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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

How To Stay Fit While On The Road

The following is a guest post thanks to Jason Dasher at

It is not always easy to stay in great shape when you have a job that keeps you busy on-the-go, and on the road. This is particularly true when that job is trucking. Truckers often have irregular hours that require the to sit for long hours on end. As such, they can sometimes find it difficult to maintain any sort of routine, in particular, a fitness routine. Still, difficult, is not impossible. With the right resources and tips, maintaining a fitness regime is doable, even when you have a career in trucking. Below are some tips on how you can balance it all.

Four Ways To Stay Fit While On The Road

1. Use available technology One of the best things about today's technological advancements is the kind of access that it brings. No longer do we have to be in a given location to access resources and stay connected. This is true even in the world of exercise and fitness. Thanks to technology, no longer do exercise and fitness lie solely in the domain of the local gym. Instead of going to the gym, one can take the gym to you, or with you. All you need is a simple smart device (such as a tablet, smartphone, or smart watch) and either data service or Wi-Fi connection, and you will have all you need. There is a host of free fitness videos for all levels of fitness and kinds of preferred activities on social networking sites like YouTube. These are free to access and are available at your convenience. Similarly, there are lots of 7-minute and 10-minute workout apps that can be downloaded to your phone and are available without an Internet connection thereafter. This is a perfect solution in instances where Wi-Fi or data service access may be an issue. There are simply no excuses. These workouts are short, effective, and be done more than once in a 24-hour period. In the world of on-the-go fitness, a little bit goes a long way. 2. Travel with portable fitness equipment Portability and effective exercises and workout routines are the name of the game for those in the trucking industry hoping in to stay fit while on the road. As such, truckers can invest in equipment like workout mate, jump ropes, exercise bands, and free weights to take with them while on the road. These equipment are not too difficult to travel with, and make for an effective addition to any workout. Jump rope help you get in some quick cardio, while free weights can help you stay strong and sculpted. 3. Do body weighted exercises a part of pit stops Even the most dedicated drivers in the trucking industry stop to take a break all the time. Body weighted exercises such as push-ups, squats, and jumping jacks during pit stops can help to keep one's resting metabolic rate high while improving circulation. Improved circulation is great considering a trucker is likely to have been seated for an extended period of time. 4. Travel with healthy snacks and water Nutrition is as important as exercising. As such, truckers can opt to travel with healthy snacks that can keep them satiated while on the road (remember, smaller more frequent meals does the body better than a few large ones) so they do not gorge themselves with unhealthy food at the next diner.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

'Cheater' changes mind, changes company

ELD lessons: Switching revealed impact of false logs on rates, driver pay, safety

Article thanks to Kevin Jones and Links provided:

Steve Rush admits it: “I was a cheater.” He cheated on his logs as a driver and, after founding New Jersey-based Carbon Express, he allowed it in his company.
Rush told his story as part of an educational session on how carriers have transitioned to electronic logs, presented this week at the 2016 American Trucking Associations (ATA) Management Conference and Exhibition.
But then around 2008, as Rush explained, his safety director was next in line to be chairman of an industry safety  committee—but said he couldn’t take the position because “it would be a lie.”
And that prompted a reevaluation, both of Rush's own time as a driver and his responsibilities as a fleet owner.
“I gave him my word: From this day forward, we would run legal,” Rush recalled.
He made it clear to the company’s drivers that hours of service compliance was to be taken seriously, but about six months in Rush wasn’t satisfied. Frustrated that the drivers weren’t fully committed, he asked the safety director about e-logs.
The safety director immediately advised him that the company should expect to lose at least half of its drivers—if not all of them.
“And he was probably right,” Rush said. “So we went for almost two years before we finally put them in.”
Then Carbon Express began installing e-logs in 2010, and ran them “side by side” with paper logs for about six months.
“It was the single best thing I’ve ever done for the company, and for myself,” he said. “Do not fear electronic logs. They are good for your people. They are good for you. They are good for the industry and they are good for highway safety.”
Only one driver left—and he came back, Rush added.
The visibility into how the fleet truly operated provided immediate benefits.
“We weren’t charging enough for what we were doing, because we had been cheating,” he said. “And we weren’t paying our drivers enough money, because they, too, were cheating. So that all changed.”
On the customer side, Rush recounted a delivery in which the driver ran out of hours just 50 miles from the receiver. The customer called Rush and told him to send the driver in, and Rush said he couldn’t do it—even if that meant losing his largest account. Simply, he asked if that delivery would be worth someone's dying in a crash.
“I still that have that customer today,” Rush said. “Your customers want you to do this. We also found out that customers who recognize you do this become very loyal. When the mandate hits, and people start to struggle to move freight, you’ll see it.”
More broadly, the use of e-logs has shown how disruptive changing a driver’s schedule can be. Carbon Express runs irregular routes, coast to coast, with the drivers generally starting in the early morning, Monday through Friday. But it became clear that the occasional late-night or weekend load, for which a driver would have to be held back, proved burdensome—and, clearly, the company wasn’t charging enough for those loads. More importantly, driver sleep patterns are disrupted.
“It’s really opened our eyes,” Rush said. “The old guys, they’d start any time, day or night. We now say ‘no’ to freight like that.”
Indeed, the key to a successful transition to e-logs—for both customers and drivers—depends on being able to do a better job of planning deliveries. And a simple but effective change for Carbon Express was to program the system give the driver an earlier alert that his hours were running out.
“An electronic log is not the end-all, do-all, but it’s the first thing we’ve ever had that polices rogue drivers and rogue owners,” Rush said.
“It works all the way around. Drivers are happier and drivers are safer. We run 5 million miles a year, and we’ve had one FMCSA reportable accident in the last four years, and I really attribute it to those electronic logs and speed limiters.”

