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Hysteria

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I think I have swine flu. Not really, I feel fine (well, I am a little achy) – but with all the global health warnings, it has crossed my mind. There’s just something about a pandemic that makes people nervous.

I’m reminded of a former coworker who contracted every calamity reported on the nightly news (back when people still watched the nightly news). I always knew when she would call off sick; sometimes I “accidently” reported for her preferable shift because I foresaw her sudden illness on the six o’clock news.

I am not belittling the real and serious risks of the H1N1 virus. Rather, I am curious about mass hysteria and wondering how to harness it for much greater purposes.

Ms. Jones has already heard every rumor you’ve heard. Are you hanging hand sanitizer stations and spritzing your store with the comforting smell of bleach? Your immediate and public reaction will be reassuring to her.

Now, go create something of epic proportions of your own. Not a NO-NO-NO sale or a big tent in the parking lot. Do something so big, so important, that Ms. Jones will never forget it. Fill a fire-damaged home with new furniture. Close your store to work at a food bank. Don’t adopt a highway: adopt a school.

Fight the flu with good news.

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