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Archive for the ‘Automotive’ Category

AUTO DEALERSHIP ADS

Posted by Tim Bryce on September 1, 2017

BRYCE ON ADVERTISING

– Do they really have to be so bad?

Click for AUDIO VERSION.
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

I’ve seen a lot of bad advertisements in my day, everything from ads on television, to radio, to billboards, to print media and the Internet, but I would have to say that local automotive dealers have been consistently the worst I’ve seen. I think “obnoxious” is perhaps the best adjective to describe local car ads and maybe they have to be as it is a highly competitive market. I think they try to put their best foot forward but inevitably they end up becoming overbearing and look like classless bumpkins.

I used to think California had the most obnoxious car dealers in the country, but I believe just about every one else has caught up with them. On television you commonly see loudmouthed sales managers, or you have the dealership owner who is usually a “Jolly Wally” type who means well but has no business being in front of a camera. Local sports figures are commonly used by dealerships, but I think it’s only so the dealer can get his autograph.

Most dealers use some sort of gimmick and catch phrase for the public to associate with their dealership. This is probably not a bad idea, but most are pretty cheesy expressions which makes most people groan. These catch phrases are then splattered everywhere on television, radio, newspapers, the dealer’s web page, and on auto decals and license plates. This last item particularly bugs me; You buy a new car from the dealer and after it is prepped to take home you find it has become a rolling billboard for the dealer with his name and slogan neatly labeled on your car and with his license tag frame. I always admired the audacity of the dealers for putting their crap on our cars. Remarkably, few people ask for it to be removed or to be paid for advertising the dealer’s company.

Flags are often used to draw attention to car dealerships, particularly down here in the South. Quite often you’ll find huge American flags waving overhead to appeal to your sense of patriotism when you buy a car. I find this particularly amusing for dealerships featuring foreign cars, like Japanese, German, or Korean. Come on, who is kidding who here?

Then of course there are the key chains, shirts, and other trinkets that bear the dealer’s name and slogan. I find it interesting when they want us to pay for such items as opposed to paying us to advertise their firm.

Auto dealerships rarely offer first class advertisements. Most simply can’t afford it and slap together some loud ad which would make just about any Madison Avenue ad exec cringe. The one exception seems to be Oregon’s Suburban Auto Group with their legendary “Trunk Monkey” series of commercials. Whereas other dealerships aren’t taken seriously because of their ads, Suburban tries to lighten things up and in the process has garnered nationwide recognition. The point is, auto dealership ads really don’t have to be as bad as they are.

First published: August 11, 2008

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

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Copyright © 2017 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Also read Tim’s columns in the THE HUFFINGTON POST

NEXT UP:  THE SFB QUOTIENT – A test to measure yourself.

LAST TIME:  TWO TYPES OF LEADERS  – Which one do you work for?

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; KIT-AM (1280) in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

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Posted in Automotive, Media | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

MARKING TIME

Posted by Tim Bryce on September 9, 2016

BRYCE ON LIFE

– A little trick to remember birthdays.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

Years ago, comedian Jay Leno made the observation the main difference between men and women was the 3 Stooges, the legendary comedy team. Leno contended men loved the 3 Stooges, but women hated them. He said even Albert Einstein would crack up when Curley would say, “Oh, a wise guy eh?” or “Nyuck, Nyuck, Nyuck.” Women instead would simply dismiss them as jerks.

Although I agree with Leno’s assessment, I recently came across another distinguishing characteristic separating men from women, and that is how we mark the passage of time. Whereas women tend to remember the dates when family members were born, men tend to remember the genealogy of the family’s automobiles. I recently tested this theory on several friends and found it to be surprisingly true. The women had total recall when it came to the birthdays of family members, but couldn’t remember what they were driving just a couple of years ago. They could remember the dates of not only their own offspring, but their nieces and nephews as well. In contrast, men had trouble remembering birthdays but could accurately list the make and model of every car the family ever owned in chronological sequence. I even had a friend who added up a total of 43 cars in the family, but couldn’t quite remember his kids’ birthdays. Whereas women found this rather disturbing, men thought it was a fascinating account of the automotive history.

Understanding this distinction between men and women, I think I’ve hit upon a compromise to get both sexes in synch, and that is to simply buy a car when a child is born. It doesn’t even have to be a new car, it could be used; regardless, men will forever remember the date thereafter. So that women will remember the automobile, the answer is rather obvious, name the child after the automobile. I can see it now, instead of naming kids after the latest generation of entertainers like Britney, Lindsay, or Ashley, they would bear proud names like Mercedes, Pontiac, Camry, Kia, etc. However, I guess we should be grateful we don’t have Edsels, Terraplanes, DeLoreans, DeSotos or Studebakers anymore; it just wouldn’t sound right.

