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Featured Merchants June 28th, 2007

 

Toyota vs. Godzilla
by Peter W. Robinson

photoWatching the latest Toyota Tundra commercial, and realizing what it really means, reminds one of watching Mike Tyson fight when he was young ... there is a creeping feeling of dread and inevitability concerning the outcome.

Having identified the next automotive frontier to conquer, Toyota has commenced the process of dismantling their opponents, and--in the very best Sun Tzu (legendary general and author of 'Art of War') tradition-- they are using their own tactics against them. In the long run, it may not matter that U.S. automakers have been building great trucks for decades and still do. Because 'The Great American Truck' has long been marketed as a masculine icon, nearly all previous advertising campaigns have been an effort to out-macho the next guy. There is a rich tradition in the truck-commercial world to have the gruffest, manliest voice talk about the product in an inspiring way, but Toyota has dangerously upped the ante with this latest Tundra voice-over actor ... this guy makes Sam Elliott sound like a giggling schoolgirl.

As soon as American ad guys realized that folks knew that Toyota was building many of their cars and trucks here in the States, they switched to an old-time 'History of America' pitch. You know ... "we have been building these since they were flying over Pearl" and the like. But these little sideshows are really just a distraction from the real game: At some point, it will come back to the product-- the price, the quality, the cost of operation, the rate of depreciation ... the money. In Toyota plants across the world, a single worker is expected to stop the assembly line if he thinks there is a problem or if he believes that there is a way to improve the process. In the U.S., labor unions are quite effective at fostering a variety of things, but creative thinking and individual recognition ain't among 'em. Not to say it doesn't happen, couldn't happen, but it is difficult to imagine one of our boys stopping the assembly line. Well, you know, without being hit in the face with a baseball bat. The U.S. automakers most directly in the line of Tundra fire are obviously Ford and Chevy. This might actuallybe a good thing, because if people take the time to put all their options through the paces, they may find (to their surprise) that there is little-- if anything--to choose between makes. But what if we find that we are unable to fight them in the quality arena? That our powers of persuasion are blunted by superior voiceover actors? How soon will it be before we start thinking the unthinkable ... that awakening their ancient foe from his Mothra-induced slumber might really be our last, best hope? And what message would that send to our children, when they ask and they will ask if there was any other way we could have competed for this business? "Daddy, why did we wake the monster up?" Oh,...the humanity!

Peter W. Robinson is the founder of Movinmetal, a family-owned car buying and consulting service in Escondido, CA., located just north of San Diego. He has spent many years working in the car business, and is convinced that there is a better way to complete car deals. He can be contacted at 760-688-6398 or
at the website : www.movinmetal.com.


 

Converting Gold to Cash

photoNorton Kaiserman knows how website: www.thecommunitypaper.com to easily convert old gold jewelry you may have lying around the house into cold, hard, usable cash. “In today’s market,” Norton says, “gold draws higher than normal cash in trade. We’re happy to either buy gold or make loans using it as collateral.”

Norton has been one of owner Mack Hembree’s top executives within the Gems n’ Loans pawn brokerages in North County. He has been working with Mack for more than a year and a half and loves it because “Mack treats us all as family. He wants us to treat our customers just as we treat each other . . .and we do. I’ve been in sales since the 70s, when I worked on Wall Street, being an international stock trader for some years, later as an insurance salesman for a number of years as well. I’ve never known an owner or Chief Executive Officer quite like Mack. I’m proud to be part of his team.”

An interesting side note . . . Norton’s brother is Morris Albert, a well known singer/composer, who wrote and sung the song "Feelings" which became a huge hit worldwide in the 70s. Further areas of interest . . .
Norton speaks Portuguese because he was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, speaks Spanish, which he studied in school and then, with practice, became proficient. He speaks French because his mother was raised in Casablanca, before going to Brazil, and English because his grandparents only spoke English with him.

“The business of pawn brokerage has changed a lot from the image of the old days,” he says. “It’s been around since before the medieval era, because there’s always been a need for an easy way to borrowing money without a lot of bureaucracy. We offer that. Pawn brokers were created to serve that need and pawn brokerage will always be here in times of need.”

Whenever the economy is sluggish or unemployment is high, the need for people to borrow money to meet their financial needs either for a moment or for months increases tenfold.

Before coming to manage the Escondido store I worked at the Oceanside store, where I was well trained. I was tasked with developing the business at Escondido, which thank God, I am very happy to say the store is well on its way to becoming another great success in the Gems n’ Loans chain. We focus on giving the best opportunity to all of our customers, poor, middle class, or wealthy, to get temporary loans or to buy items for the best possible prices. We treat our customers as indivdiuals, not just another number.”

Perhaps one of the best examples of this is when four months ago a customer was making a loan at the Escondido store. She forgot a diamond necklace at the counter, which Norton found and immediately placed in an envelope. The lady had not left her phone number so he waited the four months and 10 day redemption period and when she showed up to redeem her pawned items Norton gave her the good news that they still had her necklace that she thought she had lost. As it was a cherished gift from her mother, she started to cry with happiness and hugged Norton, as did her husband, repeatedly saying how Norton was a good man, and saying how very grateful she and her husband were for the honesty, kindness, and attention that he had given her. She never expected to find the necklace. There are many other similar stories, but this one is particularly timely as it just happened last week.

“That’s just the way we do business,” Norton said. “Any of our people would have done the same. We’re a team. We think as a team, we work as a team, we act as a team. Part of Mack Hembree’s philosophy is total customer service . . . and to treat the customer the way we would want to be treated. Somehow, it all seems to work rather well."

You can meet Norton Kaiserman at the Escondido Gems n’ Loans, 327 W. Mission, Northwest corner of Mission and Escondido Blvd.



 


 

 

 

 

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