Tag Archives: Business

Is This Hell? No, It’s A Car Buying Experience

True story…

A few years ago I walked into an auto dealership to test drive a new vehicle intending to lease. I was met by a gentleman who took me for the drive. When we got back to the dealership he spoke with me for a short time and when he realized we weren’t close on price he excused himself and within a few minutes an attractive young lady, (I’m being kind), approached me. She was wearing a short skin-tight dress that was cut much too low in the front. My guess is, she was the greaser. For the next few minutes she smiled, leaned over and explained to me the benefits of the vehicle I was thinking about leasing. When I didn’t move on the price, she excused herself and out came her sales manger, a rather slick-looking gentleman who was obviously in love with himself and wanted me to feel the same way. At this point I was somewhere between amused and feeling like I needed a shower. He tried to educate me on the car buying experience; what I should expect, how the money factor works, how little dealerships make on each car and how much I’m going to enjoy having my car serviced there because they’re all one big happy family.
The dealership was five minutes from my home. I ended up traveling forty minutes to get the car from another dealership because I didn’t want to feel like I was entering a brothel every time I walked in there to get my car serviced.

The process of buying or leasing a car is draining. Even when I try to have fun with it and smile at the sales people and their obvious attempts of insulting your intelligence, it’s usually a train wreck.

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So last week I walked into a dealership to lease. I gave them my specs and they gave me a price but I usually shop around so I contacted an internet sales person  at another dealership who gave me a price that was less. The next day I went in expecting the bait and switch routine, however I underestimated their ranking on the sleazy meter. When they presented the price to me it was 165.00 a month more than what they quoted on the phone. I Just looked at them and asked if they were kidding. After only a two or three minutes of shaking my head and telling them how unprofessional I thought they were, the sales manager “recalculated” the numbers and dropped the price 120.00.

In just a few minutes.

Really?

How can I possibly take this place seriously?

I walked out, responded to a followup note the car salesman sent me and told them what I thought. It wasn’t pretty.

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Why does buying or leasing a car have to be some damn difficult? I learned a long time ago in business negotiation that you should never be the one to take the last dollar off the table. The best deals are when everyone wins and walks away happy. But car buying seems to fly in the face of that logic.

Some years ago Saturn decided that there would be no haggling over price. They developed a one price policy for their line of cars. When you walked in to the showroom, you knew what you were going to pay.  I didn’t like the styling of Saturn’s but for those who did, it seemed like a great idea.

Then they went out of business.

Don’t even say what you’re thinking.

Joaquin’s The Man

A lot of people claim to be THE MAN or THE WOMAN, but only Joaquin delivers on that promise.

Why?

Because Joaquin Garcia didn’t show up for work for six years and still got paid.

Why?

Because no one noticed.

He wasn’t sick or recuperating or out of the country or building homes for Habitat or working on a cure for American politics, or creating new recipes we can all enjoy.

Nope, he did none of those things. He just showed up for work one day, realized there was nothing to do in his private office, which was to supervise the construction of water treatment plants in Cadiz, Spain, and never went back again.

For. Six. Years.

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The only reason he got caught is that the Deputy Major wanted to give him a plaque for 20 years of loyal service but couldn’t find him anywhere.

His penalty? The most the Spanish government can do, by law, is fine him 30,000 dollars, which he’s fighting because he claims he didn’t do anything wrong. Imagine the pineapples on this guy. He collected a salary of 42,000 for six years and refuses to pay back a fraction of it. Then again he didn’t show up for work for six years so his attitude shouldn’t surprise anyone.

What did Joaquin do during those six years he was supposed to be working? Well, friends say he dedicated himself to reading books about philosophy.

Yeah, I know. But that’s a whole different post.

Funny thing is, after reading about this, I realized I’ve worked with too many people in my life who did nothing and still collected a salary. But they had to at least show up for work.

That’s why, philosophically speaking,  Joaquin Garcia will always remain, THE MAN.

 

Cascading Confusion

 

I went to the supermarket earlier today to pick up a few things and one of the items was dishwashing detergent.  So I look at the Cascade pods and here are the choices I’m faced with.

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The one on the right is six times the power, the one in the middle is eight times the power and the one on the left is their platinum product;  their strongest cleaning detergent at ten times the power.

The interesting thing is that they’re all the same price and none were on sale.

Now I’m a simple guy so I’d like to ask any Cascade marketing genius out there a few simple questions.

Why would I buy something that is six or eight times strong when I can buy  what you advertise as your, ten times strong, best product, at the same price I can by the others?

Why is it necessary to create three different kinds of packaging and take up three times as much shelf space when you can market and sell your best product with one package in less space?

Is your marketing/research development departments bored or over-staffed to the extent they find it necessary to force me to put on my glasses and read the entire front package of all three items to see if there’s a small print, trick cleaning formula that’s not obvious without intense study?

What was the conversation like in the meeting room when this idea was presented to the decision makers and has the air quality in your facility been tested for long-term exposure to the particles that make up your product?

Is this your idea of a joke?

Then again, maybe I’m missing a bigger picture.

Or not.

 

Football, Gambling And Life

I read an article a few days ago that estimates Americans will wager 95 BILLION dollars on college and NFL games this coming season. Of that figure, 93 billion will be bet illegally. Keep in mind, this is only one sport that essentially covers five months out of the year.

