Tag: Sales

Buying a car….

I finally decided it was time to replace the 12 year old mini-van with something newer.  Started shopping at the place where I purchased my last 3 vehicles.

 Upon parking I was greeted by two sales people.  My guess is that they were taking turns.  The weather was a balmy 33 degrees with a strong wind out of the north with scattered drizzle;  so it was probably not the best day to be walking all over a car lot. 

 I test drove a couple of vehicles; the first one was a two seater so the sales guy could not go with us.  The next was larger, four seats so he hopped into the back.  Immediately I noticed an odor from the back, this guy either had really bad breath, or whatever his diet consist of came right through his pores.  The issue with this is that I was not so much focused on the car as I was getting it parked so we could get out of that smell!  I digress…

 I really liked the second vehicle and the price was within my budget.  As a returning customer I expected a little better treatment than someone off the street.  He assured us that he would make us a great deal!  While he cajoled us and said we were part of the family, the numbers did not reflect any discount what so ever.  As the matter of fact the final price is what was on the sticker with an interest rate of 6.9% . 

 We thanked him and left.  Talking about it; we felt as if that was a slap in the face as this would have been the fourth automobile we had purchased through this dealer.

 We then went to a different dealer this time, to look at another brand.  Found a vehicle with 9 thousand miles on it via the internet and the price was less than the first.  The sales guy was nice enough and he was a “top performer.”  We spent about two hours there.  The vehicle we were looking at was in “like new” condition.  The difference in price between that vehicle with 9000 miles on it and a new one was 3000.  The color options were limited and there were no whistles or bells to speak of.

 We thanked him for his time and were about to call it quits for the day until we decided to try the place where I had purchased 4 cars before.

 Once there we asked to see the vehicle that we found on the internet.  There was some sort of pending deal however; we managed to get the keys as there was some issue with their credit.  After just looking at the car I noticed that it was really in great shape.  The factory tires had been replaced with new Michelins (about $800  worth)  The inside was pristine and the outside was the same.

 

While there was no navigation package there were enough whistles and bells to interest me.  The original driver had purchased it there 3 years prior and put 22K on it.  The depreciation on the car was $15k for 22 thousand miles and three years.  That is not counting the extras that he had included.

 

Normally I buy new cars however; I know that the depreciation is horrific so I decided to save a few $$.  The people were very nice, answered all of my questions and I did not have to haggle the price, as the internet price is what it is.  They discount them on the internet to the rock bottom to get people to come to the dealership.  A quick look at Edmonds and Kelly’s and a call to my trusted mechanic, I knew that I was being treated right.  Easiest purchase of a car in my life!

 

The point to this diatribe is this.  There is much information on the internet regarding what the car cost, what it should sell for, and interest rates that you should expect to pay.  Pushy sales people are a sign of desperation and the “game sucks!”  Each and every time we had to wait several minutes while the sales person went to talk with his manager “under the guise of getting us his card.”  My time is valuable so playing games is not my thing.  Some people enjoy it however; you are on their turf, they have all of the Ace’s and unless you do your research you will be getting screwed.  With the prices and information available to you today, you have a fighting chance of not getting taking advantage of.

 

This was my fifth vehicle purchased from these folks and I would imagine that it won’t be my last.  In retrospect I think that the day of the car salesman may be coming to an end.  I am not sure that this is a bad thing as up until this purchase I have always left with a bad taste in my mouth knowing that I had been screwed.  I don’t mind someone making a living for what they do however; taking advantage of people to the point of obscene is, well… obscene.

 

One of the reasons that I shop for my techie stuff at Best Buy is they are not commissioned, they are straight salary.  I don’t want to be directed to something that they make more money on, I want to be directed to something that fits my needs the closest and is in my price range.

 

Do your research whether it is houses, cars, or computer equipment.

 

Best to you and those that you care about!

Big Red Button or Time to Panic!

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Nothing says “push me” like a big red button.  One of the office supply stores even created a big red button that says “EASY” on it, to advertise how they can simplify your work life.

One of the data centers that I was responsible for had such a button.  It was covered with a little plastic rectangular box that said “emergency shut off” on it.

I have been in many data centers during my career.  There were several that had a big red button by the door with it sole purpose to release the magnetic latch on the door, to open it.

Like any other location, security in a data center is paramount.  Not only are network security firewalls and such important but physical security as well.  Only those who needed access to the data center, could access it with their security card.  Not even the CEO had access as he did not need it.  Their entrance was logged and in fact throughout the building one could forensically track any employee’s movements as this card was necessary to gain access to just about anywhere.  With the technology available today, I could design such a better system, but that is beyond the scope of this document.

One day, a vendor was visiting with a proposed solution to a problem.  Like any other vendor, if access to the data center is required, they are escorted at all times by one of, if not more of my staff or me.  The data center was in the middle of a retrofit and redesign while keeping the company running in parallel.  (This is much like changing the tires on a race car while it is moving down the track.)  On their way out of the data center, just as quickly as anything, the sales guy in front reaches up to the left of the door pops the cover open and pushes the big red button!  By the time that the sound of “NO” had left my lips, there was an eerie quite in the room.

The chain of events that this action triggered, were phenomenal.  Lights went off, the air handling unit went off, the Battery back-ups clicked on and for the moment; it looked as though the carefully engineered back-up power supplies were working.  I should mention that the look on this guys face was priceless, and I am just about certain that he had to change his shorts afterwards.  It dawned on me that no one had tested this button, and nobody knew where all of the circuit breakers were; well almost no one.  As I was the one that specified the power requirements for this data center and oversaw the installation of the new transformer, I knew where the main breaker was.  Within moments I had most of the power back on however; there was one legacy system that was still not on main power.

In another closet in another part of the building were still more circuits for this room.  I did not have a key to this and getting building maintenance involved was time consuming as they typically think like union employees; (don’t care if the place is on fire, when it is time for a break, they take it.)  Before the UPS was totally drained for that system I had gained access to that closet and found one tripped breaker.

I had inherited a mess of a data center that was put together on a shoestring budget.  Not because the company could not afford to do it right, their boss was cheap beyond reason.  They had cut corners at every place they could, including splicing old type 3 wires to cat 5 wires and running 16mg token ring over it.  They could not understand why 5250 and 3270 traffic would constantly be garbled and why connections to the server would be dropped frequently.  When I say spliced, I literally mean wires twisted together and a wad of electrical tape stuffed in the wall and or ceiling.  (Another story)

It did not take me long to get that circuit changed over and documented with everything else.  I also got to check off the list “test emergency shut down.”

Moral of the story; if you have a big red button, find a time to test it.  Secondly make certain that the button is labeled in big white letters on a red sign etc EMERGENCY SHUT OFF!

I am a stickler for documentation, which IT personnel are loath to do.  A living document should exist within each and every company that explains the ins and outs of everything, so if need be, someone else can take over.  It is part of the audit process for a disaster recovery plan and is one of the deliverable s.

-Best to you and all those that you care about!