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Wow! What An Automobile! Hey! Where Did It Go? Somethin's Rotten In Denmark!

   By: John T Jones, Ph.D.

From the Eye of the Potato: Perception is Everything!

After WWII, the boys came home and a couple of them became our scoutmaster and assistant scoutmaster. They decided to resume the old troop traditions and take us to the Grand Tetons for a week.

Each boy had to anti-up $13.00 to go. That was a formidable some in those days. I earned $8.00 cutting lawns. The other $5.00 came from my father after I strained my milk for a week planting a lawn between the sidewalk and the street.

I remember the ground being like cement. It actually was mostly cinders from the landfill they had used when our house was build some years before. I knew where those cinders came from. I'd passed the power plant more than once, seeing the black smoke coming from the furnaces that provided the heat to the steam generators that turned the electric turbines.

It was a hard task to get the earth dug, smoothed, and planted. Fortunately for me, my good friend Paul came over and gave me a hand once in a while.

I finally got the seed spread, and low and behold, the grass started poking its head through the surface despite the rough nature of the earth. It amazed me that little blades could move fairly good-sized pebbles.

Well, I got my five bucks, and after an inspection of our gear on the church loan, we were ready to go to the Grand Tetons. To say we were not excited would be like saying that bees do not make honey. Early one Monday morning, the troop piled into two cars and we headed out. There were 13 of us in one car and 11 in the other. If you think that riding with a farting scout on your lap is a great joy, thing again. Also, we had not a few flat tires, both on the cars and on the trailers. We didn't pull into Jackson, Wyoming until it was dark. After a bunch of the scouts got booted out of the Cowboy Saloon, we headed on up past Wallace Berry's ranch into the park.

A lot of things happened on that trip. We hiked the trails and swam in freezing lakes. To get the flavor of our troop on horseback, go to, scroll down the page to humourous poetry, and read Bill Shultz and the Teton Ride.

A couple of us were always sneaking off from the troup to ride horses or to see the sites. We were hitchhiking along one of the park roads one day when a Studebaker came down the road. It was just introduced and brand new. It also was something we had never seen before, with a completely new design, a curved windshield, and plenty of room. It was blue in color and a wonderful thing to see. We could hardly wait to tell the other scouts about riding in that wonderful car.

Studebaker was a maker of wagons for many years. They started early in the automobile business, first making electric cars and then cars with the internal combustible engine.

During WWII, they make motors for the B-17, trucks, and the army Weasle. But they knew the war would end, so they put a few engineers and designers on postwar production projects. They were the first company to bring out a car of new design after the war. Their sales boomed!

The company showed good profits from government contracts and the new cars. The contracts diminished with time and so did the cars sales even though Studebaker continued to produce new and better products. Sadly, after the company joined with Packard, the old company passed away. BOO! HOO!

Well, it was sad. I owned two Studebakers. One I bought from my brother after I got home from the Korean War (not Korean Conflict or any of that other "police action" stuff.) I traded that in for a new Studebaker Champion while I was in college. Both were good cars and I had little trouble with them.

I was having a timing belt replaced one day, when my friend who had done the work, a returned Marine from WWII, said, "When Studebaker decided to make cars, they should have left the trailer tongue on the front. It would be a lot easier to tow them."

Studebaker made wagons for many years. Many still thought of them as wagon makers. And some, thought the quality was lacking. Well, when something went wrong with my cars, it was always a minor irritating thing. I remember that the "hill holder" stopped working. I had to replace a rod that cost less than a dollar to get it working again.

But quality was not the main problem with Studebaker, in my opinion. It was customer preference. You either loved Studebaker or you hated it. For that reason, the Studebaker had poor trade in value, at least in my town.

It's sort of like Apple® and PC®. Each has a particular clientele.

What I'm getting at is that it is often a perception thing, not a real thing, that often steers us away from good products.

I think that Studebaker went under because of the perception of their products, not the reality. Now, I may be wrong on this. I'd love to hear from the experts in such things.

Home Business Tip: Polish that image like it is a pearl of great price. It is!

A Tippy from Flippy: You can brag in business without looking like a braggard.

Keeping Up with the Jones': Tell everybody that the Jones' got all their good stuff from you.

Fiddle Dee & Fiddle Dum: Polish the apples before you open up the fruit stand.

Can't Ya' Get Goin'?: If you can't think of a product to get you started in business, borrow one somewhere.

All Things Come: Sell your benefits more than your product or service features. They will come!

Life Success Quotation: Practice telling people how good they are. Later, they will ask you how good your products are. Well, you will have practiced!

Business Success Quotation: Presentation is everything in business. Not only the product, but the people, the facilities, and, by all means, the objectives of the company. Everyone should know who you are and what you stand for.

John Taylor Jones, Ph.D., author of books and novels, was vice president of research and development of a Fortune 500 Company. He was a college professor at one time, teaching engineering at Iowa State University. Jones has nine twelve web sites at last count. At his e-commerce site,, you find many books, kits, and newsletters to get the information and needed loan sources for many home- and office-based businesses. You can contact Dr. Jones at:

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