Blog #39

The older I get the more I feel It’s a quick trip from Nursery School to Nursing Home. As a High school boyfriend once said, “tempus fuggits”. I couldn’t figure out if that was lack of education or comic wit. Looked for him at last reunion. He had vanished. I shall remember him as Tommy Fuggits.
Before I create another hornet’s nes†, We didn’t spend too much time in the doldrums. We had new projects to think about. Always trying to improve the product includes the accessories. Our list continually changes by expanding and updating. For example, our first telephone holder was big as a half quart of milk container. As phones got smaller so did our phone holder, and then we configured a small charger for cell phones.{I have no idea what we can do for Apple’s “Dick Tracy” Wrist phone).
Also because some people who were not handicapped needed to use our scooters, we decided to make a TCV Model that has a Vin # for registering and/or licensing if needed, and can be used anywhere a low speed vehicle can go. We have been very fortunate that our customers are considerate enough to ask permission to use it in certain places they go. Once in a while, a store will allow it inside if customer cannot easily transfer to their provided chair. Some Wounded Warriors deservedly get to go places that are restricted to others. And to our knowledge, none have ever abused that exception. They will always be heroes.

Blog #38

Well, #37 stirred up a hornet’s nest, so Hi Ho , Hi Ho, It’s off to work I go!
Seems to me we had an almost perfect vehicle when the guys were done tweaking it. It ran so well and so quietly . We had dealt with the weather problem by making the enclosure. Since the windshield was poly carbonate, it neither cracked nor broke. Sales still did not climb much as magazine and journals, where we advertised, were losing subscribers. Also some previous advertisers were now spending elsewhere. That meant an increase in price for those of us who did advertise. The big change was the internet. Marketers saw what was coming down the pike. More and more people were shopping on line. This posed a quandry for our marketing. The majority of our sales were to the elderly. They were not computer users in general except for email. They were less trusting of the online advertisements. They preferred companies with real location addresses rather than just a URL. And some were scammed on their first attempt to purchase something online. It was frustrating. Learning how to navigate the computer, giving their personal bank or credit card info to a form rather than a person was an iffy experience for mature customers. Now we had to continuously improve and update our website and pay for the site, the work and time it requires. Add to this the higher ad costs in our usual magazine placements where sales were declining. Woe is us for a brief time.

Blog # 37

This has nothing to do with business and probably doesn’t belong here but sometimes you need to vent and I’m gonna.

The Kiss
It’s one of the silliest things we humans do. Didn’t like it when I was young, or middle aged or now. Whoever decided that puckering your lips, touching another and then making a small pop sound was romantic or pleasing? Everyone looks silly puckering up. Then pop! I call ’em Pucker Pops. And how stupid is it if you have done something worthwhile to help or please another, they want to pucker pop you. Eeeeks! Your family likes to pucker pop the rest of the family if they haven’t seen them for a while. Don’t they think that sharing genes is enough? I love my family and don’t stop them but it’s habit. Watch the winners of races whether car or bike or on foot, in boat, plane or motorcycle. They get pucker popped from many they’ve never met. Women think it’s a reward for you.The older ones don’t even have to pucker, it’s there already. They just pop.
I am a romantic but lean back from kissing even with people I care for. It’s not the germs, It’s not the feel or the noise. It’s the nonsense of doing it. I’ve racked my brain for an alternative to show excitement or encouragement or pride. Alas to no avail. If I do come up with something better I won’t let anyone know because they will Pucker Pop me.

