Eternal Optimist
Apologies to The Raven

One thing auto recyclers have in common is the ability to overcome adversity and look forward to the future. We have proven it by surviving wars, recessions, depressions, terrorist attacks, tax audits, and any other horror that can be put upon us by friends or enemies.

We are the ultimate optimists, we pay in full for inventory before we take possession of it, we assume we will receive it in the same condition we purchased it and we hope that we will make a substantial enough profit to cover our investment in a reasonable length of time. We buy our raw product on an "as is, where is" basis and fully warranty every piece and part of this product when we had no influence on the design, manufacture or serviceability of any of these parts. And the best part of the formula is that we base our buying decisions on past history of sales and requests! We can't set the trends, only follow them. Talk about optimism!

We invest in "old technology" tools and equipment and hope that we will be able to service our customer's needs on their "next generation" vehicles. We work with year old (or older) information technology and hope that it carries over accurately to current needs.

We steal each other's employees in the hope that they will take less time to train and become productive rather than hiring someone from outside our industry. We assume that they will be more loyal to us than they were to their former employer. We use a parts locating system to price our inventory in the hope that the first person who set the price is much smarter than we are and knows better what our product is worth.

We watch as business slows down, markets dry up, profits go down and costs go up, but still we are optimistic. We know that 'things are going to turn around soon'. Are we optimistic or insane? I am told that the definition of insanity is to repeatedly do the same thing over and over and expect a different result. We all have to take a good hard look in the mirror and ask, "Am I an optimist, a realist or just plain nuts?"

No matter what your answer may be, if you are going to continue in our exciting and challenging industry you must be better prepared and better armed. Now is the time to get our wagons in a circle, put our ducks in a row and make reservations for the ARA Convention and Trade Show. This is where you will meet fellow optimists from all over the world who are doing things differently and achieving different results. This is where optimistic vendors can present truly new and next generation products you will need to move ahead, (remember the old business adage, move ahead, fall behind or die). This is where we all come together to hear of the past, improve the present and prepare for the future.

The cost is manageable, the time away can be repaid in the nights and weekends you will work before and after the convention, the knowledge you gain will impress your friends and scare your enemies and best of all it will restore your confidence and bolster your optimism.

Gary Wiesner is co-owner of Pro-Auto Recyclers, Williamstown, New Jersey

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