Also published with News Talk Florida.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2016 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  WHY THE PRESS NITPICKS TRUMP – Ever watch a good Coon Dog in action? They’re unmerciful.

LAST TIME:  PERSONAL INTRODUCTIONS  – My, how they have changed.

Listen to Tim on News Talk Florida (WWBA 820 AM), WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; KIT-AM (1280) in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Posted in Automotive, Life | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

OUR ATTACHMENT TO AUTOMOBILES

Posted by Tim Bryce on October 9, 2015

BRYCE ON LIFE

– How we embrace cars into our lives.

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To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

We just sold our 2000 Volkswagen Beetle. It was a beautiful car which was painted red and featured a 4 Cyl. GLS 1.8 Liter Turbo engine. This was definitely not your father’s VW as it had a lot of get up and go. One time I had it up to 120 mph just to see what it could do. I could have gone faster, but 120 was fast enough for me. Other than a few trips to Jacksonville, Orlando, and Naples, the car didn’t get much use and shuttled me to and from work or to the airport. As my kids grew up, we rarely drove it anymore. When we sold it, there was just over 50,000 miles on it, not bad for a ten year old car. It was well maintained over the years, but it simply sat in our driveway with the Florida sun pounding on it, which is why we finally decided to sell it to someone who could take better care of it.

After we made the sale, we dutifully emptied it of our possessions, such as CD’s and jumper cables, and removed the license plate. It was kind of sad to see it go as it was a fine car, but we knew it was time to part. It kind of reminded me of waving good-bye to our last child leaving the nest for school. We’ve had a lot of cars in the family over the years and aside from one lemon we bought years ago, we tended to treat them like members of the family, kind of like the attachment we form to family pets, like dogs and cats. On the one hand we realize it is an inanimate object used as a tool for transportation, but on the other it becomes a part of us. Maybe it’s because we use it so much and take pleasure in driving it.

I think this is the reason people like to attend the many classic car shows around the country as we inevitably come upon a vehicle from our past which conjures up memories and invokes emotions. There is one car show in particular I have visited for the last few years in Fernandino Beach, Florida which has a wide assortment of cars from my past (the show is held in October). Some of my favorites are Chevy Bel Airs from the mid-1950’s which my grandparents owned for a long time. When I see one painted turquoise green and white, the same as my grandparents’ car, I think of their home in Buffalo, New York. When I come upon a Corvette Stingray fastback from the mid-1960’s I think of my neighborhood in Chicago, Illinois.

The DeLorean DMC-12 is popular at such car shows, particularly among youth who still remember the movie “Back to the Future.” Although the original company has faded into memory a long time ago (they stopped production in 1982), a new DeLorean Motor Company resurfaced under new ownership in Humble, Texas. As I understand it, the new company obtained all of the parts from the old company and it is still possible to purchase a restored DeLorean in mint condition from the Texas operation.

The only time we do not become attached to our vehicle is when we see it as nothing more than a scrap of metal to move us from point A to point B. Such cars are usually pretty beat up thereby negating any attachment. Then again, I have seen people still devoted to their piece of rust, particularly old Volkswagens where the floor boards or the body is in various stages of decomposition.

Bottom-line, the reason people develop attachments to their automobiles is because it is an extension of their personality and when we finally sell the car or scrap it, we feel like we are severing a piece of ourselves, and a tear forms.

Originally published; September 15, 2010

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2015 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  A TALE OF TWO PROJECTS – “Beware of your firefighters; they are probably your chief arsonists.” – Bryce’s Law

LAST TIME:  AGAIN, INTO THE ABYSS  – Comparing the 1960’s with the 2010’s.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern); WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Posted in Automotive, Life | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

OUR 1964 PLYMOUTH VALIANT

Posted by Tim Bryce on July 6, 2015

BRYCE ON AUTOMOBILES

– Remembering our first automobile.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

Men tend to have a love affair with their automobiles, particularly the first few they drive. As for me, it was a 1964 Plymouth Valiant, painted red, with a red interior, and a black convertible roof. This was the car I first learned to drive and took my behind-the-wheel driver’s test when I was 16. It took me on a lot of dates and several High School football games. My parents bought it new in Connecticut and we took it with us when we moved to Chicago and Cincinnati.

As a convertible, it was considered sporty, but had great gas mileage. It was a comfortable car to drive and easy to maintain, not to mention a model of simplicity. Featured was a push button transmission, with 1 – 2 – D – R as buttons. My brother managed to break the buttons when he learned you could drive it like a manual transmission. Believe me, you push the buttons long and hard enough, they will break.

