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Back To Reality


vanscottbuilders

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I've been out to the Oshkosh, Wisconsin EAA air show this week.

Although I try to go each year - it never ceases to amaze me. What

a fantastic event. Anything and everything that has to do with aviation

at all is represented there. There are fighters, antiques, big jets, small jets,

homebuilt airplanes, custom airplanes, fast ones, slow ones and helicopters.

Plus all of the parts, supplies and electronics manufacturers.

Kept looking for Herb's (HK Trucking) Macks in Appleton, but didn't see him.

It was kind of a strange trip this year -

Last Wednesday we left in a downpour. About 2 miles down the road I looked

back at the camping trailer and noticed the window blinds were blowing around.

Kind of odd since they are inside the trailer. So we stopped. The front window of

the trailer wasn't there anymore! And to make it more interesting - it looked like it

was shot out!! No way a stone or road debris could get to it, and no way we could

have hit anything. So we delayed leaving for a day to fix the window.

Thursday we left - still in the rain - and noticed that the trailer seemed to be pulling

hard. The truck was downshifting from 4th directly to 2nd at any little hill or grade.

(2007 Chevrolet Avalanche) But we went on, thinking it was our error and our

imagination.

Got about seven hours into a twelve ride and launched the transmission in a

spectacular fashion!!

Got it off the Indiana Toll Road at LaGrange, Ind. Found a hotel, and found a fantastic

Chevrolet dealer in Sturgis, Michigan. (Kool Chevrolet)

Got in on Friday morning early, and were told that no parts would be received until Monday.

We explained our situation - and the service people drove to two different area Chevy dealers

to gather the parts. The mechanic offered to stay Friday night as long as it took to get us on the road.

Very nice - and very unusual.

Unfortunately, at 8:00 PM, the truck was started and backed off the lift, only to find that the shifting

could not be controlled. Now definitely no more parts until at least the following Monday.

So we were stuck in Sturgis for the weekend it seemed.

Meanwhile, the service guys put our trailer inside and empty building to protect it, and licked our

truck inside for security - and gave us a car for the duration.

We went to the Kalamazoo Air Zoo museum - really nice.

On Saturday we got the bright idea to rent a car and continue on to Oshkosh.

So we got to see at least three days of the show.

Decided to pick up our truck on Thursday so we would be travelling on a weekday,

just in case we needed another repair along the way.

We didn't, fortunately.

Now for the rest of the story -

Apparently GM has no readily available engine, rear axle or transmission exchange program.

And they have definitely lost sight of the customer.

There is no program in place to get a vehicle back on the road, and nobody cares.

The dealer in this case was fabulous, but his hands were tied by GM warranty policy.

There was one full day lost to diagnosis and parts locating. A second day spent rebuilding the

unit. Then the 2nd problem of shift control reared up. A total of a week was lost.

Meanwhile, we learned from another Chevy dealer that it is common for these repairs to be unsuccessful!!

And our Ford dealer friend tells us that Ford policy is exactly the same!!

All in all, if a transmission could have been shipped from a rebuild center to the dealer,

and the core sent back, we could have been back on the road in 24 hrs. or less. And the dealer

has said that the combined cost of the repairs was on the order of $5,000.00. Way more than a

rebuilt transmission replacement might have cost.

Instead, our vehicle, with just 25,000 miles on the odometer, was down for a week. And no one at GM ever

acknowledged that two good, loyal customers were very inconvenienced - out of a vehicle, out of state.

No wonder they are on the verge of bankruptcy. They deserve it.

They forgot how important the customer is.

To make it worse - we reserved a full size SUV at Enterprise in Goshen, Ind. through the national

reservation system. Upon arriving, we found that the Goshen Enterprise rental location doesn't even have

full size SUV's. We took a Kia Rondo as a last resort. It's a little Korean 4wd SUV.

By the time we got to Chicago, Dennis said to me "I'm trying really hard not to like this car - but

I can't". I felt the same way. It was comfortable, powerful, economical, quiet and roomy.

If that's our competition - GM, Ford and Chrysler have a hell of a long way to go!!

And - I'll bet Kia hasn't forgotten about the customer, either.

We, as a country, complain bitterly that Toyota, Honda, Nissan and the other Japanese imports are

eating our lunch. As I see it - we are giving them our lunch on a silver platter every time we put up with

an inferior product or poor service.

Wake up America!! Wake up while there's still time!