Blog #36

I looked in the mirror at our world wide activities. We are a major part of the problem.
Had an great surprise last week from customer. And here’s what happened. Jack II who runs the shop was helping phone talk a fellow through a repair. The guy was down on his knees repairing his Twosome. Jack curiously asked him when he was born. Without hesitation the fellow said,”1914″. We’re gonna try to get a picture for all of us to see. If I get one, will put it on immediately.
Anyway, these new vehicles sold well. Quite a few to customers who had had their Palmer for 10 or 20 years. Seems the need to get rid of shifter was more prevalent than we thought. It also got rid of most noise. Here was a progressive benefit to our company. There are many self made mistakes in trying to grow your own business as every company, small and large, knows. (IE: Edsel). Because the government wouldn’t help pay for our customer’s scooter as they were outdoor vehicles, we wasted much time and effort building and indoor/outdoor one. It was a smaller version of our single seat scooter. Had all the power, weight capacity and a slower speed. We did much testing in and out. The thing that finally put a Kibosh on project was the need to go with smaller wheels. We tried many kinds and the guys were too opposed to give up safety for outdoor riding. They would have had to add wheels to back end of vehicle to keep it from tipping on the slightest of grades. What good was all our power if one can’t climb the hill for fear of tipping back. We decided to forgo government’s payout and keep scooters outdoor safe. We have never regretted our decision.
Good News! We received picture of our 100 year old pilot on his Palmer. We are so proud to have Mr. La Fontaine, in VermontMr. La Fontaine as one of our pilots. He still works on his own vehicle. There should be Oscars for those who inspire us.

Blog #35

DSCN0181

DSCN0180Enclosure-2-accesssory1205Hello you two. A lot is happening in our unsatisfied world. It seems to be broiling in many spots and it’s not the climate change heating it up.  September is knocking at our door and the wood pile is being readied. At this time in about 2003, we were designing a plastic enclosure for our electric vehicle owners who ride year round weather permitting. It took a long time  to get it the way we wanted. We tried so many different combinations of plastic and canvass, snaps and zippers, thread and Velcro that we had more prototypes stacking up in our stock pile than we did any other accessory. I truly believe we didn’t know the amount of time it would take to get the product out of the door so the customer was pleased.  We sent some out and they came back. One accessory like that takes so much effort.  We had seamstresses and fabric  people working with us plus a number of customers suggesting what they would use. The winter snow and cold cracked some plastic, froze some zippers. Finally we stumbled onto the right combination and the Enclosure along with the Windshield for support satisfied most needs and weather conditions. Good grief, now the riders started adding their own accoutrements.   A couple rigged up heaters, one mentioned riding with a small fan. And one hung a swinging lamp inside the enclosure.   How he could see out was beyond us , but he said people could see him in the evening.  Palmer pilots sure are creative.
PS. That is not part of our woodpile, it’s belongs to a customer in Hawaii.

 

Blog #34

Hello, if anyone reads these Blogs. I’m back to update you on our history progress, and let you know what we’ve done recently. Making the vehicles quieter, more powerful and automatic was not the only upgrade made back in 2002. Little did I realize the benefits of the circuit board adaptation to the dash panel. It made the vehicles so much easier to diagnose and repair. The circuit board consolidates the wires and keeps them in same place under dash panel. Our owners Manual shows which wires go to which switch. Now, a lot of our customers can replace a bad switch if they have the confidence to try it. (They can always call the shop guys, who build them, if they have a problem). The unsung little circuit board benefits the customer and us.  These new scooters sold well and quite a few to customers who had had their Palmer for 10 or 20 years. And speaking of older vehicles, I am including a picture of the 29 year old Palmer Twosome  we29 yr old veh small2 recently tuned up for a customer.  We are often asked if we have any used vehicles and it’s a rarity if we do. As I mentioned before, when one  of our vehicles is no longer used  by a customer, they keep it in the family for someone else, or sell it to a friend. The ability to vitaminize these confirms  how durable we made them to begin with. To me, it confirms how quickly I’m aging.  The  aged vehicle still runs well and as you can see, looks good.  If  only this aged  one could live up to that maxim.
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Blog #33

I can’t believe it took a drone to plunk me back into the blog. I’ve never been good at prioritizing.

