Mini-conglomerate, Diversification, or Just-A-Stunt?
Date: Wed, 18 May 94 17:59:01 PDT
Subject: Mini-conglomerate, Diversification, or Just-A-Stunt?
[My old boss (hi Stu) used to have (and probably still does have) a cartoon on
his door showing an enterprise not unlike this one; that business involved a
tin shack and a steam-shovel and was called "Fred's Fill Dirt & Croissants." -psl]
From: WhiteBoard News for May 18, 1994
Farmer's Branch, Texas:
Customers waiting for car repairs at Swedish Auto
Incorporated now have an alternative to reading old
William Signs, owner of the garage, is offering a free
marriage ceremony with any 30,000-mile inspection on Hondas,
Volvos and BMWs. For the $290 price of the inspection, he
will throw in the cost of being married by the local justice
of the peace, a $25 value.
The inspection comes with a warranty, but there is no
guarantee on the marriage. Then again, the justice of the
peace, Judge Bob Forman, suggests, "Maybe the car will break
down and the marriage won't." He says he hasn't seen
anything like this stunt since his days as a practicing
attorney, when a client asked him to draw up wills for
employees in lieu of cash bonuses at Christmas.
Signs said he got the idea during a trip to Las Vegas, where
he noticed a helicopter operator offering free marriage
ceremonies with the purchase of a deluxe helicopter ride.
He decided to borrow the concept and bring some joy to the
unhappy business of auto repair. "Normally people don't
get good news" at auto shops, he adds.
The mechanic isn't concerned about his offer hastening the
nuptials of mismatched partners or cheapening the
institution of marriage. After all, 30,000-mile inspections
aren't inexpensive. "They're going to have to spend almost
$300." he says.
If the promotion proves popular, Signs is prepared to expand
it to providing one-size-fits-all tuxedos and wedding
dresses of the type that grooms and brides easily slip into
at high-volume Las Vegas wedding chapels. For customers
whose marriages fall apart, Signs is considering another
bargain -- an uncontested divorce after four 30,000-mile
inspections, a $100 value.
To advertise the promotion, Signs sent out a mailing to
prospective customers and placed an ad on the side the shop
van. But the ad began two months ago, and so far no one
has taken Signs up on it. He has, however, heard lots of
giggles and guffaws from people who call or stop to ask if
the deal is real.
Meanwhile, his own Volvo is approaching another 30,000- mile
point, and he's worried that his girlfriend may notice and
pressure him to cash in on his own offer. To avoid that,
he says he's considering disabling his odometer.
© 1994 Peter Langston