Yes, it was quite a party Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. threw during its recent annual conference for commercial dealers in Nashville, Tenn. Theme of the meeting-not the futuristic party pictured at right-was ``Real questions, real answers, real world.'' According to BFS, the guy in the conehead-like get-up was a ``very strange looking'' disc jockey, though we thought perhaps he was a tire dealer from the planet ``Bridgestone.'' Or maybe he was really ``The King'' in disguise-you know, Elvis: the intergalactic years. Boy, have we got some ``real questions'' for him.
Whistle while you work
Hi-ho, hi-ho, it's off to work they go. But once there, they're not very happy.
Some 175 members of the United Auto Worker Union walked off their jobs at a Pontiac, Ill., Caterpillar Inc. plant recently after being told by management they'd be disciplined if they continued to chant anti-company slogans in the plant.
Caterpillar and the UAW have been engaged in a contract dispute for over two years, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported. As they go to and from their jobs, union workers chant catchy little slogans like, ``Hey, hey, ho, ho. The final offer has to go,'' and, ``No contract, no peace.''
And you think you've got problems with technicians playing their radios too loud in your dealership's service bays?
Mom, apple pie-and Nancy
Instant millionaire and, oh yes, Olympic silver medalist Nancy Kerrigan left the lucrative environs of Mickey Mouse's hometown to lead a recent parade down Main Street in her own hometown of Stoneham, Mass.
Spied amidst the crowd of American flag-waving residents lining the street was a banner from ``The Guys of Cambridge Tire,'' a Goodyear-owned dealership in Stoneham.
Chris Stegman, manager of the seven-employee dealership, said they hung the hand-drawn sign on the front of the building in order to contribute ``in a small way'' to the welcome-home parade. Over the years, he added, members of the Kerrigan family have patronized the store.
Tonya Harding. There. We've said it. And you wondered how we'd ever work her name into Marketplace.
All right, class, get out your pencils.
Big O Tires Inc.'s Treadmore Tribune newsletter recently ran a four-question ``Extra Care Quiz'' having to do with the most efficient way for a dealership to manage both of its profit centers-under-car services and tire sales-``in such a way that the two separate businesses help build each other.''
When low-cost radials flooded the market during the mid-'80s, Big O said it urged dealers to add under-car services in order to boost profits. That worked, to a point, but had a tendency to negatively affect tire sales.
Here are a couple suggestions from the company:
1. The ideal tires/service mix, as recommended by the Big O program, is:
a) 60/40 percent
b) 20/80 percent
c) 70/30 percent
d) 80/20 percent
e) None of the above
2. You should take whatever bay space you need for under-car services. However, ideally, you should leave enough space to mount:
a) 500 tire units per month
b) 1,000 tire units per month
c) 1,500 tire units per month
d) 2,000 tire units per month
According to Big O, the answer to No. 1 is (c) and No. 2 is (b).
Another question said: ``Assuming you have four bays, and one is a low-volume producer used for flats and four-wheel-drive rotations, your remaining two bays need to produce at the following levels...''
Let's see, four minus one is...