When the gals in the office are out sick or on vacation, I fill in on the inquiry phone and I get a lots of comments. Here are a few: “How old are you? Do you have a cold? Is this a business? Can I speaka somea onea who speaka da Eeengaleesha?” I also enjoy talking with the perspective customers and learning about what they are interested in. Today, I talked to a man who wants to restore his Mother’s vehicle and use it himself. He asked my name and I gave it. He said, “Oh, you are one of the top people.”
I had to laugh and tell him if he came by the Palmer Industries Totem Pole, he’d stub his toe on me. Talking directly to customers on the phone is very beneficial and I think more companies should try it. I am really annoyed when a company lets me speak to ones who only take your information and say they’ll pass it on. Yeah, right! Customers’ suggestions, compliments and complaints are best way to improve product.
I realize I’m skipping a few years but I’m slow and needed a motivational goal of half way. And 20 years is that date. A lot of my writing is boring. The business has never bored the guys. They are always enthusiastic, even when their ideas don’t reach their expectations. Like Tommy Edison, they found out what didn’t work. I’ve contributed a few brilliant ideas myself, like when they designed a stronger more powerful motor, I wanted them to make it faster. No one saluted my speed flag. But they did let me try a vehicle with one of our testing motors. If it had wings, it would have flown. It was so exciting, but frightfully exciting. Too fast for me or the others to feel comfortable and in control. This “Don’t tell me, Show me” mid western female learned they were right. So we kept with 13 MPH speed that seems to agree with most of our pilots.
By this time, we had given up on the government helping pay for our American made mobility products. They approved them but would not help our customers pay for one. Our government had become our biggest competitor, and still is.
The newer vehicle seemed streamlined to us then. Although shifting was easy, automatic was a big improvement attention wise and made it easier for people who had a stroke to just twist grip for more speed without shifting.
Also, that middle of the vehicle shifter was eliminated and single seat female driver could wear a skirt or dress without wrinkling it.
Little improvements make our products more useful. However, every change means a new Owners Manual and Parts List. And someone has to keep up on all that paperwork!!! Tell us you need a part and we have to look in the right Owners Parts list to send you what you need. This year, our 40th year in business, finds us without our original suppliers as over half have gone under, gone overseas or sold to someone else who manufactures different part configurations. We pride ourselves on having parts for everything we’ve made and that takes a lot of resourcing time. Our degreed engineers are good but in many cases, the guys working the nuts and bolts, screwdrivers, and hoists come up with simple, effective solutions to complex problems. Bless the do-it-yourselfer engineers that we are lucky to have as co-workers. I’m over my word count.
Check out our new Hybrids http://blog.palmerind.com/electric/hybrid.php

Blog 32

My thoughts on:

Octocopters

I saw the CEO of Amazon proudly display his newest delivery gadget. What was he thinking? Another Nobel invention to spread havoc across his, ours or other nations. We could solve many problems with this. Talk about your germ warfare, how about viruses and the lowly bacteria not to mention illnesses and flesh eating prowlers. And in less than 30 minutes they can invade the unsuspecting..

Maybe it will save money. No need for disease control workers. It can’t work. And how about the air space above your home. Full of copters competing for your sales, health insurance, loyalty, religion or even maybe your patriotism. How high up do we own? Can we sell it like our underground resources?

Talk about space invasion, Airwaves once free, now owned by drone heads. Beer glass, tear gas, locktite, dynamite, cookers, hookers (they’ll soon get past the 5 lb limit.) and all within 30 minutes of your order or whoever sends it to you.

Oh please deliver us from this evil, but not by drone!

Blog #31

Back from annual Ski trip to Vail. Lots and Lots of snow! Usually warmer, but Brrrr 5 degrees at 11000 plus feet. Late March is great skiing. These old bones love to fall in powder!!

