Wednesday, January 27, 2010

This article makes me want to slap Ed Whitacre broadside across the face (and a few others, too)...

Defending Their Dealerships

Mark Calisi says he believes he lost his Chrysler-Jeep dealership on Long Island because he irritated a company executive.

“This was just a vendetta,” said Mark Calisi, who owns Eagle Auto Mall on Long Island.

Yale King was told that his Jeep and Buick-Pontiac-GMC stores near Denver were no longer wanted, even though he regularly doubled the carmakers’ sales goals.

James Painter and his 10 children cannot understand why Chrysler eliminated the two Utah dealerships they ran successfully for decades, particularly since the company allowed their immediate neighbor to open a new Chrysler dealership this month.

They are among the hundreds of dealers from all corners of the United States fighting to get back their businesses — and in many cases their good names, tarnished by implications of poor performance — through an arbitration process that will begin next week.

Chrysler and General Motors cut loose more than 2,000 dealers last year as part of their bankruptcy reorganization, but Congress is now forcing them to justify the closures after hearing so many stories of devastated families and communities.

G.M.’s top executive, Edward E. Whitacre Jr., recently said he expected “hundreds” of G.M. dealers to be reinstated.

“They’ve taken everything we own,” said Patrick Painter, one of James Painter’s sons. All three of the family’s dealerships — the Chrysler store that three generations ran for 65 years, the Chevrolet-Buick store nearby and the Chrysler store that James Painter opened 200 miles away at Chrysler’s request, spending two years away from his family to do so — were terminated over the course of two days last May, despite being profitable and debt-free.

“My mom and dad want their honor back as much as anything,” Patrick Painter said. “It’s the ultimate showing of disloyalty, after all the years we’ve been loyal to them, to take our stores.”

As of Friday afternoon, 915 dealers had filed to contest their termination, according to an executive with the American Arbitration Association, which is overseeing the review process. More than 400 were filed since Thursday and more were expected before the deadline of midnight Monday.

Leonard Bellavia, a lawyer in Mineola, N.Y., who represents about 40 dealers who have filed for arbitration, said each dealer could expect to spend at least $30,000 challenging the companies’ decisions unless a settlement was reached before arbitration. The process must finish by mid-June.

Those who lose will be out even more money and will have no further chance to appeal; winners can rejoin a company that didn’t want them any longer.

G.M. terminated about 1,300 dealers, most of which are still open because they were given until next October to wind down operations. An additional 700 dealers lost the rights to sell one or more brands but remain with G.M.

Many have been encouraged by Mr. Whitacre’s recent comments suggesting that the company might have been too aggressive in cutting dealerships and probably made some mistakes in its selections.

Chrysler, though, has taken a much harder line, insisting that large numbers of reinstatements could throw its recovery off track and hurt current dealers.

Chrysler eliminated 789 dealers, about a quarter of its network, and forced them to close last June on about four weeks’ notice. Because the cuts were made in bankruptcy, Chrysler avoided having to compensate those dealers for the franchises they lost, whereas G.M. agreed to pay an average of more than $400,000 to each dealer.

Chrysler’s chief executive, Sergio Marchionne, who was not involved in the company when the cuts were made, nonetheless defended them this month during a speech to an industry conference.

“The decision that we made, I think it was made with diligence, it was made equitably, and I think it was done fairly,” Mr. Marchionne said. “What I cannot do is unwind the last seven months of history, during which Chrysler went on and started rebuilding a distribution network on the assumption that the ruling of the bankruptcy judge was final.”

He added, “My conscience is clear.”

But former dealers hope to show arbitrators that the decisions were anything but fair. Letters that Congress required the carmakers to send dealers this month explaining the criteria used to select them have fueled claims that Chrysler was more subjective, because it provided less specific information than G.M. offered.


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Hmmm... anyone ready for bed?

I simply cannot begin to express how much I loveLoveLOVE this picture... I did what I could with it, but it's still a shame I only had the iPhone camera handy. Regardless, this shot pretty much sums up our lives... and I wouldn't trade it for anything!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

R.I.P. 2009 (Better Late Than Never)

Just to name a few:

• Patrick Swayze
• Michael Jackson
• Bea Arthur
• Farrah Fawcett
• Walter Conkrite
• Sen. Ted Kennedy
• Steve McNair
• Natasha Richardson
• Ed McMahon
• Brittany Murphy
• Dom DeLuise
• Jett Travolta
• David Carradine


Thursday, January 14, 2010

An important message from our President regarding HEALTH CARE and YOU...


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

people can be so pleasant...

Me: "Hello, {Company Name}, may I help you?"
Bitch: "Someone called me from there."
Me: "Okay, have you been talking to anyone in Sales or Service?"
Bitch: [disgustedly] "Umm, NO."
Me: "Well, then I don't know, maybe it was a misdial."
Bitch: [even more disgustedly] "You don't make outgoing calls?"
Me: "I do, but so do the other 30 people who work here and I didn't call you."
Bitch: "Ugh. What-ever." Click.


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Mattie's "Deborah Harry" Phase...

Album cover-worthy posing, or just long overdue for a good haircut? Sadly, better go with the latter. And good heavens, a teeth-cleaning is IMPERATIVE!!! Peee-yewwwww! I mean, it's bad.
Bless her sweet little heart.


Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Ummm, Brrrrr???

I'm sorry, but I was under the impression that I lived in Mississippi, not on the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field...

Doesn't Mother Nature know that Mississippians freak out completely when cold weather -- or God forbid, SNOW -- hits us? Stores shut down, pipes burst, cars drive into ditches, schools let out early... we cannot handle it.

And lastly, why can't this ever happen DURING Christmas!?


Monday, January 04, 2010

Julio, All Cuddled Up...

Julio, All Cuddled Up...
Originally uploaded by kelly-bell
For a dog who shivers in the 100-degree Mississippi summers, winter can be rough!

He recently went to the vet (weighed in under 3.5 lbs.) and turns out he has arthritis, mostly In his spine, and he was hurting all the time. Now he's on pain pills and Mom says he's been a totally different dog -- jumping, playing, bouncing & eating like a pig.

My step-brother, the pillhead.