Tthe thermometer's registering 85 degrees. Everybody else is heading for the golf course or the beach. But you, Mr. Tire dealer, you're worrying about snow tires! You keep wondering:
``Did I order too many snow tires?'' (That could leave your company overstocked should the coming winter prove as mild as the last one.);
``. . .Too few of them?'' (In which case, you'll be turning away customers when the snow begins to fly.);
``Or just enough?'' (The question is-what's enough?)
You'd have to be a ``soothsayer,'' as one dealer put it, to accurately predict customer demand for such tires months in advance of the year's first snowfall. But that's when most manufacturers offer dealers their best prices on snow tires.
And because snow tires are produced mainly during summer months, dealers who wait until winter to order them are likely to be disappointed when they do.
That's the unfortunate-and possibly unnecessary-dilema confronting dealers in those regions where snow tires not only are demanded by motorists-but sometimes are mandated by law-during heavy snowfalls.
To tire buyers, ``You're a hero if you have them-or a bum if you don't. But you're still a bum if you have too many,'' says Barry Steinberg of Direct Tire Sales in Watertown, Mass. He, like many dealers in the snow belt, wound up with excess inventory following last year's disappointing selling season and this year did not order additional units as a result.
Most dealers blame manufacturers-and rightly so-for not shouldering enough of the risk in regard to snow tire distribution. Many recall when manufacturers bore virtually all this burden by allowing dealers to exchange unsold snow tires for summer designs.
Such an arrangement obviously was expensive and may not be practical in today's business climate.
However, opportunity is knocking for those manufacturers and suppliers who make purchasing snow tires less hazardous and burdensome for dealers. And dealers, in turn, ought to reward such farsighted suppliers with the bulk of their snow-tire business.