go to after ours. Seemingly, to portray the urgency and demand of what they have to offer.
The younger man in his mid-forties begins to tell us that they placed another one million dollars toward advertising in addition to other media buys because the product is selling faster than anyone ever expected and giving them sleepless nights to accommodate the demand. My business partner is slowly being drawn in and increasingly engaging in every step of the so-called off the cuff unpracticed presentation. The same business partner who told me that he does not believe in advertising and even cancelled his subscription to the newspaper. I sit patiently and quietly listen.
Now is the time to invest. Get in now while the getting is still good. My business partner accepts the close. I look at the balding gentleman and say I am very familiar with the product being sold but it is not for me. Immediately, his business partner engages me in conversation (nice play) while the younger man leans in to my business partner and produces contractual documents for signing. I ignore the older gentleman and continue listening and watching this business fishing expedition taking place in an IHOP.
Ok. Fair enough. What is the product? Mortgage Backed Securities. Just prior to "Too Big to Fail." The rest is history and so is my business partner's mid-six figure investment. Guess what? My business partner has never been able to contact the slightly balding gentleman in his mid-forties. He has been able to contact his elderly business partner only to find out that he has lost touch with the guy as well.
After the two gentlemen left the IHOP, I asked my business partner why did he jump into that investment and why so heavily? He looked at me like I was totally clueless and asked me why I didn't invest? I then proceeded to tell him about Mortgage Backed Securities and the Insurance Company that was standing behind them. I explained the concept and activation. My business partner told me that many people were now getting a chance to apply for a mortgage and buy homes.
I then explained sub-prime mortgages and foreclosure. Years later I explained Lehman Brothers, Bear Sterns, AIG and TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program). The story is very engaging henceforth.
So everyone asks, where are you going with this? What's the point? They ask all the good cliches that are supposed to make you feel like you are being verbose and should get to the point a bit quicker.
Here is the point. When are we going to stop taking advantage of people? Whether it be rudeness, harassment, road rage, shoplifting, lying, authorized war, racism, presupposition, name calling, hacking, trolling, malware or mal-anything. At what point do we start helping people.
From the alpha to the omega, we have to stop taking advantage of people and start helping.
As a society, we have to start at some point in time.
Mark Andrew Zwartynski