Let’s have a meeting. And watch a movie.

In the customer-service industry which, make no mistake, is the business I’m in (one that just happens to be located in the automotive space), I’ve learned this truism.  If you can have a sales and training meeting that goes to the core of what it takes to move the metal, to sell the product, and it’s one in which any customer wouldn’t have a problem or feel uncomfortable sitting in on it, you’re doing it right.  That’s not something you can say about every sales/customer service process training, in any field, retail automotive or otherwise.

I recently went to one such meeting. Of course, it wasn’t anything like this:

Sons of the Desert


It was like this. You can click on the screen grab here, and tell me if a customer would have a problem, or feel uncomfortable, in earshot of these ideas:



Speaking of meet-ups and meetings, one barometer of our nation’s economic mood may be the National Auto Dealers Association meeting.  If so, the annual event finishing up this weekend must mean that things are really great.  Who says?  Why, of course, my favorite contrarian, Peter De Lorenzo, as written January 19, 2015, in Autoextremist.com:

“Oh well, on to NADA where the booze will be flowing and the “hail-fellow-well-met” posturing will be insufferable. It’s a known fact that when business is good, NADA is a party and everybody is glad-handing and backslapping their way through the four days calling each other geniuses and/or best friends, or both. (Well, almost everybody anyway, for the manufacturers and dealers not bathing in the good times it can get contentious and downright u-g-l-y.)

“I don’t mean to throw a wet blanket on the orgy of champagne and canapés out in San Francisco, but it is my duty to remind everyone out there of the giant unseen force in the room, and that is the fact that this business never stays this hot forever. And now, going into the sixth year of rejuvenation and resurrection, we’re a lot closer to another downturn than we are to new records.

“Just a cold, clear thought that deserves mention on this January day.

“But for now, carry on. It’s what this business does best anyway.”

Ouch! So what of this habit we have as social beings to glad-hand and backslap?



Some interesting facts about the Laurel and Hardy classic, “Sons of the Desert,” via Turner Classic Movies:

Sons of the Desert co-star Charley Chase (1893-1940) was a comedy star in his own right. After a brief career in vaudeville, he moved to supporting parts in films starring Charlie Chaplin, Fatty Arbuckle, and others. He joined the Hal Roach Studios as a director until Roach realized what a great comic performer he had on his roster. Between 1924 and 1929 he starred in nearly 200 two-reelers, most of them directed by Leo McCarey, who would later become famous for such acclaimed comedies as Duck Soup (1933) and The Awful Truth(1937). He continued to appear in shorts in the sound era, and directed some of the earliest Three Stooges movies. His death of a heart attack at the age of 46 has been attributed to his alcoholism.

Charley Chase’s younger brother, Jimmy Parrott, was also a comedy actor, gag writer and director. He directed The Music Box and at least 20 other Laurel and Hardy pictures, as well as close to three dozen featuring his brother. Parrott was a drug addict and, like Chase, died of a heart attack at the age 40 in 1939.

Charley Chase and Mae Busch, who plays his sister in Sons of the Desert, appeared in several Keystone comedies for Mack Sennett in the early days of silents.

Sons of the Desert screenwriter Frank Craven is best known for appearing as the pipe-smoking Stage Manager narrator in Thornton Wilder’s Our Town, both on stage and on screen. He also co-authored (with Wilder) the 1940 film adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play.


Sit back and enjoy. Our feature presentation is about to begin (colorized and subtitled in Danish):



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