It's all in the fambly
After announcing that Bridgestone/Firestone (BFS) would build a new tech center in Akron, a Cleveland TV station did a feel-good feature story on the in-house barber at BFS's current Akron center.
The gent has cut employees' hair there since at least the 1970s. Nice, sentimental piece, with lots of vintage footage of tire making over the past half-century or so at the former Firestone Tire & Rubber Co. plant there.
Then, in her last reference to the many longtime employees who've worked at the facility for more than 40 years, the TV news anchor called it the Goodyear plant. Oops.
The 2008 convention and training extravaganza of the Texas Tire Dealers Association (TTDA) is fast approachingSept. 25-27 in San Antonioand while a lot of the dedicated business types will no doubt be drawn to the tire-related workshops, others will, shall we say, be seeking salted rims.
The TTDA is sponsoring a ``Friday Ladies Event'' featuring cooking at Alldaco's Sunset Station Mexican cuisine emporium. The group's Texas Tire Trax ``show issue'' newsletter said the ``ladies will be treated to a traditional Mexican cooking class. Learn how to make a Perfect Chicken Enchilada while enjoying Perfect Margaritas made by you (with a little help from the charming and entertaining Aldaco's staff).''
For those seeking perfect bliss from all those perfect margaritas, transportation via trolley will be provided back to the Menger Hotel. Others will have to stagger back under their own tequila-enhanced steam.
Don Adams, or for you younger folks, Steve Carell (aka Maxwell Smart) would probably take umbrage at a synopsis in the August issue of Consumer Reports that panned the cute but apparently uber-evil ``Smart ForTwo'' vehicle.
The mag called the itty-bitty car's ride ``horrendous,'' the handling unresponsive and the engine noisy. (But what didn't you like about it?)
``A car like this should be fun and zippy. Sadly, the Smart is neither,'' it bluntly stated.
Consumer Reports also criticized the vehicle's tranny, saying it shifts ``in an uncomfortable way, with pauses and heaves between gears.''
Looking for great fuel economy? Think again. The magazine said the Smarta rear-engined two-seater first shown at the 1998 Paris Motor Showis supposed to get 38 mpg and its tests showed that was the high point, but it called the fact the car requires premium fuel simply ``unforgivable.''
The Smart is made by Mercedes-Benz Cars, a Daimler A.G. company; Smart USA, a division of Penske Automotive Group, is the exclusive distributor for Smart in North America and Puerto Rico.
Smarting from the rebuke, a Smart spokesman was quoted in Automotive News as saying, ``Ultimately, the customer decides a vehicle's popularity. You can look no further than the 10,000 Smart ForTwos on U.S. roads in less than six months and an order bank of more than 30,000 reservations to understand the enthusiasm for this brand.''
Roller skates anyone?
This, that 'n other stuff
Cha-ching is badIndustrialist, car maker and all-around bon vivant Henry Ford (1863-1947) offered this thought for all you business owners slaving to make a buck: ``A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business.'' (With its multi-million-dollar losses in recent years, his namesake Ford Motor Co. will be glad to hear that.)
* * *
Don't askIn a similar vein to ol' Henry's observation, futurist and author Alvin Toffler said, ``Profits, like sausages are esteemed most by those who know least about what goes into them.''
* * *
Another Tums, pleaseHere's an understatement brought to you by travel insurance and assistance provider Access America, which commissioned a national survey of recent travelers.
It found that, in unaided responses, nearly half (48 percent) of travelers identified gas prices as the most frustrating issue they faced while traveling. That number is double what it was (24 percent) only nine months ago. Three-quarters of the respondents said they're ``very frustrated'' with the cost of gas. Overall, 86 percent said they're frustrated with prices at the pump. (Who isn't?)
On the other hand, booking travel remained the least-frustrating issue for travelers, with just 18 percent saying it was frustrating, according to the survey, completed in June.
* * *
More new office slang``Batmobiling'' is described by the Web site OfficeLang.com as ``putting up emotional shields.'' It refers to the retracting armor that covers the Batmobile, as in, ``She started talking marriage and he started batmobiling.''
Throwing 'em a bone
It had to happen: Farmers Insurance Group is now offering what it claims is ``dog-gone good'' automobile insurance coverage for four-legged members of your household (not including weird Uncle Festus.)
A press release from the Los Angeles-based firm, a wholly owned subsidiary of Zurich Financial Services, practically woofed the good news that Farmers customers in Ohio who have a collision and comprehensive auto insurance policy ``can now have financial coverage if their pets are injured or killed in a collision or theft.'' Coverage applies to new and existing customers who renewed policies on or after Aug. 1.
``Our customers asked us to extend coverage to their non-human passengers, and Farmers Insurance has responded,'' said Bill Martin, senior vice president, auto product management for the company. ``We estimate more than 63 percent of our customers have pets, and caring for them after an accident can be expensive.''
The policies will offer coverage up to $600 per occurrence; no additional charge for the extended coverage, other than customers are required to have both comprehensive and collision coverage; the new coverage is limited to injuries or death sustained during an accident or total theft of a vehicle; and the endorsement applies only to household pets and excludes an animal commonly kept for food or profit.
So while Fido will be happy to hear he's in good hands (oops, wrong insurance company), we're not sure if your goldfishor that crate of finger-lickin'-good live chickens in the back of the truckwill be covered. How much is a dog or cat worth if your car's stolen, anyway? $600 will buy a lot of biscuits.