There was no air conditioning in the car, just a horizontal bar you would move from left (hot) to right (cold), along with a knob to adjust the fan. Simple. It came equipped with an AM radio which was fine as FM was not yet a major factor in the entertainment world. My brother and I added an 8-track tape deck, state of the art for the times. When I bought the new “Abbey Road” album in 1969 as an 8-track, I listened to it over and over again while sitting in the car in the garage. I’m surprised I didn’t kill the battery.

Inside the engine compartment was a 6-cylinder engine, battery, air filter, etc., all of which was easy to access. So much so, we would change the oil and filters ourselves. You could change the battery in less than five minutes. Simple.

The windows and retractable roof were manually operated. It would take less than a minute to put the convertible top down or up. It was also the first car we had with standard seat belts.

My father taught me how to drive in the Valiant, and we started by traversing the neighborhoods before I graduated to the open highway. Frankly, it was a great car to drive, not to mention to learn to drive. Yes, we were taught to change the tires and care for the car. More importantly, he taught me the value of keeping a set of jumper cables and a good tire iron in the trunk. During the great blizzard of 1967 in Chicago, my father happened to travel out of town on business. The weather was so bad, it took him days to return home. Since he had left the Valiant in O’Hare’s parking lot, we had to go and retrieve it. Unfortunately, it was covered under several feet of snow. We patiently removed the snow but the battery was dead. Next to the car was a pickup truck, so we removed the snow from it, popped the hood open and put the jumper cables on, and “Voila” the Valiant started right up.

When I was taking my behind-the-wheel driver’s test in Cincinnati, an Ohio state trooper drove with me wearing “Cool Hand Luke” sunglasses and a drill instructor’s hat. I was driving fine during the test, and he loved the car. When he looked at the 8-track tape deck, he saw a cartridge resting in the deck and shoved it in. As I had forgotten I had left it on a loud setting, I suddenly heard Jimi Hendrix blaring “All Along the Watchtower” from his “Electric Ladyland” album. Fortunately, nobody was around us as the sound snapped my concentration and I swerved. Fortunately, I regained my composure and turned the volume down. The D.I. wrote something on his clipboard, but I still passed the test.

I believe it was in 1973 when my parents traded in the Valiant for an Audi which turned out to be a lemon. Shortly thereafter they traded it in for a Mustang, thereby marking the end of an era. We never had another car as simple to use and drive as the Valiant. It was a great example of American engineering and we miss it even to this day.

As I said, men possess a fondness in their hearts for their first car. Mine was the 1964 Plymouth Valiant convertible. What was yours?

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2015 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  OUR CONTEMPT FOR AUTHORITY – Why do we dislike our leaders?

LAST TIME:  THE WORDS OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE  – Time to remember why our country sought independence from Great Britain.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern); WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Posted in Automotive | Tagged: , , , , | 6 Comments »

NARCISSISM ON THE HIGHWAY

Posted by Tim Bryce on September 16, 2013

BRYCE ON DRIVING

– The problem is not with our highways, it is the people driving on them.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

I recently experienced a near accident on US19, a major artery traversing Pinellas County vertically. As I was approaching a left turn lane, a young man in an SUV suddenly darted out of the travel lane and was about to broadside me. I immediately laid on my horn and took evasive measures which caused me to momentarily cross the dividing curb and then back into the left lane and ahead of the other automobile. Fortunately, I possess good reaction time and I survived unscathed. I was mad at the offender but kept my cool and stayed in my car as no damage had been done.

Following this, I started to think about all of the laws, rules, and regulations associated with driving. First, to obtain a license, we have to be properly trained which typically begins in High School and concludes with a driver’s test, usually written and behind the wheel. Then there is the billions of dollars we spend every year by the federal and state departments of transportation. Construction of our highways, both large or small, have to be designed in accordance with precise specifications. Following this, lines have to be painted on the roadway, and a variety of street signs, sensors, traffic lights and cameras added. We also have law enforcement personnel trained in driving ordinances. Automobiles are also manufactured in accordance with precise safety specifications. When you consider all of this, you have to wonder why we have any traffic accidents whatsoever.

Maybe it’s the unwritten rules of the road causing the problems. For example, if there is inclement weather which we may have trouble traveling in, the obvious solution is to turn on your headlights so other motorists can see you. If really bad, pull off the road and wait for the weather to subside, but many people do not. We should also pull over if we become tired and begin to fall asleep, but some people will not. If we are experiencing car trouble, such as a flat tire or radiator troubles, we should also pull over, but some people keep truckin’ for some unfathomable reason. Then there is the problem with telephone calls and texting which, of course, distracts drivers regardless of how good they believe themselves to be.