By 1992, although we had been in business 20 years it didn’t seem like it. We were well known by those in the business but the general public didn’t have a clue as to who we were, where we were, or what we made. We had even been on “Let’s Make a Deal” and had donated one for a Drawing at a National Disabilities Show in NYC where a rather disheveled man, with no Visitor ID tag, but a boozy odor, gingerly hopped on it, and toothlessly grinned as he drove away through the crowd of disappointed folks who looked like they needed transportation. C’est la vie. We had spent a lot of money pioneering our outdoor scooter.
Many people wanted and/or needed our scooters for mobility, but they could get a smaller one for free from the government. Medicare was becoming our biggest competitor. They were paying for the smaller, indoor scooters, most of which are made in China and shipped here to distributors. They would not pay for an outdoor vehicle made by Americans. But if you look at the small scooter ads, you see the smaller vehicles outdoors. In business you gotta roll with the punches around the obstacle. So we diversified even more. In the 90’s we kept improving the vehicles with more powerful motors, and selling pedal trikes with and without motors. We also sold bare motors. A University bought our motors. They told us of their ideas and JPII answered all their questions, gave a few suggestions and Voila, their Robots became winners in the the highly electric/mechanical Robot competitions where Universities challenge each other. The students were dynamic engineers who will soon be using their knowledge to enhance all our lives. And our little motors helped spin their creativity. We also began to think about changing the electric scooters’ power drive and speed controller. We went through numerous changes, and miles of testing. Here’s where my VIP status comes to fruition. They put me on the scooter to see how “Very Idiot Proof” it is. They give me no instructions except do not make fast turns. I then drive away up hill, down hill, through grass, dirt road, the softest wet earth I can find, over small bridges and over those scarey bridges with little holes in the patterns, down by the creek through the mud. I like to get it stuck. The new motor was more powerful and gave me a jolt when it went over about a 3 ” diameter log, Not recommended but capable if I hung on tight. Lots of changes were necessary but we sent out two prototypes to our high mileage riders. They put them through their paces and by 2001, we were offering an automatic shift, and an electronic speed controlled scooter. It was very quiet. The older scooter had to be shifted . It was easy to do but required Shift Lever in Center of the machine. Now, the rider didn’t have to choose a gear or shift for highest speed. A louder horn was used as pedestrians couldn’t hear the scooters approaching. We continue to stock parts for our outdoor scooters with Shifter. In fact, most of those are still in use and we have parts for all of them.
Our scooters are made to last!
Past my word limit.

Blog # 30

The time was the mid 80’s, we were computerized, but not yet cybernized. Our Single and Double seat scooters were perking along, and with a still fairly limited budget, we grew gradually. Our 1986 Literature mailout included A 4 color Brochure, Order Form, a Palmergram and a sheet containing customers pictures, commendations and complaints.
The brochure was designed, as best I could, to resemble a photo album. It had old, small B & W pictures of our family and larger colored pictures of different views of the the electric scooters we made. Had you requested this catalog over the 40 years we’ve been in business, you would have seen the people in the large color photos becoming the age of the people in the old pictures. We just updated product views and used same folks also updated.
The Palmer Independence scooter in 1986, cost 2100 bucks. The Palmer Twoseater, 2500. There were 26 Optional Accessories one could purchase for them. Today’s costs: PI Independence $5000. PI Twosome $5500. Today’s Optional Accessories number 65. The Order Form listed 2 vehicles in 86, We now sell 23 motorized and non motorized.
The Palmergram was a small 4 page newsletter full of mostly “stuff” we woman like. It came out twice year, had hints and tricks for the one who piloted their scooter, about how to fix minor things, keep it waxed and how to take care of bat†eries if being gone 2 or 3 months. Also what you could purchase locally that would save you shipping cost from us. Each “gram” had a recipe from one of my family. Not me! Am a lousy cook and as Jack says, “Her timer is the smoke detector”. It also contained quotes that seemed to fit the times but offended no one.
At that time, most sales were made by sending literature out to inquiries that read our Ads. Brochures, and newsletter and pictures plus the postage to send them amounted to quite a bit. We stuffed them ourselves and finally got a postage meter that ka-chinged away our money in what seemed nano seconds to me. But it did save time. We answered every inquiry with a mailing and never sold or gave away an inquirers’ name, address or phone number as did many of our competitors. The computer has certainly changed the path of marketing. I know a guy that has never made anything that is useful to society, never went out to work a day in his life, yet makes more money than we ever will selling things on Ebay that he never sees, touches, or mails. He has item drop shipped from supplier to customer. And here’s what makes me the maddest, I can’t figure if I hate his ability to so easily make money or admire him for getting away with it. And what, if anything, is he guilty of? This thinking is very tiring.