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Winterizing Your Truck
Article thanks to Jim Sweeney and the RoadPro Family of Brands. Links provided:
There are some lucky OTR truckers whose tires will never touch snow or ice this winter, but for most drivers this is the time of year to get their trucks ready for cold weather.
(And even the drivers who stay down South shouldn’t get too cocky. In recent years, snow and ice storms have hit Arkansas, Tennessee, North Carolina and even Georgia.) Better to prepare for the worst – and do it now before the cold weather hits.
Here’s how to make sure your truck can handle whatever winter puts in its path:
Battery: Cold weather drains batteries fast. Check the age and strength of your battery.
Fuel additives: Every driver knows that diesel fuel can gel in extreme cold, but not everyone knows why. It’s due to paraffin, a hydrocarbon found in diesel. Paraffin crystallizes in freezing temperatures, allowing any water in the fuel to emulsify and turn the diesel to slush. The solution is to use winter blend fuel with a high cetane rating and add anti-gel additives at each fill-up.
Cooling systems: Yes, you have to worry about cooling systems in cold weather. A comprehensive winterization check should include inspections of the radiator, belts and hoses for potential failures. Also, check the coolant to see if it’s at the optimum freeze point.
Fuel filter and water separator: Monitor the truck’s water separator daily and drain it when full to avoid contamination. Replacing old fuel filters also protects the engine.
Air dryer: The air dryer prevents water from entering the brake lines where it can freeze. Make sure it works and change the filter if needed.
Engine block heater: Since diesel engines require a higher cylinder temperature than gasoline vehicles, they are harder to start in the winter. Drivers who travel a lot through the coldest parts of the country should consider an electric engine block heater to use when the truck is parked for long periods of time.
Tire pressure: Cold weather can cause underinflated tires, which wear faster and hurt fuel mileage. Adjust the inflation accordingly.    
Emergency supplies: Breakdowns in the summer are inconvenient; breakdowns in the winter can be dangerous. In addition to the usual emergency supplies, make sure to have cold-weather clothing and footwear, a shovel, flashlight with extra batteries, blankets, first aid kit, flares, radio, anti-gel fuel additive and food and water.
Of course, along with the equipment checks comes a reminder to drive safely in winter conditions.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

My Review - The AeroPress Coffee Maker
A while back I received an email from Constance Adler of Aerobie, Inc. asking if I would be willing to try out their Aeopress Coffee Maker and write a review about it after sending me one. I agreed to give it a try and get back to her. The following is my review:

A few days later I received one in the mail and read through the instructions. It’s basically a manual filtered press, that you can make one to three cups of coffee in about a minute or so. Since I only drink one or maybe two cups of coffee in the morning it’s great for me.

Additionally, the unit comes apart quickly, easily cleans up with a rinse of water and is very portable. It even comes with a tote bag that you can travel with, making it very convenient for people on the go, especially truck drivers.

The first time I used it, the cup of coffee was OK, but a bit weak for my taste. After experimenting with a couple different grinds and measurements of coffee I was able to refine it to my taste and I can now make a cup quickly and easily that tastes the same from one to the next. Every week I put enough regular grind coffee (I’ve been using 8 O’clock medium roast) to last about a week into a grinder and turn it on for just a couple seconds. If you don’t have a grinder, you can use an Espresso grind coffee. I then store in a small tin for the week. I prefer one heaping scoop per cup with the spoon that’s included.

