Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Grumpy Old Man Rant

Driving around after midnight I am always reminded why I’m glad to be retired. I’m referring to all the lit “OPEN” sign on business that are obviously closed. This was a particular sore spot with me and one that would bring my wrath on the store manager involved. Look, dummy, it isn’t that difficult. You, Manager, turn the sign on when you open the store, first thing. You, Manager, turn the sign off as your last act before locking the door. No delegating, your job.

Now why, WSF, do you get so worked up over something so trivial? Glad you asked.

Every business is being judged by their customers every time they pass by. Small things, signs, ragged American flags, trash blowing around the parking lot, and dirty windows tell a potential or ongoing, customer the people working at this business don’t give a shit. If they don’t care about their business, are they going to care about me? Paying attention to the “small” things may be the most important thing you do.

In my late night travels I pass an “Autoplex”, that, for two months, has a portion of the business sign lights  burned out. It is a “toplex”.  These are high end dealerships selling European imports. I would assume their customers are smarter than the average bear and quite possibly business owners. What message are they getting?

I don’t think an Auto Salvage Yard needs to look like a Nordstrom store. That said, the “Pull Your Parts” place I patronize has the “OPEN” sign on when they are open and off when they are closed. There is no loose trash blowing around. Port-a-Pots are conveniently placed around the inventory and the inventory is segregated by make. There is ample parking (although you might snap an axle in the ruts in the parking lot). In the business area the floors are swept and the windows clean. The message to me as a consumer is this is a well run business where I won’t be wasting time dealing with fools.

And parking! I always strived to have an unimpeded path to parking as close to the doors as possible for those coming to potentially spend money at our business. For an employee to park there was a fire able offense. Should you be coming in to sell us something, wanting us to spend our money with you and you parked in a customer spot, you were obviously too stupid and clueless to earn our business. Oh, the owner’s wife didn’t park there either.

Oh WSF, how you carry on.  Here is a shining example. We had a successful used truck and utility trailer business. The owner was ambitious. One afternoon a car pulled in and parked well out of the way. The man walked a ways to come in to see the owner. This was our first contact with the Kia of America District Sales Manager. In the next four years, we opened four Kia stores and had months where we sold over three hundred new Kias.

Enough, except this. I drive past a NAPA store to get to an O”Reillys. Guess which one has the “OPEN” sign lit 24/7.

Friday, June 26, 2015


Youngest son grew up with a father in the car business. At one point he sold cars for about a year. He was damn good at it but the ambiance of the business bothered him (smart kid).

Yesterday he bought a Certified Used Car, fair market value $20,000, for a shitload less. Bet that dealership is still reeling from that deal!

They tried the standard ploy of giving on the purchase price and making their profit in the box (Finance Office). Didn't work out for them. The only thing they got was the financing, and that was after he beat them down two points to where they were lower than his credit union. The old car dog in me thinks they made under $600 on the total transaction. 

Do I feel sorry for them? No. I will always remember the philosophy of Arthur Floyd Kinsman, the working man's friend, Korean war marine, ex Green Bay Packer lineman, and one of the best managers I ever knew (and the foulest mouth I've ever heard).

"I will always give the customer the opportunity to pay FULL retail. I will take a $300 deal but only after grinding their tits off for six hours. It is only iron, and I can always get more iron".

Bunch of pussys in that dealership. They caved in three hours.

Great job son! I'm a proud papa today.

Feel the Love

Chatting with my sister about my Facebook activity and my pleasure in calling (P)regressives on their shit. I said that I

1. Have a computer.

2. Am Mr. Maytag - always agitating. 

3. Have time.

4. I am an asshole.

She agreed (thanks for the support Sisty) but said I need to add one more reason.

5. I don't have a life.


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

I'm Not Welcome in Boulder, CO

All I did was comment on a Facebook posting that the moose raised the level of common sense in Boulder, not that it was a high bar to begin with.

Sheesh, the hateful responses!

Friday, June 19, 2015

What Do You See? Don't Look If You Don't Want to be Offended

Many will find this highly offensive.

