Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Looking at Several Improvements for My Office

I'm registering a vehicle with the state right now and I'm taking the time sitting to note a few things I'm working on to make my company more profitable:
  1. Streamlining the paperwork process. We are looking at several options that would link three programs we use (Act!, Microsoft Access, and Quickbooks) and allow us to bypass cutting and pasting information between programs. This would save us a considerable amount of time and eliminate clerical errors.
  2. Switching to a VOIP phone service- if we switch to voice over IP, we would immediately see an 80% savings on our outgoing calls and maintain a similar cost level on incoming 800 calls. There are companies that we could cut costs with on both ingoing and outgoing, but they don't seem as reliable.
  3. Doing a better job selling part and labor warranties. This would give many of our customers a peace of mind about their purchases, extend their part warranty, and cover their labor in the highly unlikely event that they have a warranty problem, in addition to making our company more profitable. It is truly a win-win situation.
Also high on my agenda, but highly unlikely, is teaching my father how to do basic things around the office. He can sell like the dickens, but he's pretty much infantile when it comes to doing very basic things like looking up tracking numbers for customers. He then wastes his time and their time by getting someone else to do it, instead of just making 4 mouse clicks and finding it himself. Bad dad! Bad!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Incompetant People

One of the biggest frustrations in life is dealing with people who are attempting to deal with others or make decisions of a nature of in a capacity that is beyond the limits God placed on their intellect.

I hate this frustration, and tonight instead of writing about anything deep, I would just like to let you know that I would love nothing more than to find a hard counter top and repeatedly bump my head on it until numbness sets in and I go to sleep.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

That car is on fire!

U sell transmissions?

Funny phone call from someone that doesn't listen well:

"I needs a transmission for a 97 Caravan."
"Sir, I'm sorry, we only sell engines. I can't help you."
"Wha - huh? Well, wut a engine cost?"
**I check** In the background I hear a few people talking, "How you sell a engine but no transmission? Dis guy lyin'."
"Sir, it will cost XXXX.XX."

The guy replies, without any pause or hesitation, "Do dat cum wif a transmission?"



Sometimes, I thank God for the clicking noise.

They did what? or Things that make me not use companies again

I bought a really nice Lincoln Continental out of Virginia a couple of months ago. I contracted with the company I've contracted with to move several other vehicles to get this Continental to Memphis, and bought a transmission with only 5,000 miles on it. I shipped it to Memphis and then I waited. 3 weeks went by. I waited another week. Then I started to get angry. I don''t yell at people I do business with when I get angry - I remind them of what they told me they would do when I pay them, and I remind them of the volume of business they will miss if they don't do what they've told me they will.

After much frustration, dozens of calls, and me planning on driving to Virginia to get the vehicle myself, they finally picked my vehicle up. I got a call Friday from the company they contracted to asking why they were being paid to haul a functional vehicle when the vehicle was non-functional (completely shot transmission). The idiots I hired LIED to the haulers, and now the vehicle was sitting in a cradle, unable to be moved off of the truck. Amazing!

The company (CK Transport) was nice enough to take the vehicle to their lot and use their equipment to pull it off the trailer for me. They'll deliver it to my shop on Tuesday. Crazy! I'll just go through them directly, as I plan on getting a lot of vehicles in Virginia from this supplier.

I'm finding out that one of the main components of business is knowing who to deal with and who not to deal with!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Stupid Phone Calls

I talk to a lot of people on the phone every day. A LOT. Doing this, I hear some strange stories. "I blew up my motor racing backwards for five miles in the rain," etc. Crazy things. Today, I got a phone call. The area code was for the South Twin Cities, and it was so absurd that after I got off the call I immediately texted 7 of my friends to see if they had prank called me. If they did, none would own up to it. As most of them are pastors or pastoral study majors, I'm taking their word for it.

Before I share with you what happened, I want to post this disclaimer: idiot voice inflection can take an intelligent comment and remove the "intelligence" from the conversation.

