Landmark Forum – I Wanted A Refund, I Got A Mindfuck

“Hello. Landmark Education. This is Alexia, how may I help you?”

“Hi Alexia, how are you?”

“Good. How are you?”

“Good. My name is Jones Brixton. I’m registered to do the Landmark Forum advanced course next weekend, and I want a refund.”

“Ochay, sure,” there was some sounds of clambering with the phone. “So what makes you think you want a refund?”

“I signed up to do it after I did the Landmark Forum. I felt like most everything I learnt in the Landmark Forum was stuff I already knew. I thought that the advanced course might be stuff that I hadn’t learnt yet, but as soon as I read the curriculum, I felt disappointed. It held no appeal for me. Then hearing people talk about what they learnt in the advanced course, I just didn’t see the point of it. And also I have $3000 credit card debt, so I feel my $800 could be put to better use elsewhere.”

“Ochay.” They all pronounce “Okay” as if it were a German word. “I got it! A large part of the advanced course is about your act. Your act is like your personality type that you’ve had since you were very young, that keeps you from feeling fulfilled. All your negative associations, and your masks to cover up your true self.

“Now, some people – not saying this is you -” That’s precisely what she was saying.  “- some people have an ‘I know better’ act. So when they come in to do the Landmark Forum, they don’t get much out of it, but as soon as they start the advanced course, it all hits them at once.”

“Okay. I did the Landmark Forum. One of the main reasons I did it was because I wanted to know what was holding me back from finish my novel. It didn’t shed any light on that. In the end, I don’t think it matters how many courses I do – I think I just have to take responsibility for myself, and just do it.”

“Ochay, yes. The Landmark Forum teaches you responsibility. But just knowing that you have to be responsible doesn’t help you. You have to know how to put it into action. That’s where your act comes in. Your act is at the root of everything you do. You can’t see your act now – trying to see your act would be like trying to see the backs of your own eyeballs. So in the advanced course, we get to the bottom of your act and we create a new one.”

“I’ve done that already!”

She laughed “Maybe I was wrong about you being an ‘I know better’.” I laughed too.

I said “The reason I think that I’ve heard the stuff from the Landmark Forum before – while it was very good – the reason I’ve heard it is because I’ve studied, and actively pursued new paths to get knowledge, and -” I was going to continue, but suddenly I felt acutely aware that what I was saying could be construed as justifying myself. “- yeah.” She was judging me. I stopped talking.

“I got it!” Do you really. “By taking the advanced course, you can get to the core of who you are, so you can be free of your past and create a new act. That way, you can get on and be successful in your life.” And you won’t be doomed to failure, as you will without the Landmark Forum.

“Well, that’s a very clever sales pitch.”

“You can say that, but calling it a sales pitch is a very effective way of rationalising it so that you won’t have to face the truth.” The truth being that you should give the Landmark Forum your money. “You called me expecting to get a sales pitch. You’re seeing everything I’m saying through a filter.”

“No, I didn’t really have expectations. But here you are trying to convince me to not get the refund.”

“I’m not trying to convince you of anything, I’m simply -”

“Yes you are. Yes you are. Yes, you are!”

She stopped for half a second, and continued, without refuting what I’d said. “Jones, don’t think that calls like this aren’t routine. We expect calls like this to come through. People start getting nervous about what they might have to face in the advanced course, and they start looking for an easy way out. I can give you a refund – that’s fine. But is that really what you want? You seem very uncertain.”

All of a sudden, I felt very uncertain. I said “Let me think.”

I paused for a minute. One whole minute. I sat there in silence trying to find the essence of me, that still small voice that never leads me into folly. Out of all the high pressure situations I’ve been in, in my life, this would probably rank top three. I just can’t explain how weird it was. The leader of my Landmark seminar series would later try to explain to me that it was some kind of mistake, that maybe Alexia had been in a bad mood. But no, you don’t get mindfuck skills like this by mistake. This was well-trained ingrained, precise mindfuck shit. It was a work of art, really. You don’t do it like this just because you’re in a bad mood. This was much worse than a bad mood. It was a torrent of emotionless pressure, consistently applied until your mind broke. I felt pressure to be the ball of reactions that she expected me to be. It was fucked. It was brilliant.

