Will Rogers

Denny Hatch is the author of six books on marketing and four novels, and is a direct marketing writer, designer and consultant. His latest book is “Write Everything Right!” Visit him at dennyhatch.com.

Most consumers know that their buying and bill-paying habits are closely monitored by the three great credit rating agencies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. What is less understood is the highly complex algorithm of scoring—taking all that bill-paying data on an individual and determining the chances that he or she will fail to pay a credit card charge or default on a loan. The dollar amount of credit extended and the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) charged are pinned to a consumer’s score. The unquestioned master of scoring alchemy is Fair Isaac, on whom some of the blame for the sub-prime crash—and perhaps the coming

New York Yankees’ pitcher Cory Lidle loved flying and bought himself a Cirrus SR 20, a high performance airborne hotrod that’s supposedly built for safety. The Cirrus promotional pitch proclaims that “TAWS (Terrain Awareness Warning System), now a standard installation on all CIRRUS SRV, SR20 and SR22 aircraft, helps keep you clear of terrain and obstacles while SKYWATCH™ alerts you to airborne traffic.” Cirrus is the only plane equipped with a 55-foot parachute, which in an emergency, will explode through the roof of the plane—much like an airbag in an automobile—allowing the plane to float to earth and hit with the thump equivalent to jumping off

By Denny Hatch A guy I know bought two Fedders air conditioning units and a VCR from American Appliance, an independent discount appliance chain in my area. One of the machines didn't work, and he phoned the store. The line was perpetually busy. He went to the store during regular hours and was told the store was closed. "When will it be open?" "I am telling you, the store is closed," was the reply. It turns out GE Capital called in its markers, and the 33-year-old, privately held American Appliance instantly shut all 24 stores and fired its 700 employees. For The Philadelphia Inquirer

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