Blog #21

Happy 2011 to you, We wish you Health, Wealth and the best of circumstances in 2011.
Almost back to normal for me after going on the cruise from Hello. Being brief, two bad storms, left Endicott at 28 degrees to arrive in sunny Florida at 29 degrees. Never has one fool paid so much to get one degree warmer.
The boat rocked so much, we dancers slid from one end of dance floor in a group and then back again. Walking through narrow hallways was also a challenge. One lady died on ship, and a small ill child had to be helicoptered to closest hospital. We were given $100 back per room and all the motion sickness pills we wanted for free. Was with family so we made the best of it. I lost my glasses, caught one lousy cold and took 3 weeks at home to get over it.

As previously mentioned, the new vehicles were very tempting to people who were used to slower, smaller, indoor chairs. A few began using the Independence and Twosome as All Terrain Vehicles. They are not.
We had some strange complaints come in. “Whadda ya mean it won’t climb over a 6″ diameter log.” “Can you make it go about 25mph so I can keep up with my hunting buddies.” It was difficult to determine just how much to put into the literature to let people know it can’t do those things. It’s very negative to write copy saying what a product will not do. I began to study ads. I checked into a few of my favorite advertisements to see if there were any limitations. All my favorites seem to say exactly what the product does except for one. “Where’s the beef?” That ole gal stated unequivocally what a product did not do. They didn’t say what theirs did but that powerful assumation was there making it one of the best ads of all time.
For this novice, Advertising is like walking a very tight rope, and I have a few lumps to prove it. Luckily, I also have a couple of engineers in the business who edit everything before it goes to press. They gently state, “What the Sam Hill are you trying to say here?” Sam must be a dear friend to many engineers. They quote him often.
I decided the best approach was just give the facts about the vehicle. If the potential customer was interested, he , she or they would read from our literature, what the top speed is, what the clearance on bottom is and vehicles length of 72″. They don’t fold to fit in the trunk of a car.
If you recall, our first all electric outdoor Happy Wanderer had 2 motors friction driving the rear wheels. These new vehicles had one powerful motor driving the transaxle with a gear belt and pulley. Boy, it worked great. I was button poppin proud of our engineers. Still didn’t care for that metallic sound but the vehicles proved well beyond my petty complaint. We did, however, have a valid customer complaint.
A farmer in Michigan broke quite a few gear belts in the first couple of months. He discovered while driving out through his field of wheat, his Palmer Twosome was acting like a harvester and chopping the wheat from its stalk. Once it got too many stalks ahead in the belt, belt broke. Wow, we never tested for that. Solution, he quit taking short cuts through his field.
Mother nature always thumps me off my self proclaimed pedestal when I get a little too……. bumptious.
(I had to look up a word to fit my thought. Just learned this useful word, bumptious! I know a lot of bumptians.)

Blog #20

Here in Endicott our population is 12,306 unless Mary down the street had her babies this morning. Then it will increase by two. We have not had a snow covering yet but it’s apparently on it’s way for end of this week. Tonight is a special night for the famous “Christmas Story” Leg Lamp goes up in our picture window. A much noticed Holiday Decoration. We wish all of you Peaceful, Healthy, Happy Holidays this season.

As mentioned before, the temptation “to boldly go where no electric scooter has ever gone” proved too much for some of our new electric vehicle owners. We began to get unusual calls and strange parts requests. I’m stuck in 7″ of snow, what do I do?
I’ve drove across a ditch full of water and for some reason the cart stopped, what’s wrong with your machine? (How quickly it becomes “our ” machine when something is wrong.} My favorite complaint came in around this time: “I pushed the push button and nothing happened.” In general, the newly designed vehicles were welcomed by the public. Although we test the vehicles at our shop, the true test pilots are some of our customers. These are the pilots who use the vehicles daily. One, in particular, lives in Philadelphia. Since he had 12,000 miles of driving a Palmer vehicle everywhere he went, he was one of the test pilots of the new transaxle drive. Most of his miles are put on by going back and forth to work. Earl really puts our vehicles to the test. The weather where he lives is a good variety of hot, muggy ,cold, dry, wind, rain and sunshine. He doesn’t use a garage so it sits outside. It’s covered with a plastic cover and when we go to pick it up, it’s sometimes pitted, faded, shows some rust, some worn spots and reveals the areas needed for improvement. Mind you, that’s only the exterior. As soon as there is an electronic failure, or mechanical problem, he calls and we change material, fabric, or wiring scheme to solve problems. Sounds funny, but the more problems he encounters, the better the product becomes. He’s tough on the machine and requires dependability. Earl has been our top in-the-field engineer, and one of Palmer Industries’ greatest assets. Other customers also test the prototypes before they hit the market. Arizona, Florida, California, Alaska, Hawaii and Rhode Island have high mileage users testing our changes for errors. And they find them.
Most of our customers help us out with their suggestions and or complaints.
Although the vehicles were much improved in a very practical sense, there were a couple of things I did not like too much. First was rather arbitrary. JP and son JP11 liked the amount of power the transaxle drive gave the new machines. I wanted more speed. We really argued this one out for a while. I argued why not more power and speed. Both engineers stated power was more beneficial and for some engineering gobbilty goop we can’t offer both. I lost. But this had a bit to do with my second complaint. The Transaxle drive, although quieter than the 2 motors friction driving the rear wheels on the Happy Wanderer, it didn’t hum . It sorta metaled along if you know what I mean. It was a metallic. sound. It was a good safety feature as people heard it coming and going. Not offensive, but there, annoying me every time they had me drive one to idiot proof it.
On that note I think I exceeded my word count.