How's my marksmanship? They shot an arrow into the air.|.|.|at TBC Corp.'s annual meeting, Jan. 5-8 in Palm Desert, Calif., company execs delivered speeches to distributors and dealers about being "On Target."
Take, for instance, the talk by Barry Robbins, TBC's executive vice president of sales and marketing, who announced that the title of his speech was "Bull's Eye."
"And I don't want any of my friends out there substituting another word for `eye' and removing the apostrophe from `bull,'|" he chided.
Then, talk about disparate references, Mr. Robbins interjected a couple of maxims to illustrate a point, first quoting Austrian author Franz Kafka of "Metamorphosis" fame, who declared: "In a fight between you and the world, bet on the world."
He then proceeded to quote that famous philosopher, Gallagher (the comedian), who astutely observed: "Even if you fall on your face, you're still moving forward."
It was kind-of Kafka-esque. But all we could do was ponder who to bet on in a fight between Kafka and Gallagher.
Sears, Roebuck and Co.'s National Tire and Battery (NTB) operation came under some bashing at the meeting.
Over the last couple of years, some observers say, NTB has perhaps attempted to bite off more market share than it could chew, with Sears ending up closing 33 unprofitable NTB locations in Michigan, New York and Florida in 1999.
That led TBC's Gary Paulson, director of national sales, to remark that some say NTB stands for "Not Too Busy" or "Not Too Bright." Mind you, he didn't say that.
Reassuring TBC'ers that Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. is "unwavering in our commitment to independent dealers," Thomas A. Dattilo, president/COO, then paraphrased the words of the late Woody Hayes, former football coach at Ohio State University. The Cooper boss pointed out that "you're either growing or you're losing market share."
There is another alternative—just ask all those dealerships simply treading water rather than tires.
For the record, it was the Woodster who said: "You're either getting better or you're getting worse. You never stay the same," (which can also be said for many of our waistlines.)
You gotta speak the lingo
...So this young guy's on his first job as a waiter in a greasy-spoon diner, when a rather large trucker sits down at the counter and barks his order: "Gimme three flat tires and a couple of headlights."
Bewildered, the waiter goes to the kitchen, tells the cook the order and says, "I think this guy's in the wrong store!"
But the cook's tuned in to what's going on. "He wants three pancakes and two eggs sunny-side up."
The waiter takes a bowl of beans to the trucker, who looks at it and growls: "What's this? I didn't order this!" To which the young man replies: "The cook says while you're waitin' for your parts, you might as well gas up!"
We've heard about the problem of rubber on the road, but in the friendly skies?
Apparently Delta Airlines has found a way to do non-destructive casing examinations. A recent Associated Press report said a Delta jet had to make an emergency landing at Norfolk International Airport when tread from one of its tires came off and was sucked into an engine shortly after takeoff.
Rest assured the jet landed safely, according to a Delta spokesman, no one was injured, the engine was not destroyed—and neither was the tire.
Just retread that baby and let the big bird fly.
Dumb - and lovin' it
Finally, there's an explanation for a condition many seem to suffer from (though we're not naming any names, ourselves included).
Research by David A. Dunning, a psychology professor at Cornell, has indicated that incompetent people don't have enough sense to know they're incompetent. Actually, a New York Times story said, persons who do things badly are usually supremely confident of their abilities—more confident than people who do things well.
Why is that? Because, Professor Dunning believes, the skills required for competence often are the same ones necessary to recognize competence. Not only do the incompetent reach erroneous conclusions "and make unfortunate choices," he and his research assistant, Justin Kruger, wrote, "but their incompetence robs them of the ability to realize it."
We knew all along that ignorance is, indeed, bliss. Does that make us incompetent? (Keep your opinions to yourself.)
This 'n that
East meets West—The conference chairman for the Tire Association of North America's "Off-the-road" conference, Feb. 17-19, is Al Chicago, who'll take charge of the event in that toddlin' town of Tucson, Ariz.
Temperature's risin'—Her first time out of the box, Lori Robertson of Chino Hills., Calif., won the 1999 Super Stock Ladies National Championship. Driving her '89 Corvette shod with Kumho tires, "Nurse Lori" picked up the Solo II National Championship. By day she's an emergency room trauma nurse and soap opera medical consultant—when she's not nursing her lead foot.
Mind if I dock here?—General Motors Corp. has signed an agreement to buy worldwide rights to the "Hummer" brand from the vehicle's maker, AM General Corp.
According to our sister publication, Automotive News, the companies are exploring product opportunities for the Hummer brand, including a higher-volume sport-utility vehicle.
Calling the Hummer a sport-ute is like saying the Queen Elizabeth II is just an overgrown Chriscraft. Try docking either of them.
Speaking of the Lizzie, did you know that cruise liner supposedly moves only six inches for each gallon of diesel fuel it burns? That's almost as bad as the Hummer's mpg.
Teetering on extinction—A magazine that shall remain nameless recently ran a classified ad under its "Marketing" heading that piqued our interest (and no doubt that of countless dealers struggling to make a buck in this business). The headline said: "Secrets of a millionaire tire dealer!"
Isn't that breed on the endangered species list?
"Yellow" journalism—So where do automotive technicians turn to for information about changing regulations and new trends for the mobile air conditioning industry?
Well, the folks at Exton, Pa.-based Neutronics Inc.'s Automotive Division have a newsletter for that. But couldn't somebody have come up with a better name for the publication than The Contaminator?