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome?

Reloaded how many times? Nobody fought back? 

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Spit and Polish

One of the fun things about blogging is poking good natured fun at other bloggers. Of course, you must accept it coming back at you with interest!

One blogger I’ve enjoyed poking is Old AF Sarge.

We have gone back and forth about starched fatigues, haircuts, bloused trousers and spit shined footwear.

My Army service was 1963-1966. We were a large Army then, and filled with people who were drafted. Drafted troop’s motivation was suspect. It wasn't until I was out a few years that I began to understand why the NCOs were so adamant about appearances. It was all about installing discipline, unit cohesion, and unquestioned obedience to orders. When an NCO hollered “frog” you didn't ask why, you jumped. Have a slob in your squad? Kick his ass until he got straight, or spend considerable time in uncomfortable physical conditions. Yeah, mass punishment. Can you spell, “Front Leaning Rest”? “Double time, harsh”?

I had NCOs that were both WWII and Korean War vets. Many more were Korean War vets. They had first hand knowledge of the consequences of lack of discipline, unit cohesion and not instantly obeying orders. Perhaps they were training to fight the last war but they damn sure weren't going to lose that last war. Bayonets may be obsolete, but twenty hours of bayonet drill will change your mental outlook.

Consider for a moment the job of an Army line NCO. The smart men were joining the Air Force or Navy. We will disregard, for the moment, the particular mind set of the men who joined the Marine Corps. The line NCOs took whatever the pipeline gave them and made soldiers out of them. First, they made everybody tired and kept them tired.  Then they pounded in the lessons one bite at a time. That carried on through advanced training, at least in combat arms, and on to the line units.

In my float bridge company in Germany, we operated in two states, field or garrison. In the field we worked. Appearances didn't matter, clean or dirty uniforms didn't matter, and spit shined boots didn’t matter. In garrison, it was just the opposite. Why did I work hard on my appearance? Every NCO had a hammer and I didn't want to look like a nail.

I have a friend who was a Marine for ten years in the 80’s. He tells me the Marines were much the same except recruits were already of the mindset the Army NCOs had to force.

My friend and I do a lot of teasing. One year, on the Marine Corps birthday, I called him. The conversation went like this.

“Happy birthday, jarhead”

“Thanks, ditch boy. Now go spit shine your shovel”.

I happened to be at his house this past Sunday and pointed about it was the birthday of the SENIOR service.  All I heard was some mumbles.

My view of today’s Army is that, for the past two decades, they have shown they're damn good at what they do. Hopefully the next administration will quit smelling unicorn farts and let the military be military and not a social Petri dish.

For everyone who has served, thank you.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Civil Disobedience - Tax Divison

Obamacare and Student Loans; will the two cause massive civil disobedience as far as taxes are concerned?

The IRS has historically relied on voluntary compliance. For many years that has been around 82%. One reason has been the reputation of the auditors and well publicised consequences for not complying.  

In recent years the IRS has cut back on the number of auditors. My snarky take is they were cutting into the bonuses of the senior administrators plus the pain in the ass of actually supervising them.

People who are in default of their student loans lose both their tax refunds and any social security benefits until their loans are current. Many of these debtors have no hope of repaying and cannot clear them through bankruptcy. Add possible penalties for not having health insurance, and the only incentive for filing is fear of the consequences of not filing. Wonder how many are just saying, "Fuck it"?

Small business owners are getting squeezed by the health insurance mandates. The first response is making everyone part time. The risk assessment is staffing and productivity headaches versus going out of business. Say they go rogue, let all their employees claim ten dependents, and not pay into the system the money they withhold for social security and medicaid. They are betting the employee won't file a tax return. What is their risk assessment? Go under right now or face a potential dire outcome somewhere down the road? Another strategy is to bend some rules and make everyone a 1099 independent contractor. Again, the risk assessment. Stay in business now and hope to slip and evade in the future or go out of business now.

My guess is that already suspect 82% will go way down, tax revenues will go way down, and our economic death spiral will get worse. A good picture of our economy.

As always, YMMV.