There’s a rule in sales for the silent close. “Jones? Are you still there?” First one to speak, loses.

“Yes, I’m still here. I’m just thinking.”

“Okay… So what do you want to do?”

“I want my money back.”

“Okay… All but $110 is refundable. The charge will be reversed onto your credit card. Is there anything else?”

“Yes. You keep saying that I’m interpreting everything you’re saying. I think it’s the other way around. Good bye.”

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Comments (90)

 

  1. arpana says:

    I have attended one day forum and walked out …and now i have a higher purpose in life to save others from this nonsense.

    I believe God runs this universe and has also given us the free will and strength, grace and inner power to sustain ourselves in life’s difficult situations. Landmark has completely ruled out the creator which is absoluteiy annoying and i am not talking abt any religion here. I am talking about the living God.

    How hard it is to understand..that someone created you and you can always ask him for help in your difficult situations…The day landmark starts healing relationships, cancer and raising the dead…i will start recommending it to others…

    Cmon people, stop deceiving yourself and others.

    [Reply]

    Aashmeen Munjaal Reply:

    If you can’t give this world any happiness or hope…you have no rights to snach it from them too.

    [Reply]

  2. Jenna says:

    I attended the the landmark forum just a weekend ago. it was a roller coaster of emotions. I got in touch with some of my loved ones and felt a sense of relief. I also felt pretty amazing during the whole experience because I was on my own and people were listening and paying attention to me. yap, i know what your thinking poor lonely isolated girl, thats pretty much my life. I just wanted something to help me break through my lack of motivation. Do I believe in God, ABSOLUTley!! Did I question the landmark forum and God, absolutley. There where things said that I didn’t believe in but however I am signed up for the advanced course. I just would like a break through in my life so I can live the way God needs me too. I have a boyfriend who was constantly reminding me through my weekend at the landmark forum how I am getting brainwashed, its a cult and they will say and do whatever to get me $. I guess it worked, has it changed me?? no I just feel a whole lot calmer. And yes I am constantly still anaylzing my life, just like I did before the forum. no I am not a weak person, yes I can see how a lot of people have a negative view about the forum… take it as it is. I saw peoples lives being changed for the better right in front of my eyes. I don’t know if I am being brainwashed, well hell at least its for the better, right!!!?

    [Reply]

    Aashmeen Munjaal Reply:

    Ya..we all feel like as if we are back from a relaxing. .distressing 3 days break..its always good

    [Reply]

  3. I’m glad you made a stand for yourself. Wonderful stuff.

    It’s true that the other person is interpreting everything you said. Alexia is just a human being with wants, needs and fears like the rest of us. You sound happy with the choice you made so I’m sure she’d be happy for you.

    “Mindfuck” is a perfectly reasonable interpretation of what happened. But you know from the Forum that it’s just one of many possible interpretations.

    [Reply]

    Kurt Robinson Reply:

    actually, i knew that well before i took the course, despite what they say.
    i’m not entirely sure if you “got” my point, that she was trained to do what she did.

    [Reply]

  4. Mike says:

    The only reason she sounded like such a horrible sales person is because she was an assistant. Landmark offers people to come in and assist around the offices whenever they can after they complete their Forum, I’ve done it a couple of times.

    Truth is they get you on the phone and you have to talk to people giving you a whole array of questions you’re not ready to answer, at least for the few couple of calls. This is a perfect example of that.

    Its little situations like this that give the whole curriculum a bad name. Its really the perfect combination between an empowering self-help course and the perfect business layout as well. But for people to jump to conclusions regarding the morals of the entire business when they spent maybe 5 hours in the forum before giving up shows their approach to difficult and strange occurrences in their life. NEVER believe any of this crapola on the Internet. The absolute best way is to go sign up for yourself and give it a shot, its a risk that I didn’t want to take but at the end of my Forum I can honestly say it was the best decision I ever made. Otherwise, I’d still be the cynical, anti-social, sleeping all day good-for-nothing I was.

    [Reply]

    Kurt Robinson Reply:

    no, that’s not what this is a perfect example of. i don’t think i said she was a horrible sales person. in all likelihood, she was a very effective salesperson. she was trained that way. please read the story again, and read the comments.

