Don't Be a Derf
What is the opposite
of a "Fred"?
I found out recently
when I was visiting Berean Christian Bookstore in Canton, Ohio. That particular
store is an extraordinary example of excellence in book retailing: beautiful facility,
innovate merchandising concepts and nice, helpful employees who are committed
to the principles of The Fred Factor.
of you have wondered if Fred the Postman really exists (yes, Virginia, there is
a Fred) and what he looks like. Well now you know ... he's the better looking
one standing in the front of the picture. You know how it goes, "Behind every
great mailman there's a..."
One of the employees,
Maria, asked me, "Do you know what the opposite of a Fred is?" While
I know what the opposite of Fred-like behavior looks like, I'd never put a name
to the kind of person who might act that way.
of a Fred," said Maria, "is a Derf! That is Fred spelled backwards."
I recently had
a reader write me and say that she works at a company that "sucks the Fredness
right out of you!"
So I started thinking
about these anti-Fred people and organizations. They practice the Derf Factor.
And what might
The Derf Factor be? The principles would look something like this:
First, nobody can
make any real difference so why try?
are messy-leave me alone.
Third, you can
find the easiest way to do anything with the least amount of effort if you think
And finally, each
day it is just the same old same old.
Thinking in terms
of the opposite of the principles of The Fred Factor is almost funny in its negativity.
What keeps this little exercise from being comedic is that we all meet people
who live those principles. They might not verbalize it, but their behavior suggests
a conscious or unconscious belief in them.
I don't know of
anybody who wants to be a Derf. The alternative of being a Fred is much more enjoyable,
not just for the person who is the "Fred", but for those they live and