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Editor's Notebook

Odds and Sods

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Time once again to deal with all the sticky notes clinging to my desk:

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• It was great seeing a lot of old friends and finally meeting a few I’d only corresponded with. And it was gratifying to hear so many positive comments about the magazine. Thank you! Still, it wasn’t the same without seeing Joe Kilcoyne; the industry legend passed away Oct. 18.

• More than 86,000 folks, says SEMA, attended the event, including a record 5,500 buyers for the tire side. Having all the tire and wheel exhibitors in the same room helped. But the move to the new South Hall did have a few bugs. A few large-space tire-side exhibitors were angry (red-faced, screaming mad, actually) about: 1) the lack of traffic in the ITE section, 2) the position of their booths relative to the main traffic aisle, or 3) confusion over the floor layout compared to what was shown at last year’s space drawing. And a number of exhibitors had electronic gear stolen from their booths over the course of the show. DVD players, cameras and VCRs mysteriously disappeared at night. One exhibitor told us that a few were found in garbage cans during tear down.

• Running the gauntlet through the SEMA end of the South Hall – affectionately referred to as "Silicon Valley," for obvious reasons ®€“ to the ITE portion (back of the room) was a challenge. More than a few rubbernecking injuries occurred, and the gawkers and photogs were rudely indifferent to those trying to pass through. I’m all for beautiful women, but this is 2002 and I wonder how many legit buyers are actually attracted by the window-dressing. The barely clad certainly appealed to the t-shirt-and-shorts pedestrians (real buyers?); few suits were lining up for autographed posters they’ll never be able to hang.

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• The Automotive Service Association’s "right to repair" agreement with carmaker groups is nothing short of a self-serving backroom deal. None of the other major groups – including TIA and AAIA – were cut in on the deal, even though they all actively pushed for proper right to repair legislation to protect independent service shops – including yours. The automaker groups doubtlessly hope the agreement will short-circuit Congressional action. Worse yet, ASA’s (which represents just 13,000 shops) pact is little more than a handshake deal the carmakers could bail on; proper legislation would force automaker compliance.

• Pardon our on-going construction, but we have launched a new version of our Web site (www.tirereview.com). It will be dusty there for a bit as we will be adding material and updating portions, but I think you’ll enjoy the improved site. Easier to navigate, packed with all your favorite features and loaded with many new ones, such as our vastly improves Buyer’s Guide and Tire Brands sections. Best of all, you can search back issues with ease. Tell us what you think.

• Found this on the ‘Net: The tribal wisdom of one Indian tribe, passed on from generation to generation, says that when you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.

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But modern organizations – from educators to government officials to corporations – often employ far more advanced strategies. Such as:

– Buying a stronger whip.

– Changing riders.

– Threatening the horse with termination.

– Appointing a committee to study the horse.

– Arranging to visit other countries to see how other ride dead horses.

– Lowering the standards so that dead horses can be included.

– Re-classifying the dead horse as "living impaired".

– Hiring outside contractors to ride the dead horse.

– Harnessing several dead horses together to increase their speed.

– Providing additional funding and/or training to increase the dead horse’s performance.

– Doing a productivity study to see if lighter riders would improve the dead horse’s performance.

– Declaring that as the dead horse does not have to be fed, it is less costly, carries lower overhead, and therefore contributes substantially more to the bottom line than some living horses.

– Re-writing the performance requirements for all horses.

– Promoting the dead horse to a management position.

• From all of us at Tire Review, thank you for another great year! We wish and yours a safe holiday season, and happy New Year!

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