There's a new ``king'' in the kingdom. It all began as a series of tire installation competitions open to all Tire Kingdom service technicians. Competitors advanced through store, district and regional contests judged by management and training personnel.
Participants competed-for cash and prizes-on their ability to install and balance two standard passenger tires both quickly and according to the company's 35 ``quality service steps'' on the correct methods of tire removal and installation, proper wheel balancing techniques, and mandatory safety procedures. Time was of the essence, but failure to comply with the regimen resulted in a time penalty.
Top performers from each region met Dec. 2 at the dealership's corporate headquarters in Riviera Beach, Fla., for the ``national'' championship.
Crowned king of the tire service technicians was Mike ``The Surgeon'' Butler, who toils in a Tire Kingdom outlet in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
How he came by his moniker is a tale unto itself.
According to Dave Yelverton, Tire Kingdom's vice president of marketing, a customer came in with a flat tire, unsure of why it wouldn't hold air.
After an examination, Mr. Butler ``surgically removed'' a bullet from the tire.
Sounds like things get pretty wild down in sunny old Lauderdale.
In some circles, it's not the kind of thing you boast about.
Car magazines are running ads from AC Delco in conjunction with the company's recent announcement that it had adopted a new logo. One such ad features a guy waving a flag over a race track and cleverly notes: ``We have a checkered past.'' (So did Richard Nixon. Just ask Ollie Stone.)
The price is right
What's in a name? Depends on the cost.
House Speaker Newt Gingrich and his political action committee, GOPAC, are generally credited with being the architects of the resurgence of the GOP, even coining the party's so-called ``Contract With America.''
A National Public Radio report said that before settling on the ``contract'' title, GOPAC considered for a time, then rejected, several other names: ``The First 100 Days Agenda,'' and, perhaps even more telling, ``Buying Back Congress.''
Where you goin' now?
It wasn't Disneyland for Todd Powell, an Alaskan oil field worker who was the sole winner last Nov. 4 of the Florida Lotto worth $27.4 million.
Asked what his first purchase would be, Gannett News Service reported that Todd replied: ``A tire.''
Seems that while he and wife Janet were on their way to Tallahassee, Fla., to claim the winnings, her 1992 Toyota Celica had a blowout.
Now he can afford a whole container load of replacements!
A job to relish
Tonight Show host Jay Leno remarked that thousands of people apply every year for the job of driving Oscar Mayer Foods Corp.'s famous ``Wienermobile'' (which rides on Goodyear tires), yet only 12 are chosen.
``They're so picky about who drives the Wienermobile,'' Jay said, ``yet they put anything in a hot dog!''
So the national ``double-nickel'' speed limit is dead as a doornail (let's hope many motorists aren't, too, as a result.)
After repeal of the 55 mph law, Montana instituted a ``no speed limit'' speed limit. Any speed ``within reason'' goes in Big Sky country.
Which led Jay Leno to note that, in Montana at least, ``Domino's Pizza now guarantees delivery in three minutes or less!''
It's one mouthful of an acronym: NYSASSRS, for the New York State Associa tion of Service Stations and Repair Shops Inc. Isn't being a New York sasser illegal in some parts of the Empire State?
Anyway, we really started wondering just what that association was into when we saw a news release announcing that a ``bombardiere'' from the NYSASSRS had been named to the board of directors of the Coordinating Committee for Automotive Repair (CCAR). Actually, it was Ralph Bombardiere, the association's executive director.
And how about this for a title that tells just about everything you'd ever need-or want-to know about this now-disbanded fed group: the ``Policy Dialogue Advisory Committee to Recommend Options for Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Personal Motor Vehicles.'' (Don't you just love those bureaucrats?)
Please, please don't refer to it as the PDACRORGGEPMV.
Words to stand by
From Maintenance Matters, the newsletter published by The Maintenance Council (TMC) for professional fleet equipment managers:
``Remember, a good brake job is one that you will not only stand behind, but will stand in front of ! ''-Lew Flowers, TMC vice chairman.
An observation-or prediction-in the Los Angeles Times, attributed to Alan Ray, about Sears, Roebuck and Co. splitting its tire and auto parts business into two divisions:
``Customers will notice an immediate change in service. Now it will be twice as hard to find a clerk.''