I contemplated having a rewards program for my MORPHY INNER CIRCLE KLUB. As time drew near and it was incumbent upon me to explain it, I tossed it in the trash: TOO EXPENSIVE! Hours a week in front of spreadsheet software. Dealing with mistakes, what to offer in the rewards catalogs. Do you appreciate the work that it takes to run such a program? Well, I don’t either so I am pretty sure my customers wouldn’t!

Today I got something from Office Max or Office Depot. We had both at one time. Depot lost out. Now at Office Max you can hardly find any employees except for one at the cash register. WHoever came up with that idea should be running an Office Max in Juneau.

I gather that in most rewards programs, flight miles, credit cards, grocery stores, etc. that somebody was paid to write software to keep track of all these details and to spit an email out every so often to let you know, “Time to do something” is at hand. Can you imagine that? Why not just drop the price at the local retail stores, we would have to come in to use the “reward” anyway? Right?

It’s been my experience that the OFFICE places are trying to unload PAPER, paper which is really heavy. And you have to know which kind your machines (printers, faxes) prefer or that leads to problems (in some cases). Then there is the question of those darn ink or toner cartridges. Based on what I have heard, that’s where people really get hot under the collar.

And Now TIME for a Little Commercial

Is this the part where everyone runs to the bathroom? Something has to pay for the time “lost!” There’s that word time again. They say that “Being Prepared is the Motto of a True Scout.” It’s tru for me, but that is also the name of The Morphy Coin, which is blank on the back!

It’s substantial, thick, and a reminder (to me and hopefully to you) of how to PUT IT TOGETHER for whatever we are doing. Studying chess for the big game, readying a presentation, working a crowd and so on. I saw Dave Dee with one in Chicago when he was delivering a first rate Boot Camp on Marketing and he was selling nothing but himself. (Did a great job too). It was a focus point he carried in his pants pocket. Neither of us believe in Good Luck charms, finger crossing or any of that. We believe in Being Prepared. The Master of Focus and Preparedness was Paul Morphy. Morphy in spades.

Usually he said he just fingered it before he was introduced. Recently I read that old saw about the “lucky ones” were the ones who were better prepared. I suppose you good use a round picture of your pet pit bull or something else, but since we are into chess, primarily, of those reading this, I wanted to make you a deal which I worked out from reading the thousands of pages of various direct mail marketer “friends” of mine (even though I only know 3 personally): Dan D., John C., Dan K., and T.J.R.

When I released the Morphy Coin in an antique bronze finish I believe it was originally priced at $49.95 or $50, I forget which. But the “conventional wisdom” of the guys mentioned above, would target it at $39.95 (plus the ever present S&H of $5). Now if you join the Morphy Klub at the full price of $295-$25 discount, you will get the coin as part of your membership in a pristine, clear plastic case (mine is gold and loose in my pocket, if you want the gold plated one, it’s extra). That’s it. If you get any of the stripped down versions of the Morphy Klub to get the MC it is EXTRA, in this case, $39.95. It really is a handsome thing. Shines in the light and his hard to photograph.


Do you? It’s when I am almost out of it and it’s Saturday night.

Paper is heavy and it all depends when I get one case or two, and I do hear people complain when they have to buy a “ream.” 500 lousy sheets. Cheaper than water.


These basterds, the office supply stores, figured out how to nail us (my grandson uses the phrase, “screwed over” and he’s 10!)

They put these low prices on a case of paper. The fine print tells you, in effect, you still have to pay the regular price but the DISCOUNT goes into your rewards program which you can redeem in no less than 30 days, and you better have entered all this stuff into their website. More paperwork.

The ad may say something like “10% in rewards / all printers / See below for details.” Screw it.

In advance I have already dropped this “bad idea” from the MORPHY KLUB.

Hence, there are some revisions in the air. Since Bob’s News Letter is the “Official Guide” to what is currently happening with the Chess Butler, it will be published there first, and then pieces of that will be on this Blog or sent out as a “sales letter” (email).

The Advantage of Being a Kid

I remember the “cereal boxes” days and the prize inside. Marketer Seth Godin even wrote a book A PRIZE INSIDE.

Great times. Taught us mail order, anticipation, awoke our imagination, etc. Amazingly General Mills and Battle Creek Michigan knew HOW LONG 3 weeks was. Order the item and virtually EXACT;Y 21 days later, it was in your Mail Box! Better than clockwork.

Personally, I think that could still work today except for ONE THING. The Big Lie.


The Big Lie I get tired of reading about, hearing about. etc. is TIME, I don’t have TIME. It’ NOT I don’t have the Money, it’s “I don’t have time.” To that I say, horseshit! 98% of the time THAT is a lie. I won’t enumerate the lie you know full well what yours is.

I can accept that  none of us can REALLY do two things simultaneously, our brain doesn’t work like that. But when you are done with ONE thing, how do you choose what’s next? It may be, “Whatever is easiest!” But instead we have to do something even easier, like go to the head.


I have to admit that sometimes I put out a letter, or sales list, that would task the patience of a Zen Master, or at least I have been told that. However, as I have repeated umpteen times, “Slow down, read it again. It will make sense (the discounts, the quantities, the timing, and such) and invariably it does. Rick Rector wrote this morning and was trying to make sense out of the PLAN for the MORPHY KLUB and so he “guessed” at a number of things and on the whole, he was correct.

You might strike back, “Bob, you should make it so clear we don’t have to guess!” And my always ready response would be, “And how do you propose I do that?” There are so many different types of individuals out there that ONE SIZE does not fit all. So what I “tend” to do is announce the project in advance, follow that with some extra details, and on and on. A couple months down the road and the picture is pretty obvious. Sometimes I put the product and descriptions in boxes, tables, or charts. This is supposed to make it easier. Not always apparently.

And then, once in a while, I have it all Messed Up!

That happens. There is no Calendar big enough to keep track of all the things I have going at one time. But I try to avoid the trap of “I don’t have time.” I can have the time by moving the current project to somewhere else on the list. Sometimes I stay up later. Sometimes I am saved by tomorrow!

Being BUSY and being busy accomplishing things often means two different things. For lunch today on Taco Tuesday I can go out and get three great tacos or I can heat up a bratwurst, on a great bun, slather on some mustard and stay at home. Either way, I get fed and the excitement of one over the other keeps me going for the rest of the day.


Join the Morphy Klub. One of the items I will put in the “Sideways Newsletter” is some pictures of chess sets (larger and smaller) from the great photography of Bob Rasmussen about sets such as travel sets since the Morphy era. Be there, or, be square (the era I grew up in!).

Two types of offers: The Full Monty ($270.

The stripped down version. Hopefully, all explained this week. Check back tomorrow and then, SIGN UP!

PS: Two things I forgot. The picture at the top of the column is not good. I was experimenting and the program placed it there and I wanted it near the bottom. Secondly, the gold plating is SOOOOO SHiny it is hard to focus the camera and handling the lighting.

Final thing. If you want to buy, contact me at: info@chessbutler.com

Hey, thanks.


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