Author’s note: If you haven’t already, you are invited to partake of the Banknotes Harper origin story.
It’s been a good day at the High-Rise Business Building of Banknotes Harper …
At first, it appeared as though the leveraged buyout of the pharmaceutical concern he’d been eyeballing would fall through, but then, as negotiations frayed, Banknotes Harper locked eyes with Larry Ellison, his minority partner, and thundered, “Get your purse.”
Sensing the seriousness of the moment and suspecting no contrivance, the Business Victims and toothless regulators across the conference table — splintered from an unappeasable pounding — promptly surrendered. Seized with Business Terror, they scribbled their beggarly imprimaturs upon stacks of binding documents, each of which was bannered in 36-point Fraktur typeface, “BILL THE FUCK OF SALE.”
Afterward, Banknotes Harper remained standing — there are no chairs here — surveyed the Business Dead, and unspooled his jumbo member onto the catered platters before them. “On this day, I have arbitraged,” thundered Banknotes Harper.
Then he used his portable handheld cordless telephone to call ahead to Morty Constantine’s Hot Steaks, Cocktails and Hot Dinner Rolls, Banknotes Harper’s favorite downtown restaurant. “Steak, rare, hot dog on the side, rolls, another hot dog, scotch, beans, ladle of scotch on top of the food,” he thundered to Herman Crackers, the obliging and tenured maître d’hôtel.
“As you wish, sir,” said Herman Crackers.
“Oh, and Crackers,” thundered Banknotes Harper, “Another scotch and hot dog and beans and steak.”
The staff at Morty Constantine’s Hot Steaks, Cocktails and Hot Dinner Rolls knows that Banknotes Harper prefers to dine while sitting on the aftermarket sliding bench seats of a 1977 Chrysler Cordoba. So they accommodate him.
He also likes that Morty Constantine’s Hot Steaks, Cocktails and Hot Dinner Rolls understands the visual power of price points. For instance, every menu item is priced not at rounded dollars, but rather at 99 cents on top of the next-lowest dollar amount. Banknotes Harper knows that this helps the customer feel that he’s getting a bargain, and gentlemen like bargains.
Just that same day, Banknotes Harper had closed that leveraged buyout by offering not $100,000,000,001, but rather $100,000,000,000.99. Sure, the conference-table pounding, threats of purses, intimidating deep-knee bends and timely pretend Business Telephone Calls helped, but that strategic price point was the difference. You motherfuckers need to know that.
At Morty Constantine’s Hot Steaks, Cocktails and Hot Dinner Rolls, Banknotes Harper sat on the aftermarket sliding bench seats, ate in silence and thought about compounded interest and offshore holdings. Then his business phone with the dry-cell battery rang decisively.
It was Marilu Henner.
(This piece originally appeared at FanGraphs.)