In other words, most traffic accidents are caused by human error. Think about it. If everyone simply paid attention and followed the rules of the road as clearly marked on the highway, there should be no accidents, except those involving acts of God. As humans though we tend to only be concerned with our own personal needs as opposed to others, such as drinking coffee while we drive, shaving or applying makeup, reading a newspaper while in traffic, texting and talking. I tend to believe most Americans use their automobiles more as a lavatory or kitchen as opposed to what it was designed for. As an aside, German automotive engineers were baffled by our obsession for cup holders. They rightly believed drivers should be focused on driving, not drinking coffee.

The real problem is the narcissistic behavior exhibited by a lot of drivers. This is where people drive as if there is nobody else on the road, just themselves. They exhibit no courtesy, turn in and out of traffic at their own whim, and refuse to conform to the rules of the road, just whatever pleases them. In my near accident, the other driver didn’t consider anyone around him, least of all me. He just wanted to cross lanes and get into my left turning lane. Despite my honking on the horn, the other driver was un-phased.

There is talk the roadways of the future will be electronic thereby requiring less human involvement in the actual driving of the vehicle. Instead, passengers will program their destination into their “smart car” which will then transport them to their destination in the most expeditious route possible, or perhaps the most scenic. As for me, I will miss driving as I rather enjoy it, as I suspect many others do as well, but such is the price for narcissistic drivers.

Mark Twain is alleged to have said, “Man is really the most interesting jackass there is,” and I see no evidence to refute him.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2013 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  THE PROBLEM WITH SHEEPLE – The amalgamation of “sheep” and “people” (and our society).

LAST TIME:  OUR SMARTPHONE ADDICTION – How children are being weaned on technology, and how this will affect society.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), KGAB-AM 650 “The Morning Zone” with host Dave Chaffin (weekdays, 6:00-10:00am Mountain), and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Lance Tormey & Brian Teegarden (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Posted in Automotive, Social Issues | Tagged: , , , , | 7 Comments »

JURASSIC DRIVING IN FLORIDA

Posted by Tim Bryce on January 7, 2013

BRYCE ON LIFE

– What my automobile accidents have in common: the elderly.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

Over the years I have been involved with three automobile accidents. Fortunately, none were my fault but I was still a victim nevertheless. When I was 19 years old and living in Cincinnati, I was on my way home on my motorcycle after working all day at a Sohio gas station. As I headed down a thoroughfare at 35 mph, a drunk, who was driving in the opposite direction, turned in front of me and directly into my path. I hit the midsection of his car which catapulted me over the handlebars, over his car, and out into the middle of the street. There are those people who believe their lives flash before their eyes before they die. It’s true. I was flooded with images as I was about to hit the car, but being only 19 I required some reruns. Nevertheless, I suffered a delayed muscle spasm along my spine which paralyzed me for a few days. This injury still haunts me to this day, and I haven’t ridden a motorcycle ever since.

I was able to avoid accidents for several years after the motorcycle incident. During this time, I moved to Florida and learned to drive among the elderly, something that can be both entertaining and frustrating at the same time. It’s kind of like Art Linkletter’s old TV show, except named, “Fossils drive the darndest things.” Some of the elderly drivers are so small, you cannot see their heads, only their hands on the steering wheel which makes it appear the automobile is driving itself. Strange, very strange. Now and then you read about an oddball incident involving an elderly driver in the newspaper, for example; there was an incident where a man was trying to park his car in a mall parking lot. He entered the spot crooked and decided to backup and straighten the car out. Unfortunately, he didn’t realize his wife had already gotten out of the car and was standing behind him. When he backed up, he knocked her down and ran over her with his back tire, then he put the car back in drive and pulled forward over the “speed bump” for the second time. Then there was the story of an elderly couple who somehow found themselves driving on the Clearwater/St. Pete Airport’s runway thinking it was part of the expressway. I could go on and on with stories about the elderly driving, and they would all be funny if it wasn’t for the fact they end up doing a lot of damage to both themselves and others around them. Such was my misfortune.

