Better judgment needed
I would like to comment on the front page photo and article in the Sept. 26 issue about Bill and Pat Hays in Katrina-ravaged Louisiana and Mississippi.
The couple are owners of four Tire Town stores in the area.
As reported in Tire Business, Bill and Pat impersonated disaster recovery team members of Boh Bros., a large construction company in New Orleans, to gain access and check on their four stores in an area closed by martial law.
I don't support their actions and I would hope that Tire Business doesn't applaud or support them either. Tire Business wouldn't like others impersonating its editors or writers, just as I am sure the construction company won't be happy about Bill and Pat impersonating their employees.
Those entering the martial law area were allowed in to help other human beings afflicted by the horrible disaster caused by Katrina. That Bill and Pat misrepresented themselves to gain access-and, in the photo, appear to be happy that they did so-is disturbing.
They didn't use this tactic to get in and help their less fortunate fellow New Orleaneans, and the article doesn't mention that they did anything but check on the welfare of their stores.
I hope that Tire Business uses better judgment to write and publish higher moral articles in the future under similar circumstances. Had Bill and Pat chosen to help during the disaster, that would have been not only a better article to read and sustain our faith in our fellow men and tire dealers but also better publicity for their retail tire business.
U-Save Tire L.L.C.
Editor's note: In response to Mr. Swope, Bill Hays told Tire Business: ``I'm good friends with a number of Boh Bros. (construction company) vice presidents and other executives there and have a lot of friends at the company. Although I didn't have their written permission, I told them what I planned to do and they basically winked and told me, `Go for it.''' He said he has since met with a company executive who told him: ``Bill, whatever you have to do to get into your property is OK with me.''
Mr. Hays added: ``I hope that this Tire Business reader doesn't ever have to go through what we did after the hurricane.''
Who's next for `junk' status?
Concerning your article in the Aug. 29 issue about big automotive parts suppliers now having a ``junk'' credit rating: Large users tend to use up their suppliers these days.
The threat of offshore and Far East price competition destroys North American competition.
I've been in this business since I was 16 and I'm 57 now. I love this business and I've seen a lot. I think it's only a matter of time before the Chinese start nationalizing their businesses.
And I also believe that if we don't buy it-for example the U.S. oil company China recently almost acquired-the Chinese will.
There is no way to compete on a level playing field with the Far East. I wonder where this all will go. Are domestic tire suppliers next to become ``junk?''
Whitehall Tires for Less
A division of Butler Tire Distributors Inc.