Easy to use, just put a filter in the cap, put cap on the chamber, put in coffee, add water, stir 10 seconds. Insert plunger and push through gently for 20 to 60 seconds into your cup. Everything you need is included, even the measuring scoop and stirrer. All you need is the cup and after it is full, take the press apart, dump the grounds and rinse with water.

The only issue I had was having a source of hot water. You really need to have water between 175 to 185 degrees for a good cup. Tap water is not hot enough for this, so unless you have instant hot water in your kitchen, you can experiment with the microwave or heat water on the stove.

My solution? I use my old 4 cup coffee maker and just run water through it without coffee. It only takes a minute or two while you get the other stuff ready. Only heating enough for a cup or two, I then have a small pot of hot water that I can easily pour into the chamber, works great.

For truck drivers, it travels well in a tote and if you can source hot enough water, you’ll know you will get a great cup of coffee every time. How often have you gotten coffee at a truck stop that was old, burnt and tasted horrible? And, it’s a heck of a lot cheaper than buying it by the cup!

I like this product, once you get the formula down, you’re good to go. Thanks Constance!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

60 Minutes Interview

Since starting this blog in 2012, I have purposely stayed away from publishing political posts. I lean right and know that about half this country leans left. No sense pissing off half your potential readership expounding my views when I know it won't change anyone's beliefs. Lesley and 60 Minutes, not known for being "right wing" and "conservative" asked hard, pointed, but fair questions and Trump responded. Can't we just give a listen? 

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Dickerson, ND's New Cash Cow

Small North Dakota city cracking down on overweight trucks

Article thanks to Tom Quimby and Links provided:

Sept, 2016  There are roughly 25,000 people in Dickinson, N.D. and one of them is a police officer who so far this year has issued $83,000 in fines to overweight trucks.
In May 2015, Officer Tim Jokerst was hired to serve as the city’s only truck regulatory enforcement officer. Truck traffic has picked up in the town, which is located about 300 miles west of Fargo along Interstate 94.
Weight infractions for trucks are mostly issued by state and federal agencies. However, some cities issue tickets of their own. Dickinson city officials point to roads that they say have been damaged by overweight trucks. Fines collected through weight violations issued by the city are used to repair the roads, according to
Jokerst carries portable scales which he uses to weigh the trucks. He looks for signs of heavy loads like misshapen tires, sagging suspension, heavy equipment and slow rolling starts. Overweight trucks are impounded, unless a driver pays for the ticket on the spot.
Construction on a wind farm south of Dickinson has increased truck traffic through the town. Truckers can apply and receive permits to run overweight loads, but they must apply with the state and the City of Dickinson if they plan on traveling through the town. Many truckers overlook the online permit process or apply incorrectly. "aka: Cash Cow!"
Fines can be steep and start at $20 for every 1,000 pounds that a vehicle is overweight. That amount doubles once the load is found to be over 10,000 pounds the legal limit. Trucks that have met certain axle and length requirements can carry up to 105,500 pounds before requiring a permit.
Jokerst views his job as playing an important role in protecting the city.
“The reason that I have a job and that I do this job is to protect the city of Dickinson’s roads and the state of North Dakota’s highways,” Jokerst told “So if it wasn’t for me, we’d have millions and millions of dollars of road damage every year from trucks driving as heavy as they want to, wherever they want to in the city of Dickinson.”