    [Reply]

    Kamal Reply:

    So this forum is the magic bill for all the problems in life, we have to believe in it blindly and anyone who doesn’t…. Is someone with deeper issues???

    [Reply]

  5. Dani Gagnon says:

    OK I seriously had this exact conversation – i cancelled my advanced forum cause i realized it was all crazyness and that they totally brainwash people, but when i called and asked why my credit card wasn’t refunded, they said the charge wasn’t refundable. Can you help me??
    dani@thelikebutton.ca

    [Reply]

  6. nardwyn says:

    HI, i am unable to complete course and wanting a refund, any tips?

    [Reply]

  7. Jeff McNally says:

    Last weekend I completed the Landmark Forum,
    I just want to say that for whatever you get out of it or not get out of it these guys are sure the best Sales and Marketing Gurus I have even seen – they are masters of the subtle and sometimes not so subtle sales technique, word of mouth is the cheapest and most effective sales technique anyone or any firm can utilise. Be wary and go into it with both eyes wide open and your wallet closed ! This way you may protect yourself and also maybe actually get something from it.

    [Reply]

    Kurt Robinson Reply:

    thanks jeff, i think that’s a reasonable assessment.

    [Reply]

    Aashmeen Munjaal Reply:

    Really wish..you would have gained what they are selling. They were really good at selling ..so I bought 5 kg satisfaction. .7 kg peace of mind….12kg relationships…..I could not carry any more.
    So I registered for advance for buying their next lot.

    [Reply]

  8. Patrick Smith says:

    I can’t help myself: In response to Mike’s July 16 comment, “Landmark offers people to come in and assist around the offices whenever they can after they complete their Forum.” WTF! This is a For-Profit Company, and they use volunteer labor… lots of it; their business model depends on it.
    During my Forum experience ::shudder:: there were 2 paid staff maintaning the ever-present registration tables, 1 paid presenter, and 8-12 volunteers who attended the entire weekend doing most of the work.
    What was really disturbing was the following: the 8-12 volunteers were not what I would call attractive or had any charisma. However, during the tuesday night ‘graduation’ where I was meant to bring my marks -excuse me, friends- the 8-12 volunteers were nowhere to be seen, they had all been replaced by beautiful women and handsome men, no bullshit. There was not one, zero, nil, un-attractive landmark person to be found during graduation night… creepy.
    They are masters of marking and mind manipulation. As I’ve said in an earlier post; yes, I did get a couple of very unseful personal insights from the weekend, but I sure did not need the mindfuck that went with it.

    [Reply]

  9. Cecilia says:

    Help! I need the people at Landmark to leave me alone! I have declined again and again the invite to enroll in the SLEP but was signed up by a friend who paid my way. I’m not doing it. The reasons are my own, end of story. The calls I am getting are becoming scary borderline harassment. I was called 6 times yesterday by six different people. I have told them all the same thing “I’m not interested. Thank you but I’m not doing it. Delete my information and never call me again.” What does it take to get them out of my life!!!!>???????

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  10. i’m not sure. perhaps you should talk to some sort of moderating body. i’m not sure if there is an ombudsman for creepy self-help seminars, but there should be something. also if the phone calls are unsolicited that can constitute abuse of phone systems, just as if a telemarketer calls you when you’re on the do not call list

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  11. wasn't for me says:

    I got a full refund from Landmark – after I attended the 2nd Course. But I’ll never get back the 3 days I wasted in there (6 days if you count the first course). I believe I got the refund b/c re-enrollment stats are so important to the course leaders that refunding someone who doesn’t sign up for the next course means they can strike that name off the list of participants and say that they achieved a higher percentage of enrollments than they actually did.

    I tried to leave on the first night and asked for only a partial refund. They wouldn’t refund me anything. So I stayed and really tried to get something out of it, but 90% of the course was merely pressure to sign up for Course 3. Including very creepy tactics using group members and leaders to pressure each other.

    The final night was truly scary for those of us who simply weren’t interested in continuing. Personal attacks, being followed around the room, craziness. The course leader came over and spoke very harshly to me. The anger I’ve seen in Landmark Forum leaders when anyone questions the Forum is frightening.

    The leader later apologized for her anger, which I was glad of. When I explained that I had wanted to leave on the first night, she offered me a full refund.