About five years ago, I left my office in my SUV after work and headed home, just in time for rush hour. It also happened to be “snowbird” season, meaning our roads were filled with tourists. After exiting our office parking lot, I headed north on a main artery in Palm Harbor. As there was considerable traffic, I resigned myself to my fate that it would take quite some time to get home. Traffic lights were slow and caused lines to backup. In my case, I ended up at the very end of a long line. I thought I would never get home. As I sat there, I happened to look into my rear-view mirror and noticed the next motorist rapidly approaching me. I thought it was coming rather fast, but felt the driver would have ample time to stop. To my horror, I suddenly realized the car wasn’t going to decelerate, let alone stop. I braced myself for impact before the car plowed into me at about 40mph. Not only was I hit, but the car pushed me into the next car in front of me and I began to picture myself crushed like an accordion. Fortunately, this didn’t happen as the car behind me finally stopped. At first, I was stuck in my car stunned by what had just happened. Paramedics and police were summoned by a witness, and I snapped out of it. Only then did I find out what happened. Evidently, an elderly woman was driving home, became preoccupied with something in her purse, and didn’t realize anyone was stopped in front of her. The front-end of her car looked as bad as the back-end of mine, and the paramedics took care in extracting her from her vehicle and sending her to the hospital. To this day, I still keep a nervous eye on my rear-view mirror.

The pièce de résistance of my accidents though happened this past November, whereby I had gone to lunch at a local restaurant and left my car in the adjoining striped parking lot, believing it to be safe and sound. As it turns out, it was anything but that. As I settled into a Philly Cheese Steak, an elderly woman swung open the front door and yelled, “Does anyone own a black car? There’s been an accident in the parking lot.” She appeared to be rather upset and had tears on her face. She was heavyset and hobbled around with a cast on her right foot.

At first, I suspected it was the problem of somebody else as I had a dark-brown car, not black. Then it occurred to me she might be suffering from cataracts. I therefore got up and went outside to check my car. When I turned the corner to the parking lot, my eye saw a dark car with its rear-end up and on top of a silver Mitsubishi Eclipse. It was such a distorted scene, I didn’t recognize the vehicle as my own. In fact, it looked rather comical and I felt a brief sense of pity for the person who owned it. Then, the harsh reality came over me; it was my car after all, and a spirit of dread consumed me. “What happened to my car?” I demanded (although I said this with a fervent gusto as reality set in).

The elderly couple had left the restaurant just as we entered it, he in an electric wheelchair, and his wife hobbling around on her cast foot. After securing the wheelchair on the back of their Mazda mini-SUV, the husband got into the driver’s seat of the vehicle. He then put the SUV into reverse and began to backup. When he thought he had gone back far enough, he went to apply the brakes, which he missed and hit the accelerator instead, thereby plowing into the back of my car. Evidently, the wheelchair assembly on the back of his vehicle acted like a wedge and lifted up the rear of my car and pushed it up and on-top of the silver Mitsubishi next to me. Interestingly, a woman had been sitting in the driver’s seat sending a text message to a friend when the accident occurred. Realizing my car was being pushed up on top of her convertible, she bent down and escaped through the passenger’s side door. She would have certainly been crushed had my car fallen, but the convertible’s safety bar held and the woman escaped unharmed.

Thus began the long process of calling 911, the Florida State Highway Patrol, tow trucks to separate and remove the vehicles, and the tedium of notifying insurance carriers. Even though I hadn’t been in the car when the accident occurred, I certainly felt like a victim and became rather bitter about the experience. It proves that George Costanza of Seinfeld fame was right, you can eat and have sex simultaneously (by getting screwed when you least expect it). To see a brief video on the vehicles being separated, click HERE.

The next day I went to the web site of the Clerk of the Courts to see what I could find out about the person who hit me. As it turned out, since 1999 he had ten moving violations, everything from speeding, to failure to obey traffic signals, to operating a vehicle without insurance. Now this. This made me wonder what insurance carrier would provide coverage to someone with such a bad driving record. Further, why hadn’t the State of Florida revoked his license a long time ago. I have sympathy for the elderly and handicapped, but this was just plain ridiculous.

I know plenty of people in their 80’s and 90’s who can competently operate their vehicles down here, but many do not belong on the highway. Period. I have one friend in his mid-80’s who realized his eyesight was failing and was smart enough to voluntarily surrender his driver’s license to the sheriff’s office, but he is an exception as opposed to the rule in Florida. Most of the senior citizens need to get around town to tend to their chores, such as shopping and eating, but they pose a genuine threat to safety on the highways. I wish we could easily identify such people, so we can be more alert when they are around us, kind of like “belling the cat,” but alas, we cannot.

We can joke about the driving habits of the elderly, but anyone who doesn’t drive defensively around them is asking for trouble. Between them and the erratic driving habits of tourists visiting Florida during the winter months, I am frankly surprised more people are not killed on the highways in this state. Maybe we need to post signs on the highways as people enter the state: “Welcome to Florida, Home of Jurassic Driving. You’ve been warned.”

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2013 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.


