Sunday, August 19, 2012

There’s a good thing in town, but mums the word.

Henry Ford’s hometown, Dearborn, Michigan, has a secret.

I know it, but I can’t tell you. Well, of course, I could, but then many people would be upset. Actually, it would make two groups angry. Both, the people who want to keep the secret to themselves, and the people who wish the secret didn’t exist.

In fact, I told a person who loves the secret that I was intending to blog about it and he urged me not to post. When I mentioned a blog to another Dearborn resident who doesn’t take advantage of the secret, he thought it was a bad idea.

“Then even more people will know the secret and people who live near the secret will be even more unhappy,” he cautioned.

Word of mouth is the most powerful form of advertising. It’s what makes social networking such an enticing and provocative milieu. Facebook lured plenty of smart Wall Street money with the advertising possibilities of the virtual community and its shared photos, videos and messages, between friends, family and total strangers. LinkedIn has created a virtual club for professionals where people exchange business contacts, news, ideas, job leads and even free advice.

Yet, nothing is more alluring than a secret. Tell someone they can’t get something and it becomes a must have. That’s the foundation of limited editions and short supplies. Say no to customers and they just might demand you sell your product or service to them, even for more than your asking price.

Dearborn’s secret is a place with limited capacity. It’s visible from many locations; however, unless you see someone using it, you won’t know it’s there. A neighbor and his wife were excited to share the secret and even offered to give me a personal tour of it. They’ve experienced it in every season and find it even more appealing during Michigan’s chilliest weather, when many of us suffer from cabin fever.

I personally have enjoyed it on wheels and on foot, alone and with my wife, Ellen.
We’ve met four-legged Dearborn residents who know about the secret. Yet, most humans in our community are fully unaware.

In this era of constant electronic connectivity, people have managed to keep a special experience quiet that stretches across miles. Some of it is public territory and parts are private.

And I don’t want to be the one to spoil it, but I wonder if I’ll be able to keep the secret next week.

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