    That was the one reasonable thing that happened all weekend (though I should add that my group members were very nice, interesting, and supportive. I would have enjoyed working with them on our mutual goals but most of the wknd was spent discussing who was signing up for the next course. A waste, in my opinion, of all of our time)

    And, though I believe being offered a refund was reasonable, I ultimately believe it was offered in order to preserve the leader’s re-enrollment stats.

    Never going near that place again.

    [Reply]

    Kurt Robinson Reply:

    thanks for telling your story

    [Reply]

    Aashmeen Munjaal Reply:

    You don’t know dear..what have you missed..

    [Reply]

  12. Monica grorud says:

    Omg you are me and I am you. Landmark has stolen my daughter. She began with landmark in mid2012 and continued on. She had me going and I attended all of one hour of and decided it was creepy. When I walked out of the forum 4 of their zombies stopped me and grilled me on why I was leaving. (Get me out of here I shouted) my daughter now does not talk to me completely . Her last text to me was quote ” be advised do not contact me” un quote. I wish I could bring the entire organisation down with a crashing thunder .Monica grorud ph. O422074363 Australia please anyone HELP ME. I now have no daughter because I’m not good enough.

    [Reply]

    Aashmeen Munjaal Reply:

    Wish..you could stand by your daughter..when she really needed you.in her special moments.
    My daughter is 17 ..and we both share the same landmark language. .upsets..and tools to live a powerful life.
    Your daughter didn’t ask for TOO MUCH…

    [Reply]

  13. Sue Moody says:

    My husband and I did landmark in 2006. We did the full curriculum for living. The first course, the advanced and then one day a month for three months. It was worth every penny. Very cheap even though I hate spending money out and that was an issue for me initially. For those people who come away from landmark with all those negative feelings and critisms really did not get a full and deep understanding of how truly amazing landmark is. It definitely takes quite a while to understand how landmark works. I take my Christian belief very seriously and follow bible counsel. You need to be humble , honest, willing to listen, willing to be responsible for your actions. We are still going to do stupid things, say silly things, however the big difference is we now have the tools of how to put bible counsel into practice, by being loving and kind to our fellow humans. I am not too sure if everyone is capable of being willing to benefit from landmark as they are so resistant to change in life generally, so it take real courage to step up your actions in your life. In conclusion, don’t do one landmark session, be prepared to do several, don’t think it’s because they want to make money out of you. Most importantly be prepared to be fully ready to be open to new possibilities. Only then you will love this information.

    [Reply]

    Aashmeen Munjaal Reply:

    Yes..my whole family is landmark ian…and its a different world altogether.

    [Reply]

  14. Jessica says:

    I have a friend trying to convince me to get involved, and I am pretty unwilling to pay the fee for a seemingly common sensical approach to being cognizant that I am one being living in a world occupied by billions of other people. I have read so many different pieces about the basic tenets of the program and though I agree with them, I don’t think I need a lecture…or to witness my peers’ public humiliation. The part that makes me particularly skeptical is this view from those that have “bought” in to the program that refuses to accept that it isn’t for everyone. If it doesn’t change your life, then you did it wrong. Or you’re not open enough. That is a ridiculous mentality. People are different. No matter how great something is, I accept that not everyone in the world will believe what I think is great is in fact “universally” great. Our bodies do not respond the same way to medicines, why would our brains respond the same way to “ideas”? I would love to hear someone admit that though they have been “transformed,” they know it’s not for everyone. We know it’s not for anyone in lower income brackets. Perhaps because they have more to worry about than their failed relationships…like feeding families and paying rent. That was judgmental, but I find it hard to take an organization that really believes in social change seriously, unless they are socially changing something.

    [Reply]

    J Reply:

    I got a lot out of the Forum, and I readily and wholeheartedly state that it is not beneficial for every person. If you have a breakthrough, it’s probably because you are dedicating a large swath of time to looking at yourself, which you might not usually do, and certainly not for that many hours. I still think that’s a great thing, but way overpriced.

    [Reply]

  15. The Doctor says:

    Do not do this! Do not waste your time and money! Do not risk destroying the awesome human being you already are!

    After suffering painfully through the three day BS extravaganza, I survived without “popping” my mind still intact, but sleep deprived, angry and and down right fed-up! Bullies, manipulative and in all honesty, if you are emotionally vunerable it could be down right dangerous for you!

