Business Booby Traps #6
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Business Booby Traps #6
Steer clear of big hats with no cattle.
In the movie, Jurassic Park III, there’s a scene where William H. Macy’s character, Bruno Kirby, is pretending to be a wealthy businessman in order to get Dr. Grant to go back to Jurassic Park. He tells him he can write all kinds of numbers on his check to get him to go there, but he’s actually bluffing because he owns a small bathroom and tile business. Ironically, if you listen carefully in the background, there’s a song by Randy Newman playing on the jukebox. It’s called Big Hat, No Cattle. This is a popular expression in Texas used to describe someone who pretends to be very well-to-do but doesn’t really have any money.
Why would somebody do this? There are many reasons. They may want to feel better about themselves. They may want to impress other people. They may want to bluff to take advantage of others. In the first two instances, they only hurt themselves but, in the last one, you have to make sure you do not get taken in by them.
The good thing about people in this category is they usually reveal themselves. For example, I met a man who was bragging about setting up a new school and yet he was having one of my friends do all the work — without being paid, mind you. I wanted to meet him to see if he was on the level. He kept saying how he wanted him and his wife to go out to dinner with my wife and me. That never happened. He was bluffing. He also had a search warrant out for him by the police.
I remember meeting a salesman who was super-successful and who worked for DuPont and 3M. He was constantly bragging about his sales numbers yet, when it came time to buy a $15 book, he just never seemed to have any money on him.
The best way to avoid people like this is to test them with something easy. What I found is if they promise to do something easy and they don’t do it, you can bet the ranch they won’t deliver on a big promise either. When it comes to business dealings with people that you don’t know, do your due diligence in advance. Whatever time, money, or inconvenience it costs you will be a small price to pay to avoid getting taken in by a professional grifter.
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.- Old adage
This blog is based on information from my seminar Designing Your Destiny II: The Goalsetting Gold Workshop seminar.