NEXT UP: 
AMERICAN MORAL DILEMMAS – The country suffers from a decay of morality, not politics.


Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, (12:30-3:00pm).

Also look for Tim’s postings in the Palm Harbor Patch, The Gentlemen’s Association, and throughout the Internet.

Posted in Automotive, Life | Tagged: , , , , | 7 Comments »

EQUALITY OF DRIVING

Posted by Tim Bryce on November 10, 2011

Whenever I have somewhere to go with friends or family, I normally volunteer to drive. When people ask me why I do so, I explain it is not simply because I enjoy the act of driving, as much as I somehow appreciate the equality involved. Let me explain. It occurred to me a long time ago that driving is one of the few venues in the world that doesn’t recognize a socioeconomic class structure, race or religion. Regardless if you are a multimillionaire driving a Rolls Royce or Lamborghini, a bum driving a jalopy, or anything in-between, driving requires everyone to behave equally. Rich man, poor man, beggar man, thief, everyone is on the level and must behave as such in order for this important transportation system to work. And for some reason, knowing I can start each day on the level with everyone else is encouraging to me.

Some people are easily wowed when they see an expensive automobile on the road. Frankly, I couldn’t care less what you drive or who you think you are. We’re all equal on the road as any member of the Law Enforcement community can attest. They only care the rules are being observed and traffic is flowing unimpeded. Other than that, they are unconcerned with your stature, regardless if you are a politician, celebrity, millionaire, or whatever.

Some see driving as analogous to socialism whereby we must all move along on the roadways equally. Well, not quite. I see it more akin to capitalism where I can drive as ambitiously or lackadaisically as I am inclined to be, not to mention courteous or rude. Nonetheless, I am responsible for my actions. If I decide to drive recklessly, I may incur a moving violation or perhaps worse, such as an accident. In this event, I will have to pay the bill, not the other motorists. To my way of thinking, I see each day as another chapter where I must get from point A to point B in the most efficient means possible. In other words, a capitalistic race to the top.

My grandfather, who moved to this country from England following the first World War, also loved to drive his car everywhere. So much so, he would even drive his car down the block just to post a letter in the mailbox. His car was his pride and joy, and he would go to great lengths to keep it clean and running smoothly. His pride of ownership clearly demonstrated he was a capitalist.

The one bit of satisfaction I get on the highway is when I either outmaneuver the millionaire in the Lamborghini or watch him get a ticket for speeding. Either way, I realize the system works. Yep, I’m a capitalist too.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M. Bryce & Associates (MBA) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
http://www.phmainstreet.com/timbryce.htm

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Tune into Tim’s THE BRYCE IS RIGHT! podcast Mondays-Fridays, 7:30am (Eastern).

Copyright © 2011 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Posted in Automotive, Social Issues, Transportation | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

LICENSE PLATES

Posted by Tim Bryce on October 27, 2011

For many years, automobile license plates came in basically two colors. Each plate listed the state name at the top, the tag number in the middle, and perhaps a state motto on the bottom, such as “Land of Lincoln” (IL), “Constitution State” (CT), “Empire State” (NY), “Sunshine State” (FL), etc. That was it; simple and easy to read. Somewhere along the way though, license plates evolved into sophisticated bumper stickers which allowed their owners to proudly make a statement of some kind to the world. It started with vanity plates where the owner could pay a little extra to arrange the characters on the license plate to their liking. For example, since the “PRIDE” methodology was our main product for many years, we had an Ohio license plate made with the word printed on it. As nice as our plate looked, it was still nothing more than blue letters on white, or white on green (depending on the year we reordered it).

Somewhere in the 1980’s someone finally figured out that license plates lacked “pizzazz” and started introducing graphical images on the plates to make them look more appealing, a sort of p.r. tool for the states. In Florida, for example, a light green image of the state was placed in the middle of the plate with two oranges and blossoms over it to denote our famous citrus industry. This graphic has been with us for a long time now and has become an icon of the state. Many other states followed suit and soon a race was on as to who could design the most eye catching state license plate.

