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Author: RayBH Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 36696  
Subject: last rant.... Date: 2/1/2002 2:05 PM
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This is my last "rant" on the subject I promise.....

As some of you know I have just recently retired from my "engine rebuilding" business even though I still go in and do the books twice a week and am still the VP and major stock holder, my partner runs the "day too day". I restate all of this to make you folks aware that I have been at this, either managing someone else's business or having control of my own, since 1968.

Since these businesses have had to due with performance, custom, and race cars I would like to give you a perspective that may have been overlooked in all the pros & cons of the "fees" that will be charged by TMF.

On occasion we have an open house at the "shop" to promote our business or maybe in the summer on a holiday we would have a car show. We would ask our sponsored cars to participate and we would invite others with custom or race cars to join in. We would go to our suppliers and other related businesses (body/paint shops, auto repair shops, and even drive ins) to sponsor class trophies.
Then every participant sponsored or not would receive a "goodie bag" that contained things like T-shirts, coffee mugs, gift certificates etc. That was our way of saying "thanks for bringing prospective customers to our shop because you had your car or boat (we build power boats also) here as a draw.
In other words we understood that if we just opened our doors on a nice summer holiday and said "here we are" we wouldn't get the kind of response that we did when we had 30 or 40 custom/race cars in our parking lot.
We would have our staff walking around in the crowds of onlookers passing out cards and answering any questions that there were and we would invite them in the shop to see our operation and promote our products.
The point is we would never think of asking the very folks that were the draw to pay for the spot they parked there car/boat on, even though we did own the property and had every right to charge.
We certainly were "wise" enough to understand that the reason the spectators came was the "free" show that they saw, and it was our job to capitalize and take advantage of the opportunity.

I don't want to be rambling here, but If I may just one more example.

Some years back when the wave of "street rods" and "cruise nights" was getting popular here in the Chicago land area there was a business man that hit it just right in the suburb of Wheaton and opened a drive in (hot dogs & root beer type). He invited and promoted "street rods" and "custom cars" to come and hang out. Needless to say the word got out and folks came to see the cars and eat some hot dogs.
It grew.
And with that growth came some more costs on his part(traffic handlers, more servers, (the kind on roller skates) security, etc, you get the picture.
Evidently he figured that he would cover the cost by charging the people that were bringing their cars and friends ($3.00 a head) redeemable at the counter for food or drink. That was OK because the folks still got something.
But then he decided that folks were paying why not drop that "redeemable stuff" and make the full $3.00 plus the food that they would surely keep buying right?

Well long story short, within three weeks where there used to be 50 show cars and hundreds and I do mean hundreds of spectators there was zip, Oh maybe one or two would float through to see what had happened but that was it. He did this in late August by the end of the season he was out of customers on the scale he needed to cover his over head, the next year he closed down.

Folks didn't leave because it cost to much, shuck's we would blow that without batting an eye, they left because they thought they were being taken advantage of.

Moral of the story, "recognize where your bread is buttered".........

I think the Motley Fool has been a blessing and a great source for all of us and I hope that they get their act together and do well.....better than well, really prosper.
But as I said before, I think they are making a mistake by charging for the very thing that can draw potential customer base.

The term "value added" has been mentioned of late.....It reminds me of a TV commercial a few years ago ......."where's the beef".......Well that's just my take on it.

ray
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