From time to time we try to mention products that are a little unusual. Here's one introduced at the ``Automotive Aftermarket Industry Week'' shows last November in Las Vegas. The San Marcos, Calif.-based company's name, Mess Less Products Inc., says it all. They're marketing the ``Auto Diaper,'' a heavy-duty plastic tray lined with an absorbent material that catches oil drips. Installed by wiring it to the underside of the vehicle, the ``diaper'' is supposed to deal with those ``leaks from hell,'' the company said, and is ideal for a customer who doesn't want to have the repairs done immediately because of cost. (No, you don't install it on the customer, wise guy.)
We cannot guarantee that the young lady pictured holding the diaper will show up at your shop to install the product.
Give peace a chance
A recent news report said a bunch of people belonging to a church group were arrested on the U.S.-Mexican border as they tried to cross with a load of several hundred computers bound for Cuba. That is a no-no, as far as the U.S. government is concerned.
But that's not the reason they were busted. Members of ``Pastors for Peace'' physically attacked federal law enforcement officers. Fire and brimstone, indeed.
A thief in New Canaan, Conn., went to a lot of trouble. The nagging question remains-Why? Police said someone removed the tires/wheels from a car parked at a commuter train station, stole the brakes, then put the wheels back on.
Or how about this ``News of the Weird'' report out of Tustin, Calif.
Apparently angry that a truck was moving too slowly in traffic, Lisa Lind, 26, pulled her car alongside it and started swinging an aluminum baseball bat out her window at the trucker as they both made their way down the highway.
The cops who arrested her noticed her ``vanity'' license plate-``Peace 95.'' Said an officer: ``She told me she got (the plate) because she thought there was so much violence going on in today's society.''
`Big Brother' yet again
Another fine Orwellian mess they've gotten us into. But in this case, Big Brother may be listening.
Illinois Gov. Jim Edgar recently signed into law a measure that gives employers the legal right to eavesdrop on their employees' in-office phone conversations.
The problem is, the law was originally supposed to be real narrow, only covering the telemarketing industry. But the state legislature got a little carried away, as legislatures are often wont to do, it seems.
Now even the governor is calling for the law to be redrawn, saying he signed it only because it was lumped into other important legislation that demanded immediate passage.
So, repeat after us (for whomever may be listening): ``The boss is great. The boss is kind. If you don't think I love this job, you're outta your mind.''
Shiver me timbers
While out shopping for some engines to drop into the boat he was having custom built, former Allied Tire Sales Inc. owner Stan Hanin heard from transportation magnate Roger Penske Sr.
Several years ago ``Captain'' Hanin (see the profile on him in the Feb. 5 issue of TIRE BUSINESS briefly met the racing team backer who late last year became new owner of some 860 former Kmart Corp. auto service centers, since renamed Penske Auto Center Inc.
Somehow, Mr. Penske had heard ``through the grapevine'' that Mr. Hanin was going to buy a Penske competitor's engines. So he called the boating enthusiast in and, Mr. Hanin said, sweet-talked him into buying from the Penske-owned Detroit Diesel Corp.
``It's no wonder he's such a successful businessman,'' Mr. Hanin remarked. ``He and his son (Roger Penske Jr.) took the time to sit down and make sure I bought his engines instead of a competitor's. He treated me like I was buying 2,000 engines from him-not just two-and wouldn't let me leave until I bought his gears, too.''
Who says customer service is dead?