Even though vanity plates had been with us for some time, people next wanted to express their allegiance to a specific organization they belong to or a cause worth supporting, and to do so, a wide array of new plates were introduced which people could obtain, for a tidy fee. I suspect Florida is not too different than a lot of states in this regard. Now instead of a single plate, which is still available by default, people can purchase designer based license plates to support such things as the university they graduated from, a favorite professional sports team, branches of the military, a favorite conservation project, or some other special interest. In Florida alone there are 120 different types of designer plates available:

24 – Environmental (“Save the Florida Panther” or “Manatee”, etc.)
36 – Universities (FSU, UF, USF, Miami, and many others)
51 – Misc (military and charities)
9 – Professional Sports (Tampa, Orlando, Miami, and Jacksonville)
120 – TOTAL

Soon there will be 121 for the “Veterans of Foreign Wars.” For environmental issues or charities, the extra money charged for the plate is donated to the cause, less the state’s cut. One of the more avant-garde license plates I’ve come across in Florida is the John Lennon “Imagine” plate which includes the iconic Lennon self portrait he drew years ago. I wasn’t exactly sure what this plate stood for; at first I thought Florida was now allowing people to put their favorite Rock and Roll band on license plates causing me to wonder if they had one for “Black Sabbath.” As it turned out, the Lennon plate supported Florida’s Food Banks in reference to Lennon’s lyrics, “Imagine no greed or hunger…”

It must be difficult for Florida state troopers to stay abreast of valid license plates. Not only must they stay abreast of the 120+ versions of Florida’s plates, but they have to keep an eye on all the permeations of northern “snowbird” plates as brought down during the winter months. I do not envy the troopers having to figure out what is a legitimate plate and which is a phony. I think I would be a bit suspicious if I saw the “Black Sabbath” plate.

The only other group affected by this are the state prisoners who are normally charged with manufacturing license plates. One good thing about the variety of tags now available though, it should certainly break up the monotony of having to produce a single plate. After all, we have to keep our prisoners busy, don’t we?

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M. Bryce & Associates (MBA) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
http://www.phmainstreet.com/timbryce.htm

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Tune into Tim’s THE BRYCE IS RIGHT! podcast Mondays-Fridays, 7:30am (Eastern).

Copyright © 2011 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Posted in Automotive, Society | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

OUR ATTACHMENT TO AUTOMOBILES

Posted by Tim Bryce on September 15, 2010

We just sold our 2000 Volkswagen Beetle. It was a beautiful car which was painted red and featured a 4 Cyl. GLS 1.8 Liter Turbo engine. This was definitely not your father’s VW as it had a lot of get up and go. One time I had it up to 120 mph just to see what it could do. I could have gone faster, but 120 was fast enough for me. Other than a few trips to Jacksonville, Orlando, and Naples, the car didn’t get much use and shuttled me to and from work or to the airport. As my kids grew up, we rarely drove it anymore. When we sold it, there was just over 50,000 miles on it, not bad for a ten year old car. It was well maintained over the years, but it simply sat in our driveway with the Florida sun pounding on it, which is why we finally decided to sell it to someone who could take better care of it.

After we made the sale, we dutifully emptied it of our possessions, such as CD’s and jumper cables, and removed the license plate. It was kind of sad to see it go as it was a fine car, but we knew it was time to part. It kind of reminded me of waving good-bye to our last child leaving the nest for school. We’ve had a lot of cars in the family over the years and aside from one lemon we bought years ago, we tended to treat them like members of the family, kind of like the attachment we form to family pets, like dogs and cats. On the one hand we realize it is an inanimate object used as a tool for transportation, but on the other it becomes a part of us. Maybe it’s because we use it so much and take pleasure in driving it.

I think this is the reason people like to attend the many classic car shows around the country as we inevitably come upon a vehicle from our past which conjures up memories and invokes emotions. There is one car show in particular I have visited for the last few years in Fernandino Beach, Florida which has a wide assortment of cars from my past (the show is held in October). Some of my favorites are Chevy Bel Airs from the mid-1950’s which my grandparents owned for a long time. When I see one painted turquoise green and white, the same as my grandparents’ car, I think of their home in Buffalo, New York. When I come upon a Corvette Stingray fastback from the mid-1960’s I think of my neighborhood in Chicago, Illinois.

The DeLorean DMC-12 is popular at such car shows, particularly among youth who still remember the movie “Back to the Future.” Although the original company has faded into memory a long time ago (they stopped production in 1982), a new DeLorean Motor Company resurfaced under new ownership in Humble, Texas. As I understand it, the new company obtained all of the parts from the old company and it is still possible to purchase a restored DeLorean in mint condition from the Texas operation.

The only time we do not become attached to our vehicle is when we see it as nothing more than a scrap of metal to move us from point A to point B. Such cars are usually pretty beat up thereby negating any attachment. Then again, I have seen people still devoted to their piece of rust, particularly old Volkswagens where the floor boards or the body is in various stages of decomposition.

Bottom-line, the reason people develop attachments to their automobiles is because it is an extension of their personality and when we finally sell the car or scrap it, we feel like we are severing a piece of ourselves, and a tear forms.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M. Bryce & Associates (MBA) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
http://www.phmainstreet.com/timbryce.htm

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Tune into Tim’s THE BRYCE IS RIGHT! podcast Mondays-Fridays, 11:30am (Eastern).