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In order to try to gain some perspective, that number is 30 billion more than Google’s 2014 revenues.

Now, I enjoy watching football, I attend games and even take part in some friendly and inexpensive football pools. I don’t bet on games and never have. Though it may be entertaining, for me, all forms of gambling is a fool’s game. If it wasn’t Vegas would be dark and the bookies would be selling cars.

There are many hypocrisies related to sports, with gambling being close to the top of the list. The NFL, as an example, realizes that, in large part, their popularity is tied into the money that is being gambled each week. All sports do, which is why they are all trying to find ways to legally grab a piece of that pie. Politicians are no different. Legalized gambling can generate significant revenues for states, which they can then use to____________ ( you can fill in the blank as sarcastically as you wish.)

As for me, I can’t help but wonder how much good we can do in this country with 95 billion dollars. I understand sports is an entertainment and we’re all entitled to spend our entertainment money in any way we like.  But 95 billion dollars? That’s a lot of good being spent on self-indulgence, isn’t it?

Whenever I doubt if I’m right in thinking our priorities may be a little distorted, I read an article like this and wonder how we got to a place where, with everything we see going on around us, we can read something like this and not even blink or react.

How much does the sandbox need to be filled before it can no longer hold its own weight? My guess is we’ll find out soon enough.

 

Have You Met Evan Yet?

This is Evan. He’s nine years old and adorable, isn’t he?

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Maybe you’ve seen him before on a talk show or in a magazine article? What makes him a little different from other nine-year old children? Well, Evan reviews toys on youtube. Sometimes he shares the spotlight with his siblings while his father records and produces the video’s before selling ad time to toy companies. Nice little family business, don’t you think? The kids get to have fun playing with toys and their parents get to spend some nice bonding time with their children.

There is one other bit of information I should probably mention. Last year, Evan earned close to 1.5 million dollars, while his youtube channels have exceeded 1 billion views.

Evan is nine years old, adorable, charming as all heck and earns money playing with toys. Well, lots of money, actually.

Here’s one of Evan’s reviews, in case you’re curious. Have a great day at work tomorrow.

 

Lesson Learned

In any relationship I’ve ever had, whether it was personal or business, there came a moment where I found out everything I needed to know about a person.

That lesson has never failed me. However, the most important part of the lesson is not that we recognize what eventually becomes obvious to us, but what we choose to do about it. 

Relationships of all kinds should be built on trust, respect and support. Significant others? Friends? Business associates? It doesn’t matter. We should expect certain things from the people we become invested in. Are they just using our friendship? Are they saying one thing to us but something else to others in order to make themselves look better in a business environment? Are they there when we need them at home or are they too selfish to see beyond their own needs?

We may not have the opportunity to alter their initial actions but we do have a choice in determining whether we address it directly, walk away from it entirely or allow someone to repeat their actions. Because if we allow it to happen once, it’ll happen again.

People will take what you give them and give what you allow.

Lesson learned.

A Woman’s Worst Enemy May Surprise You

It’s no secret that women often earn less than men while continually being subjected to double standards, sexism, harassment and discrimination in the workplace. Oftentimes, they must deal with a work-life balance that men and family members don’t understand or support. While many companies attempt to outwardly support a women’s choice to have a family, pregnancy discrimination claims have increased by 35% over the last ten years; a confirmation that women tend to be punished for their life choices.
Additionally, women must work harder to be taken seriously in a workplace that is dominated by men. While aggressive attitudes in men are viewed positively in the business world, a woman exhibiting the same characteristics would be viewed as bitchy.

With that as a backdrop, you would think there would be an understanding among women; a camaraderie or support system that didn’t include attempts by women to destroy other women.  Unfortunately, women are often their own worst enemies.

Kelly Valen is the author of The Twisted Sisterhood.  In her book, Valen  spoke with over three thousand women. Almost ninety percent of the women who took part in the fifty question survey revealed they felt “currents of meanness and negativity emanating from other females.” Eighty-five percent admitted having suffered serious, life altering knocks at the hands of women and that many of their friendships had an “intense, sinister underbelly.” More than 75% had been hurt by the jealousy and competition of a friend.
Valen said she was shocked by the number of women who told her that they endured female friendships behind, “frozen smiles and a facade of intimacy.”

According to Valen, women “have correctly identified that the primary threat to their emotional security radiates….from fellow females.”  She went on to say, “these secret, social battles are waged, in many cases, by the very same women singing the praises of girl power, feminism and female friendship in their lives.”
It’s not surprising that her book was lambasted by some who felt she was “airing the ladies dirty laundry.”

Personally, I’ve always wondered why this issue hasn’t been spoken about more openly. For so many years I witnessed this type of behavior firsthand and it bothered me. There were times I’d ask a female co-worker about this very topic, and in each case, there was never a moment of hesitation or denial that the problem existed.  When I asked why, they would just smile or shrug their shoulders. They had no answers, and I have no desire to jump into a pool without knowing the depth of the water.

Like most complex issues, there is never one reason or one answer. But I sure wouldn’t mind an attempt at an explanation I can put my arms around. Because it seems to me, with all the juggling and difficult situations a woman has to deal with in her life, support from someone who’s been there and understands the struggle, would go a long way toward building the kind of sisterhood all women would embrace.