Go ahead, make my deal So, Mr. Tire Dealer, you think you can compete with the ``big boys'' huh?
Try matching the tire deals advertised recently in the Akron Beacon Journal by several NTB (National Tire & Battery) outlets, which are operated by Sears, Roebuck and Co.
NTB's ``Summer Travel Sale'' boasted ``low prices, fast service and great selection.''
Now, about those low, low prices: The ad (see above) listed Michelins, Yokohamas, BFGoodriches, Dunlops and Goodyears in various sizes for $00.99—in four of the cases beckoning customers with the promise to ``save $00-$00 on a set of 4.''
And NTB was peddling its ``Deluxe Classic LX'' private label tires at four for $00. ``No carryouts. Limit five per customer.
"No dealers,'' the ad also warned. (Nuts, and we went through the trouble of renting a truck to load up.)
Might we presume the obvious, that whoever set the type for the ad goofed up?
Either that or NTB has really gotten ruthless in its attempt to grab marketshare.
Tired of endless waiting for tee-times at your favorite links? Why not consider owning your own golf course. And Goodyear has just the one for you.
The company is in the process of selling the 18-hole course it owns in Gadsden, Ala. Not so coincidentally, Goodyear announced in February it was halting tire production at its Gadsden tire plant by year-end. So, come to think of it, there probably will be a lot of people with tee-time on their hands.
The Associated Press (AP) reported the course has been self-supporting for at least 10 years, with little financial help from Goodyear. Its membership is limited to current and retired Goodyear workers and their families.
Goodyear wouldn't confirm a deal, but it's expected that officials of the Goodyear Golf Club will purchase the 110-acre course, built in 1930, for somewhere between $1 million and $2 million, the AP said.
Being tire maker-owned, you'd expect the course might have some interesting hazards, such as tire piles in addition to sand traps. Better watch out—that pond on the 14th hole has ``gators'' in it.
Cure for 'deadbeats'
Why didn't someone think of this a long time ago, you'll ask yourself in amazement.
Payment Protection Systems, a California firm, has about 1,000 of its ``On-Time Device'' products in use around the country. The high-tech gadget literally forces someone to pay up or else, without having some wise guy in pinstripes named ``Guido'' show up to offer some ``persuasion.''
Installed on a car, On-Time consists of a keypad and a tiny light. Customers, who must go to a payment center once a week, get a six-digit code when they pay their bill, an Associated Press story noted. They then type the code into the keypad and if it matches the proper code, the light blinks green and the car can be started. If more than a week passes without a new code, the light stays red, a buzzer sounds and the car won't start.
The device has already spawned a lawsuit against former Detroit Lions running back Mel Farr, a Detroit-based auto dealer with a dozen dealership franchises in Michigan and Ohio. Two car-buying customers claim the device installed by Mr. Farr's company shut down their cars while they were driving. Not only is that dangerous, but their lawyer contends the gizmo relegates people to second-class status.
A spokeswoman for Mr. Farr said he finances cars in urban areas for many people with credit problems. The device helps the company do business in a tough market where there are ``schemers, liars, people who've never paid anyone,'' she said, adding that ``On-Time'' could not possibly have caused the cars to stall.
We can envision this apparatus modified for use by tire dealers. The driver gets a warning: Unless you stop now to make your weekly tire payment, your tires will go flat in 15 minutes. Kind of a run-flat deja vu.
This 'n that
Words to live by?—Rags to Riches Home Improvement has its company motto emblazoned on the side of its van, which was spotted on a Cleveland street: ``If she nags and bitches, call Rags to Riches.''
Better words to live by: ``Every job is a self-portrait of the person who did it. Autograph your work with quality.''
``Effort: Life does not require us to be the biggest or the best. It asks only that we try.''—both sayings displayed on an office wall in the Cleveland retail/commercial center of industrial tire distributor United Solideal Co.
Another ``scare tactic''?—We're supposed to worry about the so-called ``Y2K'' bug, computer viruses, and now...a marquee on a Marathon gas station in the Cleveland area warns, ``Does your car have the A/C virus?''
Sheesh. Some shops will do anything to make a buck.
Don't b-b-b-backup (crunch)—Here's something else to fret about: An Allstate Insurance Co. survey found 27 percent of all auto accidents occur while driving in reverse gear. Repair bills generally cost from $3,000 to $6,000.
Rostra Precision Controls Inc. is marketing a solution, of course—the Rostra Obstacle Sensing System (ROSS), which operates via a microwave signal sensor mounted out of view behind the vehicle bumper. And if you're nice to him, ROSS'll make popcorn for you while you drive. Well, not really.
B-b-b-bumper sticker fun—"If at first you don't succeed, skydiving is not for you."
Casting its Net—General Motors Corp. recently launched a new ``e-GM'' (as in "electronic commerce") business group in an effort to step up its Internet efforts.
Scott McNealy, chairman of Sun Microsystems Inc. —which is partnering with GM on a ``Web car'' due next year with Internet access—is excited about the project. ``I often refer to the automobile as nothing more than a Java browser with tires,'' he said.
Great. Soon we'll not only have to worry about drivers yacking on cell phones, but also surfing the Web while they drive? Can't hardly wait for that.