Copyright © 2010 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Posted in Automotive, Life | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

WHAT WE DRIVE IS HOW WE DRIVE

Posted by Tim Bryce on April 30, 2010

I have always found the relationship between humans and their automobiles interesting. I contend what we drive greatly impacts how we drive. To illustrate, I believe there are basically three distinctively different classes of people who drive: those who just want a basic form of transportation, those who use it as a status symbol, and those who have a love affair with their vehicle, a sort of connoisseur. Each group sees the automobile differently and, as such, treats it differently.

BASIC TRANSPORTATION

Those who just want a basic form of transportation are more impressed by the functionality of the vehicle as opposed to aesthetics. Price, reliability, gas mileage, maintenance, and safety are more important than contoured lines, paint, and leather bucket seats. To them, the automobile is a necessary evil; it is nothing more than a tool to move them from point A to point B. As such, it is essentially no different than the role the horse played in the 1800’s. You feed it, you give it basic grooming, and you ride the heck out of it.

I find these types of people do not establish any emotional ties to their vehicles yet tend to hold on to them a lot longer than most as they wish to get their money’s worth out of it. If the car is to be used for nothing more than transportation, they typically buy small to mid-sized cars. However, they are more inclined to buy something bigger if they have to transport samples and paper work, such as what salesmen do, or children. Construction workers are more inclined to buy trucks.

The “basic” people represent the lion’s share of drivers on the road. As such, you must remember they are only interested in reaching their destination. Some will be overly conservative, particularly our seniors, some will go with the flow, some will be hell-bent on reaching their objective, and others will be preoccupied on the phone, shaving, reading, applying makeup or fixing their hair as they consider driving a horrendous waste of time. It is this last group that is the most dangerous as they are more interested in their distraction than driving the car.

STATUS SYMBOLS

Those who see their vehicle as a status symbol are trying to make a statement of some kind; either they are “sporty”, filthy rich, or use it as a means of attracting the opposite sex thereby acting as a phallic symbol. Unlike the “basic” people, looks are of paramount importance. Consequently, they either buy the fastest gas guzzlers, the most opulent luxury vehicles, or something in-between. Electronic trinkets are important here as the vehicle is considered more as a toy than anything else.

The status people have emotional ties to their vehicles only until the next model comes out whereby they trade-up at every opportunity. In other words, owning a car for one year is considered an eternity.

On the road, the “status” people have two different driving personalities: they are either fast and reckless, thereby giving the impression they are eccentric and have plenty of money to burn, or they drive rather conservatively, conscious of their investment.

CONNOISSEURS

Those who truly love cars possess an in-depth understanding of automobiles and a deep seeded appreciation for the design and engineering of the vehicle. Guys like Jay Leno come to mind, as well as people who participate in the many classic car shows across the country. They buy rare cars for several reasons; to remind them of a bygone era, the sheer love of automotive engineering, and as an investment. They drive their car not because they have to, but because they want to as they truly appreciate the automobile as a remarkable engineering achievement.

The “connoisseurs” are passionate about their vehicles and develop strong attachments to them. However, most will reluctantly part with them if the price is right, and will buy something else to work on. They spend their idle time scouring eBay looking for spare parts, visiting auto auctions, and carefully inspecting different vehicles at car shows. To them, it is a serious hobby, requiring them to possess an in-depth knowledge regarding their subject and a close attention to detail.

Those that fall into this category are perhaps the best drivers on the road. They are acutely aware of the capabilities and limitations of their vehicles and drive defensively in order to protect them. They are typically the safest drivers on the road.

DIFFERENCES

The basic difference between the three schools of thought is how the human being perceives the automobile, either as nothing more than a tool or commodity, an expression of one’s personality, or as a prized investment. These perspectives ultimately dictate our driving habits and how we treat the vehicle. We either see it as nothing more than a mule or workhorse, a stallion out to stud, or a fine quarter horse suitable for racing.

These distinctively different perspectives present an interesting dilemma for automotive manufacturers in terms of what types of cars they should be building. Do they develop something for the masses whereby what they lack in profit-margin can be made up for in volume? Or do they develop a line of luxury cars which will feature a much higher price tag? Or do they try to design a “classic” which will stand the test or time? I guess it ultimately depends on who you want to sell to: basic people, the status seekers, or the investors. Each has a different perspective and each wants something different.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is the Managing Director of M. Bryce & Associates (MBA) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
http://www.phmainstreet.com/timbryce.htm

Copyright © 2010 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Posted in Automotive | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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