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wow,rough week-sort've a good week and bad week in one. I know exactly what you're saying about the American products. I was talking to one of our drivers in Ambridge Pa. Tuesday morning after we both unloaded at the same place and the conversation got around to all the steel mills that have gone out of business. I told him that a lot of them have no one to blame but themselves in my opinion. I've been hauling steel for close to 30 years now,and many times i've sat and waited all day and half the night to get loaded. U.S. Steel was one of the worst. Loaded at Copperweld in Warren,Oh, once and when I finally got to back in a door that night,after sitting there all afternoon,I had one more lift of bars to go on the truck when the craneman took the crane to the far end of the building and climbed down the ladder.I asked the foreman/supervisor what was going on-she said their shift ended in 30 minutes. So I said "but there's only one more lift-and i've already been here all evening and half the night!" She said "sorry,it's in their contract.They get 30 minutes at the end of their shift to shower and change clothes" And the 11 o'clock shift coming in got 30 minutes to change from street clothes into work clothes of course-and got paid for it! They should do that at home! By the time I finally got that last bundle loaded,chained down,got the paperwork processed,it was 3:00am! Now when I pass through Warren on rt. 82 &5 and look over where Copperweld used to be I kind of smile,because it looks like a bombed out pile of rubble now...same as when I pass what used to be LTV on rt.21 in Massilon,Oh. Most of that has been demolished for real,but it's hard for me to feel sorry for steelworkers when you see them on TV talking about how they lost their jobs to overseas companies,when they were inefficient and overpaid to start with.They couldn't care less whether or not the trucks got loaded,they just stood around for 8 hours a day for the most part,treated truck drivers like they were the scum of the earth, and drew a huge check on Friday...still makes me hot!

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The mediocrity in our society is rampant.

The labor unions had a great big part in promoting this

carelessness, but they aren't alone. Our own families

promote laziness and irresponsibility. Parents want their

children to have an easier time in their life than the parents had.

So their values erode and the kid's motivation is never developed,

as the kid learns to depend on his parents for everything. The child also

learns that if he cries loud enough, the government will give him whatever

he wants. Great.

All of our advertising says "you deserve an easier life",

even though, in reality, most people haven't done anything to

deserve an easier or more luxurious lifestyle.

It's very disheartening to witness this degradation of America

everywhere we turn. The scarier part of this is - where do we go from here?

Think Barack Obama is the answer - think again.

Think John McCain is the answer - think again.

These guys both talk about change, but they wouldn't know change if it

hit them in the head!! Real change would not get them elected anyway.

McCain is just the least obnoxious of two really dull politicians who are

more concerned about their own careers than about the country.

But, on the bright side, I did see a lot of small town America

last week, and it still looks pretty darn good. In the small towns

of Michigan and Indiana, and finally, Wisconsin, the people were all very nice

and willing to help us.

These are mostly farming communities with some auto and RV related industries.

The industries are getting hammered by a weak economy and overseas competition.

I'm sure it's the farmer's work ethic that keeps these places as nice as they are.

Found a really nice A model Mack with a wrecker body in Upstate New York.

Appears very solid and all there. Fortunately I was driving on the big road and

couldn't stop, or I'd be even poorer today.

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The mediocrity in our society is rampant.

The labor unions had a great big part in promoting this

carelessness, but they aren't alone. Our own families

promote laziness and irresponsibility. Parents want their

children to have an easier time in their life than the parents had.

So their values erode and the kid's motivation is never developed,

as the kid learns to depend on his parents for everything. The child also

learns that if he cries loud enough, the government will give him whatever

he wants. Great.

All of our advertising says "you deserve an easier life",

even though, in reality, most people haven't done anything to

deserve an easier or more luxurious lifestyle.

It's very disheartening to witness this degradation of America

everywhere we turn. The scarier part of this is - where do we go from here?

Think Barack Obama is the answer - think again.

Think John McCain is the answer - think again.

These guys both talk about change, but they wouldn't know change if it

hit them in the head!! Real change would not get them elected anyway.

McCain is just the least obnoxious of two really dull politicians who are

more concerned about their own careers than about the country.

But, on the bright side, I did see a lot of small town America

last week, and it still looks pretty darn good. In the small towns

of Michigan and Indiana, and finally, Wisconsin, the people were all very nice

and willing to help us.

These are mostly farming communities with some auto and RV related industries.

The industries are getting hammered by a weak economy and overseas competition.

I'm sure it's the farmer's work ethic that keeps these places as nice as they are.

Found a really nice A model Mack with a wrecker body in Upstate New York.

Appears very solid and all there. Fortunately I was driving on the big road and

couldn't stop, or I'd be even poorer today.

Sorry to hear about your hard week, I figured that GM would be a little better at handling things, but times have changed and still are. Back years ago you could take your car in for an oil change and NOT have to worry about wondering if the man put your oil filter back on correctly...anyway, laziness is some of this countries motto I believe, everyone's looking for a handout, wanting a work related injury, car wrecks. People like us have to work everyday to pay THEIR bills. What do we get " 'ah your alright you can get stitches on your own time". I can u8nderstand if you really deserve it, but some people just ride the system....anyway have a good week next week.

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