Tuesday, February 17, 2015

February 2015 SDADA Column

I have written in this space about NADA's Fair Credit Compliance Policy & Program, a program
based on a compliance program that two dealers adopted in 2007 consent orders to resolve Department of Justice allegations of unintentional credit discrimination. It is designed to strengthen the dealership's efforts to comply with fair credit laws.

Several months ago, I encouraged you to look at implementing it in your store. I did finally employed the program at both of my stores on February 1, 2015. I can now tell you that it is painless and easy to do. It took me less than an hour at each store to adapt it.

The program is simply a way to manage the discretion we exercise in pricing credit, regardless of the way lenders pay us. It provides a dealer with an optional method of managing its discretion (and in a manner that allows consumers to benefit from competition) when working with lenders who pay dealers using a dealer reserve or dealer participation approach.

I strongly encourage you to read to look at this policy to see if it might help you mitigate these risks in your store. You can find all the resources you need including an editable version of NADA’s Fair Credit Compliance Program (MS Word .doc format) that you can use for your dealership at nada.org/regulatory_affairs/faircreditlanding.

Past Chairman McConnell to Speak at SDADA Convention in June

Immediate past NADA Chairman Forrest McConnell III will be one of the featured speakers at the 2015 SDADA Convention in Sioux Falls June 10-12. McConnell is a third-generation Honda/Acura dealer from Montgomery, AL.

Forrest and his wife Jennifer are good friends and wonderful people and I'm certain that you will enjoy meeting and visiting with him. This will be his first visit to our state so I look forward to him getting a big dose of South Dakota hospitality.

He is a encouraging and motivating advocate for dealers. If you heard his farewell address in San Francisco, you know he is a high-energy, positive guy (with a splash of southern wit!).
Make plans to attend our convention. You will enjoy Forrest!

NADA Issues New Compliance Guide on Federal Advertising Rules 

NADA issued a new publication that will assist new-car dealers in complying with federal advertising requirements on the sale, financing and leasing of automotive products and services.
 A Dealer Guide to Federal Advertising Requirements provides examples of “bad” ads and “good” ads and chapters on 41 different federal advertising topics, such as the use of discount claims, e-mail advertising, green marketing claims, Internet advertising, satisfaction guarantees and trigger terms. Readers can access the content quickly by clicking the hyperlinked topics in the table of contents page in the PDF document.

The guide is part of NADA’s Management Series, Driven and can be downloaded in PDF format here.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Mac Attack in The Windy City

Not what we wore to the JV BB game!
I took my wife on our very first date back on Valentine's Day, 1977. Never mind that it was a JV basketball game that we attended (I know, I know. You're thinking - what a romantic!) Hey - our options were pretty limited in a small, rural community!

Fleetwood Mac's Rumours was the soundtrack to our early courtship. We listened to a lot of music together, but it was the Rumours cassette (!!!) that kept finding it's way back into the stereo. Why not? The record has sold over 40 million copies worldwide, making it one of the best-selling albums of all time.

So when I discovered Fleetwood Mac was scheduled to play in Chicago (Rosemont Allstate Arena) on Valentine's Day, I decided that we needed to go. We made plans to spend the weekend in Chicago with our great friends Emmet and Diane from Fargo. My sister, Christy, joined us for dinner on Friday evening. She got caught up in the excitement of seeing Fleetwood Mac at dinner Friday and got online, bought a ticket and joined us for the concert Saturday night.

As fans know by now, Christine McVie rejoined Fleetwood Mac for her first tour with the group since 1999.  At the ages of 65 (Lindsey Buckingham), 66 (Stevie Nicks), 67 (Mick Fleetwood), 69 (John McVie), and 71 (Christine McVie), it is not a given that all five will ever tour together again.

Whether or not "On With the Show" will be their swansong, it is exciting that the group is intact for this tour 40 years after they came together. There are very few 70's or 80's band that are touring with their original lineup. (For that matter, very few are still together or touring at all!)

Band co-founder, Mick Fleetwood, has been a member of Fleetwood Mac for almost 50 years. He was with the band as it transformed itself several times before morphing into the current lineup in the mid-seventies. I recently read Fleetwood's book Play On: Now, Then, and Fleetwood Mac: The Autobiography. It is both his autobiography and a band documentary.

I have always loved Fleetwood's drumming style. I especially love the syncopated heartbeat of "Go Your Own Way". His "crazed-killed" eyes looking out over the band and crowd is priceless (especially when projected on the big screen behind the stage!). He introduced the band before the first encore and came out after the final encore to thank us for attending. It is safe to say that Mick Fleetwood loves what he does! I've always felt it's easier to enjoy an entertainer when they are enjoying themselves.

John McVie has played with some of the greatest blues, rock and pop artists in history. He too has almost 50 years in with this band. His stage presence suggests to me that there is only so much room on any stage for personalities, of which there has never been a shortage in this band. He seems to have a blue collar approach to his role of providing the foundation for Mac's music.