    You do not need this… You (whoever you may be reading this) are a unique and amazing person. Do not let them take away your soul and replace it with Landmark zombification!

    [Reply]

    Aashmeen Munjaal Reply:

    Darling..wish.you cold be dezombified.how could you didn’t pop.

    [Reply]

  16. Landrea says:

    I took the Forum over twenty years ago to improve family relationships. My family thought I was crazy and closed the door in my face.

    Now they have all taken the Forum and I am still the one who is crazy. Go figure. I am authentic, intentional, committed and live with integrity – through my FAITH. That’s what killed ‘IT’ for me with my daughter. I get it. I wish she did.

    [Reply]

  17. Kristin says:

    Hello..
    I find this article really interesting. I just did the landmark forum, and although I am really happy with the results don’t get sold into doing more!!!! I like what “doctor” had to say, in all honesty you can do this kind of work from a lot of other books..such as “You can heal your life” and Al-Anon.

    I will admit, I got sold into doing the advanced…:( I’m not sure if anyone can help me out, can I try and get a refund that I paid for to do the advance course? Can I do the same thing to get refunded? will it work? Help!

    [Reply]

    Kurt Robinson Reply:

    Call them up and ask. They probably won’t give it up without a fight, but be persistent and stand your ground. They’ll probably tell you that they’re going to refund all but $150 or something. You can probably talk them into refunding the whole thing.

    [Reply]

  18. Jarrett says:

    The entire curriculum is shared online and every day of the entire curriculum. It’s very clear that it’s not a process that lasts forever. If you do the curriculum as designed it’s under $1,500USD. The education is incredible and although “simple” or “obvious” to some, it’s the group dynamic that allows you to discover it yourself. -LMF & LMA completed, SELP to go….

    [Reply]

  19. Delna says:

    I dont really get why people wnat to change themselves?
    My whole family but me has done it and now I am cornered and everything I do becomes a lesson which I could learn in Landmark.
    And the only thing they talk about now is Landmark forum
    It is sooooooo f**king annoying.
    They said that they are changing themselves to better themselves for the people around them.
    But is’nt the point of loving a person not wanting them to change.
    I never wanted them to change.
    They really have joined a cult.
    And I am soooo not ever ever joining them.

    [Reply]

  20. Robert says:

    Reading through these comments, as I’ve read through hundreds of other Landmark comments over the years, one common thread always appears: for those who claim to be improved or transformed, their response to those who have not are always “it’s because you’re not open and you don’t understand. If you open yourself you will see the truth.”

    This is textbook coercive behavior and is exactly how cults operate. It’s the same kind of circular reasoning used by many religions to deal with otherwise difficult questions, as any logical objection can be met with “you feel doubts because you haven’t allowed the truth/faith/god/etc. inside you.” Any and all criticisms and questions can be handily brushed aside and turned around on the questioner.

    There is no universal philosophy in this life: some things work for some people and not others, and insights are specific to individuals. Landmark is a financially predatory organization in much the same way that Scientology is financially predatory: it is a for-profit corporation that was started 40 years ago by a used car salesman with no psychological training who changed his name to sound more impressive. The tactics Landmark employ today are lifted directly from the high-pressure sales handbook.

    If the Landmark program worked for you that’s great. But if you find yourself unable to hear criticism of the program without immediately wanting to turn the tables to focus on the criticizer, the chances are pretty high that you’re demonstrating the same kind of coercive behavior that other cults use to block legitimate inquiry and critique.

    [Reply]

  21. Mike says:

    I’ll tell you how to get a refund. I did the basic course and a few days of the advanced course before I finally realized what a bunch of bulls%%% this was. Pure double speak. I sent a letter to the BBB in San Francisco near their home office; explained that the thing made me suicidal and I would like help getting a refund. They refunded the ENTIRE amount of both courses. That’s how you get a refund. Mindfuck them back!

    If anything, the Landmark Forum taught me to NEVER spend my hard earned money without doing my research first. Had I done so, I never would have gotten involved with these crazy people.

