The past few weeks have not been confidence builders when it comes to trusting our government's handling of 'unidentified objects'.  

First of all we see a picture of a 3 school bus size object on social media (our VP laughingly loves school busses — maybe the reason for the scale illustration). Then the pentagon acknowledged the presence, the President said 'shoot it down,'  the generals said 'no' to the commander-in-chief and then finally blew it to smithereens over the Atlantic: $400,000 + to bring down a balloon. Then we will spend a million more to bring it up — if we ever do. 

Then, more UFO balloons appear, and now we remove the thing that goes boom in the nose of the nearly $500,000 dollar sidewinder missiles, and we fire them off bringing down all these elusive slow-moving buggars. As some of our customers said, "By gawd, we showed them." Or did we?

Many quiet rumblings are suggesting we may have just shot down some of our own weather research assets... Feeling better? A good comedy writer could not make up stuff this good — if only it were not so serious.

Looking inward, do we have 'surveillance balloons' flying over our dealerships unawares? In today's social media, you bet we do. How we treat our customers, provide service and meet the public is reflected in posts and satisfaction surveys all the time. How we handle complaints are now not only between that customer and our dealerships.

Just last week we were called to the phone to talk to a customer who returned a part and had not received credit. After listening to all sides, it was determined we had shipped a part not available anymore to a customer, states away, who furnished us the part number, who received the part, determined it needed to be machined to fit, found it still would not work, then returned it, now unusable, in an unmarked box with no paperwork.

After getting an ear full for several minutes I was about to read the riot act in response to a request for a full refund, plus freight, when I bit the lip, and thought: "What will $75 that I do not credit this 'customer' cost us? If this lead balloon jerk hits the internet with the same incompetence ..."

So I stated we would not argue about the matter — just give me the credit card number to credit. He didn't have one. He had used his neighbor's, and she was gone for a few days... grrrrr — if I only had a sidewinder to light off — with a warhead attached. Anyway...

We have to keep our eyes and ears open — our safeties set to "safe" — and be aware of the cost of shooting down identified or unidentified objects or issues. 'Til next time... practice safe balloon hunting...

Told from the perspective of an in-the-trenches owner/operator — Tim Brannon of B&G Equipment, Paris, Tenn. —  Equipment Dealer Tips, Tales & Takeaways shares knowledge, experiences and tips/lessons with fellow rural equipment dealerships throughout North America. Covering all aspects required of an equipment dealership general manager, Brannon will inform, entertain and provide a teachable moment for current — and future — leaders within equipment dealerships.



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