A cartoon I remember from the '60s pictured a young couple getting it on in a grassy field. What made it memorable was the expression on the face of the guy as his female partner of the moment, stoically looked up into his eyes, saying something like "I’m doing this for nuclear disarmament, free love, and world peace… What are you doing this for?"
It’s time for the latest installment of Barons In The Buff, a collage of candid quotes from the mind-trust of insurance personnel, those who once walked in their shoes, and from those of us who know them all too well. We trust you will find these quotes educational and entertaining, and encourage you to send any notable quotes you’ve received to my e-mail listed above. No fabricated or embellished quips, please: the truth is always “stranger than fiction.”
For years my wife and I have been cleaning up the roadside where we live. One major reason we do this is for the exercise it provides… a couple miles of brisk walking plus back and knee bending that keeps us fairly limber despite arthritis issues. Generally speaking, on the relatively upscale, bedroom community of Seattle island where we live, what little trash along our road is Starbucks cups, McDonalds wrappers and plastic salad containers, cigarette wrappers and butts, an occasional beer can or pop bottle, some of those little liquor bottles from plane flights (someone down our road obviously works for an airline), and an occasional syringe. The roads around our home are frequented by spandex-covered bicyclists with their butts high in the air expressing, I can only assume, their opinion of the rest of us.
The term – industry accepted standards – is used by both insurers and repairers as it serves their purposes to earn the consumer’s trust. Industry accepted standards, relative to collision repair, is the feel-good lure of choice – cast out to convince the gullible.
Chris and Carol Ferrante, the former owners of Gilbert Collision Center in Gilbert, Arizona, have had their lives turned upside down since May from a lawsuit brought against them by Infinity Insurance. (See Autobodynews,com for a profile on the collision repair shop when the Ferrante's owned it in 2002).
A friend who once drove a bread-route told of a true incident involving one of his customers of former days who was the proprietor of an old country store with the typical outhouse alongside. One day, as the storekeeper sat in his privy leisurely finishing a cigar while reading a newspaper, he dropped the cigar butt into the depths below. In an explosive flash, he was propelled through the privy's wall and deposited on the nearby road, black and blue and, shall we say, exposed. Seems a backyard mechanic, employing disposal methods common to that era, had dumped several gallons of stale gasoline down this outhouse. In addition to public exposure, today the consequences of waste disposal impropriety often include serious fines, restitution and even imprisonment.
I just had my yearly physical. One reason I rely heavily on the advice of the doctor I've chosen is that he takes good care of himself, and emphasizes preventative medicine. Since I turned 50, physicals have taken on a new character - sinister-appearing devices for early detection of prostate and colon cancer have been added to the regular regimen. Although the procedures involved are sometimes uncomfortable, the temporary inconveniences far outweigh the risk of physical molehills turning into mountains. We want to spend our days on this earth as free of undue pain and illness as possible so as to be active participants, rather than faded memories, in the lives of our children and grandchildren.
Electronic communication and commerce developments of the past decade have created some exciting and strange bedfellows in our industry. Used wisely, and not abused, some of these can help us put out a better product in a shorter time frame. But the dot-coms that have sprung up faster than hallucinatory fungi on horse pucky threaten to dot-decimate many smaller players, especially those unable or unwilling to conform to the control of those bent on pulling the cyber-strings. As with everything else in this life, "following the money trail" always leads us to realize someone else's desire to control and profit from us - or eliminate us.
"Take it off, Honey!" I pleaded with my wife as we ended an early-morning walk. My request concerned the doubt she'd just voiced that she could afford to take off just six workdays from her extensive office duties at our shop. It's a phobia common enough among business owners - the fear of who knows what awaits their return from enjoying the fruits of their labors: The fear of loss of control!
The October, 2001 issue of Autobody News front-lined an article, "Dealer Parts Managers Complain that Body Shops Return Excessive Number of Parts," voicing the opinions of parts managers interviewed. Three factors are pinpointed as contributing to an excessive number of returned parts - outright fraud, cycle time pressures that encourage ordering parts "just in case we need them," and parts orders based on estimates written by inexperienced insurance adjusters. It seems that the parts managers are sweating - and speaking out - about these issues.