    [Reply]

  22. Dina says:

    I have been bereaved very recently and am in a really bad emotional state
    My friend who is heavily into Landmark keeps trying to persuade me to go along for a seminar as it might be comforting. I doubt this.
    From things I read it might be upsetting.
    Anyone got advice?

    [Reply]

  23. ameera k says:

    Went to a Landmark Forum Intro today as a guest and when i went to speak to someone with a question, I was practically hounded, made to sit on a chair and told that my ‘stubborness to simply register is the reason why i need landmark’. Any sane person would want to know what they are signing up for. I’ve been shocked by my experience of Landmark and the bullyish pushy nature of the leader and the guys sitting all round the room demanding you take your card out and pay. I must have been asked for my card 10 times and told to get it ‘quickly’ and ‘now’. I was even pulled by my hand and taken to a table, given a pen and told to put my name down on the registration card ‘now’! lol it beggers belief the way these guys operate. I’ve come home rather offended (naturally) and been looking online at some reviews. If the product is so good why do they have such a great need to shove it in your face to the point where it hits bullyish sales behaviour?

    found the following online..

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/karin-badt/inside-the-landmark-forum_b_90028.html

    Andy Testa, on the other hand, posted an account of his experience with Landmark Forum, in which he claims that he was hounded by recruiters who insisted that his resistance was proof he needed their help.

    Some people claim to have had breakdowns after attending such programs as Landmark Forum [see Lell, who had one after attending Landmark sessions, and Abstracts of Articles in Psychological Journals concerning est and The Forum]. According to Robert Howe, Stephanie Ney, 45, claims that a two-day Landmark Forum seminar “stripped her of her natural psychological defenses and unleashed the specter of a failed relationship with her father,” leading to a nervous breakdown and commitment to a psychiatric clinic. Yet, many of those who seek out cults like Scientology or self-help programs such as Landmark are troubled already. Some are deeply troubled and the training might send them over the edge. But whose fault is that? Such people might have gone to the movies and been pushed over the edge, like “Heinrich Pommerenke, who was a rapist, abuser, and mass slayer of women in Germany.” He “was prompted to his series of ghastly deeds by Cecil B. DeMille’s The Ten Commandments.”* (A woman who took est when she was 17 wrote me: “The intent of these seminars is to dig in deeply, without providing any aftercare. In that sense, they are responsible. They are taking money, knowing what they are trying for, not allowing people’s natural defenses to operate that tell them when it’s a good idea to dig. Then, the programmers walk away. Even for non-deeply troubled people, this is a concern and the impact can be negative.” Programmers should be trained to handle “troubled” people and should know that they can’t push every participant to the same degree without occasional disastrous results.)

    [Reply]

  24. jesse says:

    I signed up for the advanced forum but I got my money back without too much grief. I did the est training in May 1980. I got money back in them days on a 1200 dollar seminar that featured Werner on video training a bunch of people, it was a live feed, but me no care. So — F that.
    I just got enrolled by some dink that was good at that shit. No, you don’t get to keep my money when I have not used your product, and don’t give me any guff about keeping my word. I LIKE to lie.
    I ended up doing the Landmark Forum for 270 bucks, which is a bargain. I got the cheap price because I did est in 1980. It was okay and my high lasted until Tuesday night when I saw that tiresome Scotsman, John Bishop, doing his song and dance all over again. Same jokes, same crap. And I’d already signed up for the Advanced rather than get worked over. Right then and there I decided that I would rather spend the money on new Adidas runners and other stuff. If you stand your ground you are going to get your money back and I wouldn’t give them a dime for a processing fee. What it boils down to is it makes you wonder — maybe it really is all about the money. Yeah, maybe it is.

    [Reply]

  25. Dio says:

    I guess you are right. $$$$. I was compelled by my good fren to do the course. His family was running the business. Complete Bullshit and brainwashing involved. If you are weak and easily swayed then you will love it and embark further. I jumped out , and never looked back. The best decision I made for quite sometime. I don’t need Landmark forum to be successful in life. All my friends succeeded on their own accord without such bullshit. Success is subjective and Landmark Forum is not my platform for success. I am into Oneness Forum. Know yourself!!!!! Who your are and what you are kind of thing. It all comes from true life experiences. I am learning all the time. Landmark ONLY Proposes, GOD DISPOSES!!! Cheers!

    [Reply]

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