Christine McVie's return is what made this tour most appealing to me. After a 16-year hiatus, her talents were spotlighted. Probably a third of the songs the group played featured her vocals or keyboards including the final encore of the evening - "Songbird". Mick Fleetwood commented during the encores, “Having this wonderful lady share the stage, making us complete, our songbird has returned.”

Stevie Nicks' voice has matured quite gracefully. I found "Landslide" to be very moving as her rich, deep, honey-like voice crooned the story of her life crashing in around her as a young artist. She was great on “Dreams”, and “Gypsy”, and she performed “Gold Dust Woman” with a little extra flair. She seemed to really pour out her heart on "Sisters of the Moon". I loved hearing “Silver Springs”, her song about her romantic breakup with Lindsey Buckingham. The song has a very interesting history told by Ken Caillat who engineered Rumours and wrote "Making Rumours" (which I highly recommend if you are a Mac fan!).

Lindsey Buckingham's incredible talent was on full display through out the 2 1/2 hour concert. His passion and unique guitar playing style were mesmerizing. "Big Love" was spectacular! - my favorite moment of the evening. Watch the guitar work in videos below. The fit-looking Buckingham was on stage the entire concert and was just spent at the end of "I'm So Afraid". It is truly great stuff! He remains the heartbeat of Fleetwood Mac!

Seeing old rock and rock bands is a hit and miss proposition. You never know if you'll see enough of the original band that it reflects their previous identity. You don't know if the energy or passion will still be there. In some ways, you don't even know if the music is relevant anymore.

Fleetwood Mac still brings it with more passion and energy you could ever expect from five senior citizens. Their music is still as relevant to me (in some ways more) as it ever was. I thoroughly enjoyed the concert and am glad my sweetheart and I made the trip.

Here is the setlist:



Monday, February 9, 2015

Picking Up the Pieces in New Orleans

Craig and Chris looking like Bourbon Street veterans!
As I have told in previous posts, my first Final Four was in New Orleans in 1982. Neither my Dad, Chris, Craig not I had been to the Crescent City before. We soon learned that Bourbon Street was not for the faint of heart.

Our first night there, we found a place on each end of Bourbon Street to buy a beer. Soon we had established a routine of buying a beer at one end of Bourbon and stumbling walking to the other end for a refill. It would take 45 minutes to an hour to walk from one end to the other because the street was very crowded and there was so much going on.

Fans from each of the participating Final Four schools would break into a spontaneous cheers whenever they would meet another group from their school. This would encourage fans in the area from other schools to start their own cheers and soon there were four spontaneous pep rallies going on.

Everything was done with great spirits (pun intended) and made for much fun. The cheers got louder as the evening wore on and we got caught up in the excitement.

If you've been to the French Quarter, you know not everything is good CLEAN fun. There are "Gentleman's Clubs" on Bourbon and on some of the side streets in the Quarter.

There was then (and still was the last time I was there) a "club" that had a fake pair of scantily clad legs swinging in and out of the front window of the storefront to garner the attention of "gentlemen". There was a barker hawking people to come in to the establishment.

After several "laps" on Bourbon Street, we found ourselves walking down the sidewalk in front of this enterprise with the doorman trying to separate us from our $10 (or whatever the cover charge was back then). I would like to point out that drink prices were NOT advertised outside this establishment!!
With one of their new friends!

As we were talking and observing people's antics, my Dad walked over by the front of this joint and sneeked a peek in when the door opened as someone was exiting. The "dentally impaired" marketeer who seconds earlier was inviting us to go in, bellowed at him for sneaking a peak (as if one could actually see anything in the two seconds it took for the door to open and then close).

That disrespect toward my Dad was unacceptable to Craig and he had indulged in enough "liquid courage" to tell "Mr. Doorman" just what he thought of his attitude toward Dad. Craig called him a couple of names that I've only heard in the cowboy bars of western South Dakota (usually
 punctuated with a stream of snus!).

Several guys associated with this fine establishment seemed to appear out of no where to let Craig know that they were going to "assert their authority". They surrounded him and tried to intimidate him.

Chris, always the peacemaker and hoping to help prevent a physical confrontation (Craig's reputation as one who sported a stellar record in college bar fights had preceded him), informed them that Craig "had a piece" (meaning that he had a gun).

Chris posing with police after the incident.
Within seconds (literally), two New Orleans cops had Craig up against the wall and were frisking him and looking for his gun. Craig was trying to explain he had no gun while Chris was telling anyone who would listen that he (Chris) was just bluffing. The immediate problem was that no one of any importance in the matter was listening.

The entire sequence of events happened so quickly that it is hard to explain. It happened as fast as or faster than it took you to read this. Meanwhile, Dad was still trying to sneak a peek and I was trying to figure out how we are going to get Craig out of jail.

