CARD PLAY What shape's your business card in?
They seem to vary, from simply listing a person's name, company and phone number, to more ``colorful'' approaches.
Chattanooga, Tenn.-based Coker Tire, for instance, has a tire-with a hole cut in the center-on its cards. Another firm's card we've seen features a full-color photo of its headquarters.
Darrell Santos, vice president, operations, for Lex Brodie's Tire Co. in Honolulu has his photo on the front of his card and a usable tire tread gauge printed on the reverse.
Jetzon Tire & Rubber Co. Inc.'s Marc I. Hoffman is identified on his card as ``President, CEO, Leftfielder.'' (Either the Montgomeryville, Pa., firm fields a baseball team, or it's a statement of the political realm Marc occupies.)
Richard Chitty, customer satisfaction chief for the Lexus Division of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc., spells out his corporate mission on the back of his card: ``Should the person reading my business card know of anyone who is not satisfied with our products or services, I will consider it a favor to be notified.''
He does not, he said, ``get woken up too often at three in the morning.''
TRUTH IN PUBLISHING
AutoWeek, a sister publication of TIRE BUSINESS, has recently received a few letters from readers criticizing the magazine's use of some more esoteric types of stories. Like about a writer's journey through the ``Rust Belt'' while test driving a Chevy; or a trip to a Harley-Davidson cyclefest in Sturgis, N.D.-both well-written and entertaining.
Stick to just writing about the cars, some readers scolded.
But in the Dec. 12 issue a reader, thanking AutoWeek for the articles, wrote: ``I hope that the fact that you publish these letters does not indicate that you actually pay attention to them.''
The headline AutoWeek put on the letter said it all: ``Actually, we don't pay attention to anything we publish.''
And in Automotive News, a letter writer objected to the term ``Joe Six-Pack'' to represent American workers and consumers. He said it's a ``derogatory label,'' and called its use ``ethnophaulism.'' Try using that $10 word in a conversation.
IT'S HOW YOU SAY IT
It took a while getting used to seeing used cars advertised as ``pre-owned vehicles.''
OK...chalk it up to slick sales semantics. But this has gone too far. We heard of one used car salesman who says he peddles ``pre-enjoyed'' cars. So what would you call used tires-``pre-worn''?
The Democrat's new minority leader, Rep. Richard Gephardt of Missouri, said of the GOP's recent election victories: ``The Republicans think they have a conservative mandate every time a driver turns right at a traffic light.''
TIME FOR A DIVORCE?
After Amtrak announced on Dec. 14 that it would slash jobs and routes to save its skin, National Public Radio contacted a railroad history expert in New England to get his opinion on the situation.
``The American public,'' he lamented, ``is married to the rubber tire.'' Not until they become bogged down in vehicle gridlock in cities across the nation, he warned, will they realize the importance of rail travel.
Nor will they realize the frustration of arriving a couple hours late via the train, we add. Remember what they said about Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini-not a very nice guy, but yeah, at least ``Il Duce'' made the trains run on time.
TREAT 'CUSTOMERS' RIGHT
Who hasn't heard about how bad ``service'' has gotten in this country?
Americans need look no further than our hallowed prison system to see the depths to which service has sunk.
The U.S. Department of Justice says some 30,000 inmate lawsuits were filed in 1993 against prison officials. The feds say the litigation involved ``civil rights'' violations.
Sure, court officials called most of the suits frivolous. But they sound like the result of just plain bad service.
Consider these, outlined in the Akron Beacon Journal:
A prisoner sued claiming the prison canteen supplied ``creamy'' peanut butter even though he bought ``crunchy.''
An inmate's toilet seat was too cold. (We suggest one of the wired variety for a nice hot seat.)
Guards wouldn't refrigerate an inmate's ice cream snack for consumption later, so he sued for $1 million.
Limiting Kool-Aid refills is ``cruel and unusual punishment,'' another charged.
And can you imagine-an inmate's scrambled eggs were cooked too hard.
Maybe they'd all settle for doing time in a nice country club to soothe these obvious lapses in good service.