Triptych

I see where General Motors is getting Microsoft’s departing CFO to take a similar slot at the troubled automaker (sure sign I was in the news business — the use of a hackneyed phrase like “troubled automaker” — if everybody already knows about GM’s problems, then the qualifier is a bit redundant).

Help on the way?

GM & Competition?

While I certainly don’t want to see the company fail, I wonder how they determine who the best people are to rebuild the joint. I mean, this appointment was announced by the company’s interim CEO, who took over for the guy who was there for 6 months after taking over for the guy forced out by the Feds. I’m not questioning Microsoft’s ability to make money — but will GM products take on aspects of what comes out of Microsoft? Updates that don’t work, versions that lock up and crash at any time? Products constantly shown up by nimbler and hipper organizations? Wait — that’s pretty much the deal now.

At least there’s a Memphis connection.  GM’s incoming CFO, Chris Liddell, held that job at International Paper before going to Microsoft in 2005. IP is headquartered here, so I assume that Mr. Liddell lived here at one time.

Sitting & Waiting (no more?)

Let My People Go!

I also see where the Feds want to keep airlines from leaving the paying customers sitting in a cramped plane for hours when something has delayed a flight. I was going from Atlanta to Syracuse a few years ago, and we had to sit for 4 hours because a winter storm hit the ATL. Seems one of the airport’s deicing systems was broken, so one had to cover every departing plane. I slept through most of the delay, so it didn’t completely suck. However, just a few weeks ago, I was shuffled off a plane in Columbus because of a technical problem. It was a situation where they couldn’t even turn on the ventilation system while we sat. It got pretty uncomfortable in the 20 minutes we did wait… I would have tunneled through the bottom of the plane with a plastic spoon if they had made us wait like they’ve done with some delayed flights.

Nice how the Air Transport Association, the trade group for airlines is already complaining, saying the new rules are going to cause more problems than they solve. Is there just no interest in customer service at all? Even if the business is more interested in protecting itself from hassle, at least try not to be that obvious about it.

One More Switch

Can't Keep It

Okay, I’ve been by Enterprise Rent-a-Car one more time for one more car. The only office open when I got back into town last week was the airport branch. But, little did I know, there’s an airport tax on rental cars that doesn’t get charged at other offices. Because of that, my insurance company asked that I take back the Ford Focus I picked up and switch it for anything else.

Another Biggun

You know you’ve been at car rental counter too much when the woman working there recognizes you. By name. The upside was that the manager at the airport branch did tell me that I could drop the car off anywhere, I just hadn’t expected that it would be in a day and a half. Just as I was getting used to the Focus, which is close to the size of my Celica (which might be out of the repair shop by New Year’s after $4,000 in repairs – keep your fingers crossed!), I ended up leaving the Enterprise on Union in a Chrysler 300. It’s not quite as big as the Buick SUV, but it’s pretty big. No heated seats, Bluetooth or remote start like the Buick, but it does have satellite radio and an aux plug for my iPod. I just want to get back into my own car.

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About Doug Johnson

I spent 25 years in the news business, working in print, radio and television. After a steady rise to the middle, I made the leap to the private sector, which chewed and then tried spitting me out after 2 years. I zigged (instead of zagging) into a position in television production.
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