When the gentleman in question called, he told me he was looking for a '96 Civic motor, and insisted he wanted to put a V-Tec in his base model. We don't sell a motor to someone unless it's the same motor they have in their vehicle. Nothing I said made this man understand that. Instead, he was focusing on whether or not I could get him the motor quickly so he could install it while his vehicle was on the freeway. That's right, he wanted to do a motor install on the freeway. I did not sell that motor.

Interesting, to say the least.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

What if the tow truck needs towing?

On my way to a shop today, I saw a Ford F650 tow truck moseying down the road. To say it looked like it needed help would be an understatement. I thought of a man in ministry that recently fell due to a moral failing, a man I respect, and a seeing that tow truck - worn out from pulling other vehicles - struggling to pull its own weight made me really thank God for the men and women we have in ministry in the church... as well as those that support them.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007


There's lightning in the sky tonight, along with the accompanying thunder and, of course, rain. My entire life I've loved storms. Something speaks to me in the bright flash, something sings to me in the rumble of the thunder, and the rain refreshes everything it falls on.

Every time I see lighting, I'm reminded of 1 Kings 1.11b-13
Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.

What a word-picture. Intense wind, an earthquake, and a fire. All of these symbolic in the New Testament of the new covenant (mighty rushing wind of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, the earthquake that tore the veil to the Holy of Holies at the crucifiction, and the tongues of fire that landed on the heads of those in the upper room), yet God showed up and whispered.

Everyone loves to talk about the way God came rumbling and hollering at Ezekiel to not let the Witch Jezebel defeat God's prophet - not after the fire from heaven and the slaying of the 400 prophets of Baal. But God was doing more than rebuking Ezekiel - he was reminding him of his nature. Remember, the day before *wham* - fire from heaven, and 400 died. But LORD was not in the fire - and after the fire, God sent a prophet... a whisper.

Many times in our lives we see a radical situation change in our life, or in the life of someone else. We assume God is teaching a lesson or using that to directly communicate through the event a truth to somwone. Can he do that? Of course. But how many times the LORD is not in the fire, but is really calling us to show up and whisper? In the rubble following the earthquake, the darkness following the lightning, or the ash following the fire - are you whispering when needed?

Monday, April 02, 2007


Last week I had a few interesting incidents.

Thursday, I found a homeless guy sleeping in an investment vehicle while I was taking pictures of it for advertising. I was not pleasant to him, especially after he peed on the rear wheel of the vehicle.

That night, with a new paranoia about the vehicles I leave at the office, I drove back by after I left the gym. Figuring I might as well get some work done, I went in the office for about 45 minutes. When I left the building, there were two kids in a late model Civic doing something unglodly enough to make the vehicle's shocks take the worst beating of their life. I walked to my Audi (in the opposite direction of them), turned on all my lights and cranked up some rap as loud as I could - I needed those kids to leave, as I didn't want to drive right by them, and they were by the only exit from the rear of the building. I sat. Waiting. For five minutes. Awkward Sometimes, you just can't win. So, I drove by them blaring my horn the entire time.

Awkwardness is such a weird emotion. You can feel awkward in good situations - getting to know someone new. You can feel awkward if you've done something wrong and you think you'll get caught.

Kids really do a better job of expressing themselves. Many times I've had them sum up why they can't talk about something with their parents - "It makes me feel retarded." That's an interesting take on the subject. Awkward could be anger with an extra chromosome - or fear, or sadness. It's a play on something normal, a perversion of something good. For example, meeting the homeless man, or those kids. Meeting someone should be a great thing! But when they're peeing on your car, or doing something shameful, the beauty of the meeting is perverted, and awkwardness ensues. Or think about meeting someone you feel is "better" than you. Your sense of self-worth has been perverted... things have gotten, as a teenager would put it, "retarded."

What a random, awkward blog. Oh well - off to the gym and then back to the office to check my cars!