Fortunately, when the police did not find a "piece" on Craig, things calmed down in a hurry. Craig received a stern warning. Chris should have received a warning but he had moved on to the next "thing" - whatever that turned out to be. (Looking at the above photo, it must have been getting the cops to pose in a photograph!) Dad never really knew anything about it until after it was over. I barely had time to get scared. I had made enough "laps" on Bourbon Street that it was funny pretty quickly!

What could have been a rather disastrous incident on first Final Four trip turns out to be one of those "must tell" stories that we re-live over and over!

Friday, February 6, 2015

Don't Look a Gift Horse in the Mouth

One of my favorite Final Four memories happened in 1985 in Lexington, Kentucky. That year, my wife, Judy, attended the event with me. This was BC (Before we had Children).

The tournament was on Easter weekend that year. On Easter Sunday we spent a good part of the morning searching for a Catholic church. We finally were able to find one. It seemed as though Judy and I, Chris (my long-time Final Four partner), Tim (a friend who attended with us that year) the Catholic coaches from around the country (Ray Meyer, Digger Phelps, etc.) and their wives were the only Catholics in the state of Kentucky (or at least in Lexington that weekend).

After church, we decided to see if we could tour of one of many Thoroughbred horse farms in the area. We got on the main road heading out of Lexington. As we drove west out of town, we noticed a bus pulling in to a driveway of what was obviously a horse farm. We decided to follow the bus.

As we entered the driveway, there was a sign that said "Gainesway Farm". The driveway was lined with picket fence and bluegrass. We pulled up to the guard station at the head of the driveway. As we approached, I rolled down the window and the security guard—armed, no less—asked our name.

I replied,'"Knust, K-N-U-S-T," spelling it for him as if he was going to find it on his list.

Gainsway Farm from the highway
"I don't see that on my list, sir. Could I see you invitation?" he responded.

Seeing that we were in over our heads, I told him that we had forgotten it back at the motel and offered to go get it. Just then, from the back seat, Chris bellowed (as only Chris can bellow), "We're with the press!" Tim, Judy and I all rolled our eyes at Chris, who had judged this as a perfect opportunity to try a bullshit line.

The security guard looked in the backseat at Chris (who was dressed just like a sportswriter!) and told us we could enter, but asked us to cover for him and not to let anyone know that we didn't show our-invitation.

I replied, "No problem," and we were on our way up the 1/2 to 3/4 mile driveway.

The driveway at Gainsway Farm
At the end of the driveway, another armed security guard asked to see our invitation. I didn't even have an opportunity to speak before Chris chimed in. He obviously was not going to let this "schmuck" stop us after his success at the front gate.

Once again he explained that we were "with the press and that we had forgotten our invitation back at the motel. The security guard waved us by and we proceeded to the parking area where we parked between a pair of Mercedes and behind a BMW. (We were in my 1983 Chevrolet Malibu company car).

My 1983 Company Car Malibu
Chris absolutely took over from this point. We were there about two minutes before we learned that this was a press function. Gainsway Farm was holding an open house to promote Thoroughbred horse racing to the many sportwriters who were in the area for the Final Four. There were quite a few other people (sports writers) there who, like Chris, were wearing a T-shirt from one of their previous Final Four trips.

We were guided on an extremely interesting tour of the facility and learned all about Thoroughbred horses and the breeding process. Chris was asking questions at every opportunity. I think most of those in our tour thought that he was preparing a feature article for his publication.

Judy was nervous to start with, but became more and more nervous with each question Chris asked. We had lied to get in and she was certain that we would leave in handcuffs.

After the hour-long tour, we were led into a large open-air barn—about the size of a basketball court. In the middle of this facility were some tables with mountains of finger sandwiches, heavy hors d'oeuvres, and desserts. There was a bar at each end of the "walking barn". As we.went.through the line of food, Judy had a look of absolute terror on her face while Chris, Tim and I were thinking we might just spend the rest of the day here!

This barn was full of food and drinks!
We proceeded to the bar where we were given a betting form and card for a horse race. The Jim Beam Stakes, a Breeder's Cup race, was being held in Florence, KY (near Cincinnati) that afternoon. There were several large screen TV's scattered throughout the gazebo. They would be showing the race on closed-circuit. We were encouraged to bet on the race. One of the forms with the correct pick would be and the winner would receive a case of Jim Beam.

When Tim's form, with the Wichita Sunflower (Wichita State University newspaper) as his affiliated newspaper, was a winner—and entered into the drawing after the race, I thought Judy was going to pass out. We waited for the drawing (Tim didn't win), and left soon after for the health of my wife.

Pretty sure this is the only time Judy smiled that afternoon!

As I reflect on the events of that afternoon, I regret not administering a bit of "Kentucky tonic" to Judy. I think she might have enjoyed both the medicine and the tour! That afternoon we redefined "March Madness" in her eyes!

There is just as much horse sense as ever, but the horses have most of it.  ~Author Unknown