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Milwaukee Leg Breaker

Thanks to Gary Jenkins for the following guest post. Gary is a former Kansas City Police Intelligence Unit Detective. It is a blog piece he put together about Milwaukee's Sally Papia and her plot to burn the Northbrook Inn and harm her former chef. It provides additional information on a post I did in 2012 called "The Milwaukee Queen Bee of Organized Crime". 
Gary has a unique true crime podcast called "Gangland Wire Crime Stories".  Gary and his co-host Aaron Gnirk tell crime stories from Gary's career. He also researches famous Mob investigations and other crimes for content.
Sept, 2016 Gary writes:
I met Gary Magnesen in Las Vegas, he had been assigned to the organized Crime Squad and took part in the investigation of Lefty Rosenthal and Tony Spilotro and the Stardust skim. When I went out to Vegas to interview folks for my film, he cooperated and gave me a great interview. Before I went out, I obtained his book Strawmen in which he tells about his career. I noted a name, Jacob Schlecter and a description 6'6' 250s lbs and a leg breaker mentality. I did a quick check back to a narcotics investigation and surveillance we once did with the DEA and found this was the guy I was thinking of.
To go back, We had a tip and an informant that claimed he could buy weed from a mob guy named Joe Sharpino, who had a tow truck and worked out of a mob associated body shop on Independence Ave. The DEA could find no criminal record on this guy. We checked with the FBI and the Intelligence Unit records and sources and found this guy to be a mystery. The DEA were able to make a few small controlled buys thought the informant. The agent said they would keep offering more money and buying larger quantities and make this guy a big drug dealer. The informant is reporting the guy has some connection with local Italian family, but this family showed no prior organized crime connections, but one of the family members did own this body shop. The guy was an independent tow truck driver who mainly hung around the body shop. The informant was buying more and more weed and laying the groundwork to introduce a female DEA agent in as a big buyer with lots of customers in the suburbs.
We rented a nearby apartment and watched the body shop recording every license number that came and went. No mob guys were showing up. If this was a mob guy, he was not associated with any local mob folks, and if this was his real name, he had no criminal record. The informant would be seen going into the body shop and leaving, then contacting the DEA agent with a story about how Joe Sharpino was going to break somebody's legs that owed the body shop money. I even sent my informant in who was a car repo man. He offered Joe an extra car repossession job that we set up. The guy was suspicious or something because he turned down the job.
After a couple of weeks into this, the informant reported his tow truck driver had a heart attack. He went into St. Luke's hospital for heart surgery. While he was recuperating, the informant relates that he has a Universal Life minister's certificate and the supposedly mob guy wants the informant to marry him and his girlfriend while he is still in the hospital.
After several jokes about how to "wire up" the informant and record the ceremony, we let that go and the informant conducted the ceremony of the target and his new wife. Finally the guy got back to his tow truck and the body shop. The informant makes the introduction to the female agent and she makes her pitch. The guy agrees and claims he can supply 50 pounds of weed. By this time, the DEA has to get the guy identified in order to continue the investigation and put these kinds of resources into it. I ask our Fingerprint Unit supervisor to make personal calls to the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) at the FBI headquarters. We had the guy's drivers license record and it showed no arrests. The fingerprint guy noted the license was issued to him at the 811 Grand, KCMO address, then he changed it to his current address.  He then checked on the guy's name and date of birth at NCIC and mentioned that fact. You see, that was the address of the Federal Courthouse, the FBI, ATF, US Marshalls office. The NCIC contact could not say exactly, but indirectly, we learned our friend was in the witness protection program. The DEA took this to the US Attorney's office who contacted the Witnesses Protection folks at the US Marshalls. After a consultation and looking at our skimpy case, the US Attorney ordered the DEA to Stand Down. The guy disappeared shortly after.  
Which gets me back to the Gary Magnesen book. In that book, he tells a story about one his first cases. His first office was in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. A girl friend of a Chicago Outfit guy named Frank Buccieri moved up from Chicago and opened a nice restaurant called Sally's Steak House on Juneau Ave. She was described as a raven haired firecracker who thought she was the Queen Bee of Milwaukee Organized Crime because of her Chicago relationship. She hired three local mob associates and professional criminals to help run the place. Chicago outfit guys would come into town and eat there and never pay any respect to the Milwaukee mob boss, Frank Balistrieri or Frankie Bal or Fancy Pants. He called her an Outfit wannabe in a fucking skirt. Sally, the mob moll, hired a chef after she paid for his tuition at a good culinary school. He left shortly after to open his own restaurant, the Northridge Inn. She became enraged and hired a local arsonist to burn it down.
