As a pre-teen growing up, my mother worked at the courthouse, and I was “baby sat'” by my grandmother when I was not in school. My granny, Johnnie Bogie Rumbley, was the consummate babysitter. She was a small, white headed, squatty body that kept the weight off running after this toe-headed rascal in the suburbs of Paris, Tenn.
As Bogie (that’s what everyone called her) aged, my mother made sure she had regular checkups. Good cheap babysitters were hard to come by in 1959. Bogie was also getting a tad “hard of hearing” as they said back then. Let me digress for a sentence or two. My grandmother was named Bogie and I also had an Uncle Ace and a great-grandmother named Minnie and another grandmother named Parlee. I have no idea what provoked naming them as babies these odd names, but it cries out as a defect in the DNA as a rogue chromosome somewhere in the naming ability helix position. Bogie and Minnie were also closet snuff dippers. They didn’t want us kids to know, but the tell-tale stain of ambeer every now and then gave them away. Levi Garret Sweet Snuff in a jar was the “baccy” of choice. We were “country.”
Anyway, back to the lesson; after about 6 weeks after one wellness checkup I noticed Bogie's snow-white hair was turning orange. I pointed the fact out to Mom and she confronted her as to what was happening. Bogie had no clue and had actually not noticed the new mod hairdo that would have been applauded today as a granny statement. Yup, from the roots and out for about an inch the hair was Allis-Chalmers orange. Mother sat her down and just could not figure out why. Bogie, almost in tears, said she was doing everything the doctor said. Mother just happened to open the icebox the next day and was shocked as it was full of CARROT JUICE!
“Mother,” she said, “why?” Bogie said, “Well the doctor said it was going to be tough and ruff but I had to eat carrot juice.” I have never seen mom laugh so hard. When she could talk, she said, “Bogie, the doctor said you have to give up the sweet tea and fried foods, and I know this is tough, but you have to eat more eat more roughages like carrots and juices — not to “eat carrot juice.”
The next trip was for hearing aids. After we gave away a fridge full of carrot juice the carotene in the bloodstream subsided and her hair roots became white again. Now she had white/orange/white strands of hair. She wore a hat and scarf to the Methodist church for months and sat in the back row.
What does this have to do with running a dealership? Well, sometimes WE do not listen. We don't listen to our customers, our employees, our suppliers, our bankers and, most importantly, to ourselves. We have to be keen listeners to let the words go in one ear and not out the other. The noise has to be deciphered and determined as to what we are doing right and more importantly, what is wrong. It will be in the speech if we really listen.
I just received a phone call and was told “not to say anything but keep your ear to the ground” about a certain event. What was meant was listen closely and learn. Listen more, talk less is a goal I (and most of you fellow dealers) struggle with. It has been said one learns nothing by talking but everything by listening. This should have been on the New Year’s resolutions, eh? We will sneak this one in .
Until next time, wishing you miles of smiles and profits and an early spring.
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.