Aren't there times when you wish you could really tell your tire manufacturer or supplier what's on your mind? Goodyear sort of did that for its dealers during the company's recent dealer conference in Las Vegas.
Some pointed comic relief was offered in the form of a muppet-like ``dealer'' by the name of ``Max Service,'' formerly known as ``Skip Service,'' who poked fun at a number of Goodyear execs.
In a gag with Eugene Culler, executive vice president, North American tires, Max noted he'd left Goodyear five years ago for another tire maker-``Good Day Tire Co.''
``They offered me everything I needed,'' Max said, including the top-of-the-line tire, the Good Day ``Lots-A-Tread,'' a mid-line ``Sort-A-Tread,'' and for the budget conscious, the ``Bit-O-Tread,'' guaranteed ``for 500 miles, or until the next time it rains, whichever comes first.''
Then old Max started in on Al Eastwood, teasing him for his ``staying power'' at the company, after the vice president of marketing said although he's held a ``number of jobs'' in the past five years, he's had the same one for a year.
``That's some kind of record at Goodyear, the way you guys move around,'' Max retorted. ``How'd you manage to stay put? The same way you always do?
``Every time they come to talk to you about moving on, you start reading one of your old speeches with all the numbers. And before they can say a word, they're sound asleep. The old Al Eastwood defense.''
And the logo of the Good Day Tire Co.?
Not exactly Goodyear's winged foot, Max said ``it's more a wing and a prayer. It fits in good with their product line.''
For the big rah-rah finish, all agreed to work together, with Max acknowledging: ``If you factory guys don't pitch in and us dealers don't pitch in, pretty soon we won't have a pot to pitch in!''
'Don't touch my spare'
Police in Kanab, Utah, seized 10 pounds of marijuana after a tow-truck driver alerted them to a man's unwillingness to part with his spare tire. (They can gladly have ours. Oops, wrong ``spare tire.'')
Germain Berrelleza, 18, of Mesa, Ariz., was arrested and charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, after cops discovered 11 plastic containers of marijuana inside the tire.
The Salt Lake Tribune said the tow driver gave the kid a ride after his car broke down, but found it weird he insisted on carrying his spare tire with him-even into a motel room.
Maybe he was just testing out some new run-flat philosophy: If you're high, you really don't care if your tire isn't.
Please call back later
Jack Gerken, who handles some public relations efforts for Pirelli Armstrong Tire Corp. (PATC), was on his way to the race track in Sebring, Fla., for the recent annual running of the ``12 Hours of Sebring'' road race, where Pirelli tires were fitted on some of the cars.
The partner in Brighton Communications Inc. in Costa Mesa, Calif., noticed along the roadway a sign on a plumbing store proclaiming ``23-hour Emergency Service.''
``Guess which hour they're not open,'' he remarked. ``The one when you call!''
Can you imagine a tire dealership trying to sell a customer on 23-hour emergency roadside help?
Journalists visiting Milan, Italy, on a trip sponsored by the aforementioned PATC had the opportunity to tour the Ferrari car manufacturing plant in Maranello, some three hours and many miles of vineyards south of Milan (See story in April 1 issue of TIRE BUSINESS.)
There, they saw how the prestigious sports car is assembled, and tasted the delicacies in the ``Ferrari Ristorante,'' located across from the factory. The automaker owns the eatery, but a separate firm runs the food operation.
``We know how to build cars,'' explained Francesco Orlando, Ferrari's director of communications, ``but they really know how to cook.''
During lunch a Ferrari spokesman related a behind-the-scenes anecdote about the recent James Bond flick ``Goldeneye,'' which used a Ferrari for an action driving sequence.
When Ferrari execs got the speedster back from the film company, they noticed that spikes had been driven into the car's Pirelli tires. They were told that because of the tires' superb ability to grip the road, stuntmen couldn't get the car to slide like they wanted, so they simply pounded in some anti-traction features.
And to think that in some neighborhoods delinquents do that for ``fun.''
Cops in Dallas busted a guy trying to cash a Roadway Services check he stole. But give him an ``A'' for effort.
When nabbed, according to National Public Radio, he had forged his alleged name, ``Roadway T. Services,'' on the check, and even had a photo I.D. with that name. There was no mention, however, of his cousin, Skip Town.
They love them 'tars'
New Big O Tires Inc. franchisees Randy Cressall and Dave Wilke, who recently opened their first store in Valencia, Calif., got a taste of what ``customer loyalty'' is after meeting a guy whose pick-up truck had been stolen.
``He was upset about the loss of his truck,'' Mr. Cressall reported, ``but emphasized he was especially sad because the truck had Big O tires on it!''
Good thing the guy's mother-in-law wasn't in the back of the truck.
And customers of the New Belgium Brewery in Fort Collins, Colo., also seem to love their ``tires''-the brewpub makes and sells the state's best-selling microbrew, ``Fat (no, not flat) Tire Ale.''