Used to be, a hard-working tire dealership salesperson would try to squeeze every possible extra out of a sale-charging for valve stems, balancing, road hazard warranty, what have you.
A 42-year-old guy working in an Athens, Ga., outlet got more than just a little carried away and, in the end, got himself carried away...to the pokey.
He was arrested recently on charges of offering tires to a woman in exchange for sex (no word whether they were performance tires). According to an Associated Press report, Athens-Clarke County police charged the guy with solicitation of prostitution and pandering after a 25-year-old Athens woman told them she decided not to buy the tires from the outlet because she thought they were too expensive. So, she claimed, the guy from the dealership later phoned her to say he would give her the tires if she would meet him at a motel for some, well, you-know-what.
And he thought that was a fair trade?
This 'n that
Taking a bite out of crime-With apologies to McGruff the crime dawg: A man faces theft charges after police say they caught him leaving a Kenner, La., car dealership at 4 a.m. Sept. 8 with tires and rims he allegedly filched from two vehicles.
The 37-year-old suspect used to provide guard dogs for the dealership, Lamarque Ford, reported the Times-Picayune newspaper in New Orleans. The guy's company's motto: ``Put the bite on criminals.'' Honest.
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Bon Voyage-Author Henry Boye must have been a diplomat in another life. He observed: ``The most important trip you may take in life is meeting people halfway.''
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Words of wisdom-Famous philosopher ``Unknown'' noted, ``At the feast of ego, everyone leaves hungry.''
There's a European car commercial-coincidentally making the rounds on the Internet-that has really ruffled the feathers of some bird lovers.
The spot shows a pigeon swooping down from a tree toward a Ford Sportka parked on a street. But before the bird can...well, y'all know what birds tend to do on cars and things...the car's hood springs open and, splat, the pigeon (a prop pigeon, that is) gets knocked to the pavement.
The Royal Pigeon Racing Association is so upset about the spot, which appears only on Ford of Britain's Web site, that the group's general manager, Peter Bryant, wrote to Ford of Britain Chairman Roger Putnam asking that the commercial be removed.
``It depicts the death of a racing pigeon so graphically in violent and unnatural circumstances (that) it is, frankly, in very poor taste,'' said the group's letter, according to the Sunday Telegraph newspaper. ``Pigeon fanciers get attached to their birds,'' Mr. Bryant said. ``When they lose one, it is almost like losing a member of their family.''
That may be true, but the spot was, dare we say it, a tad cheeky but humorous-unless, of course, you were the pigeon.
The famous vintage ``Cadillac Ranch'' Caddies planted nose-down in a Texas wheat field recently shed their psychedelic shades and were painted black (cue strains of the Rolling Stones song) to mark the passing of the site's architect and artist.
Doug Michels died June 12 at age 59. He was a founding member of ``Ant Farm,'' a radical art and design collective that designed and installed the landmark 10 Caddies in 1974 for Amarillo, Texas, businessman and art patron Stanley Marsh III. Mr. Michels, who worked out of Houston, died in a climbing accident near Sydney, Australia, while working as a consultant on a movie about whales, according to a New York Times report.
Mr. Marsh OK'd the shroud-like painting of the Caddies after consulting with Mr. Michels' parents and former Ant Farm members, the Associated Press said, noting the cars' multi-hued colors and graffiti likely will eventually return.
Oh yeah, you might say it was a tad tasteless...the ad campaign making light of SARS that a Canadian car dealership launched then quickly pulled a while back as the epidemic raged.
Trillium Pontiac-Buick-GMC in Scarborough, Ontario, ran an advertisement playing on the acronym for the deadly SARS disease-short for severe acute respiratory syndrome. A short time later it took out a subsequent ad in the Toronto Sun apologizing for the previous ad that said SARS was just a ``rash'' and that ``the fever would go away'' if Canadians cashed in on a car and van sale at the dealership.
``We did not and do not ever intend to offend anybody,'' Lynt Hurdman, the dealership's president, told the Canadian Press wire service, which reported the company used the disease's acronym for a promotion it called a ``Spectacular Automotive Reduction Sale.''
Of course the ad created a stir in cosmopolitan Toronto, where SARS caused deaths, serious illnesses, quarantines and humorless damage to the local economy.
A spokesman for General Motors Canada said many persons in the company were not amused. ``There might have been a better and more creative way to advertise,'' he acknowledged.
Consider the marketing ploy another of those ``What the heck were they thinking?'' lessons.
Of toroids and other stuff
One of the integral components included in the special bonus issue, ``Tires-Truth vs. Perception,'' which Tire Business published Sept. 22, was a survey of consumers' impressions about those round, black ``donuts.''
Several tire dealerships across the country participated in our quest by passing out to some of their customers multiple-choice surveys prepared by TB. And, as can be expected, some of their answers were, uh, enlightening, to say the least.
A number of motorists admitted they check their tires' air pressure ``only when they look low'' while a couple respondents noted ``rarely.'' (And then they wonder why they have tire problems?)
No consensus, but opinions about whether ``tires in general are safe'' ranged from ``definitely'' to several respondents who said ``not at all.'' (Ouch!)
Tires are often touted as so good that flats are almost a thing of the past. Some of the survey responses bore that out. One gentleman's last flat tire? 1964. Give him points for having a good memory. The others ranged from ``last week,'' to a year and a half ago, to about four years ago.
On a scale of 1 to 5, with the latter being the most important, most consumers surveyed rated tires a 5 as far as their role in vehicle safety. One guy (must be an engineer) was more exacting, putting them at 4 3/4.
While consumers were asked to put checks in boxes next to questions, we did allow them the opportunity to write in additional comments about tires. ``Good and durable,'' one man wrote. ``Keep on rollin','' another clever person penned.
A young man between 21 and 30 got all technical on us, noting tires are ``very...toroidal.'' That sent us scrambling for a dictionary to discover a toroid is defined as ``a surface generated by a closed curve rotating about, but not intersecting or containing, an axis in its own plane.'' (Jolly-good effort, lad.)
But one response still has us scratching our heads. It may have come from a socially deprived individual. The woman, in the 41-50 age range, said she ``needed new tires to keep group friendship intact.''
Could be there's a new marketing message lurking in there somewhere. How about something like: ``Buy tires-make friends.''