On December 29, 1974, Joseph Basile called Jacob Schlechter, an unindicted co-conspirator, instructed Schlechter to set the Northbrook Inn on fire that night. Schlechter did so in the company of his wife, who later contacted the police and began supplying information concerning the ongoing conspiracy. Following the fire, Schlechter went to Basile's home to collect money for his work. Basile gave Schlechter $100 and told him that another $900 would be forthcoming from out of town. Schlechter asked what the fire was all about, and Basile told him that it was ordered because the chef had "screwed over" Sally Papia and because of a "personal grievance" Basile had against this chef.
On New Year's Eve, two days after the fire, Papia ran into the Chef at a local restaurant. Dropping a lighted match into an ashtray, Papia said, "I told you this was going to happen."
In early January, Schlechter asked Basile for the balance of the money due him for setting the fire. Basile deflected the request by advising Schlechter that they were getting pressure from a Frank Balistrieri, who had lost some juke boxes in the Northbrook Inn fire, and that Schlechter should not tell anyone of his involvement in the fire.
On January 7, Russell Enea approached Schlechter in Papia's restaurant and asked him if he knew anything about the fire. Schlechter, complying with Basile's order to keep mum, said that he did not. Three days later, apparently satisfied that Schlechter could be trusted, Enea again approached Schlechter and directed him to break the Chef's  wrists "so he never cooks again." Enea said that "Max" would get in touch with Schlechter to talk about the job. Shortly thereafter, Max Adonnis contacted Schlechter and told him to kidnap the Chef and take him to a garage so that Adonnis and Enea could break his wrists personally. Schlechter and Adonnis then discussed the plan with Herbert Holland, who was to assist in the endeavor. Adonnis explained to Schlechter and Holland that this Chef owed Sally Papia $5,000, that he had "screwed over Sally," and that he wasn't going to get away with it. Adonnis gave Schlechter a slip of paper listing the Chef's address, the make of his car and its license plate number. A week later, Adonnis passed along a photo of the Chef taken in Papia's restaurant on which Papia's handwriting appeared.
During the next couple of weeks, Holland, Schlechter and Adonnis attempted to locate the Chef without success. On January 18, Enea, disturbed by the lack of progress, approached Schlechter and, gesturing with his wrists, inquired what Schlechter was doing about the chef. Schlechter and Holland renewed their efforts to locate the Chef but failed to do so, much to the expressed chagrin of Enea and Adonnis. Finally, Adonnis saw the Chef at a local restaurant and obtained his new address, place of employment and license plate number, which information he passed on to Schlechter with instructions to do the job right away.
After purchasing a baseball bat and two ski masks for use in the battery, Schlechter and Holland went to The Chef's  place of employment in the early morning hours of February 9, 1975. While waiting for him to leave work, the two were confronted by police because the auto in which they were riding matched a description of a stolen car.
The Milwaukee police were going to the Chef's apartment. As they arrived at the guy's apartment, they saw two suspicious men cruising the area. They got them stopped and found two baseball bats in the car, two ski masks, the Chef's photo and his address inside the car. They arrested them for CCW and they spent the night in jail. Gary Magnesun and his partner went to the jail the next morning after being notified that one of the suspects wanted to talk to the FBI. This was Jacob Schlecter who was 6'6 250 lbs with a leg breaker's mentality. He was not as tough as he looked. Schlecter agreed to work with the Bureau and set up Sally and her underlings. Soon, he was out of jail and wearing a wire. He was able to record Sally and her co-conspirators talking about this plot to kill or injure the former chef.
During this time Joseph Basile, the guy who originally ordered the arson, was picked up and taken to Fancy Pants.  He was livid and told the guy that Sally did not have the clout to approve this arson and he should not have done it without checking with Fancy Pants first.
Jacob Schlecter would testify against Sally Papia and her co-conspirators and they would go to jail for the arson and attempted murder of the Chef. Schelcter would be relocated in the Witness Protection program to Kansas City Missouri, until he got into trouble acting like a mobsters and selling a little weed. he was relocated somewhere else.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Should drivers be worried about blood clots?
Important information that all drivers need to be aware of!  Article thanks to Larry and driver "Ken". Links provided:
Sept, 2016  Ask Ken, a Manitoba-based, long-haul trucker who has been driving since 1986, about how blood clots almost killed him and you'll hear the story of many truckers.
Ken (he asked that his real name not be used) said he missed the warning signs, and attributes his being alive to luck. "I missed the signals for DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis, the medical term for blood clots formed most commonly in the legs). I knew that my legs hurt, but I just walked it off and figured, 'Well, I just needed to stretch my legs.'"
Ken recalls that he gradually got out of breath and couldn't figure out why. He made another trip and his breathing problems got worse, but he gritted his teeth and even took on another run. Finally, his breathing became so difficult that he called his dispatcher and said that he had to get home and see his doctor.
When he arrived home, "She kept asking is if had chest pains and I said 'no,' but she and the other doctors kept focusing on that." Finally, when they tested his lungs they found a blood clot, which had formed in his leg, and had now traveled to his lungs forming a pulmonary embolism which can be fatal.
Ken's doctor told him to stay off the road for four weeks and perhaps forever, but after a month of rest and blood thinning medicine, he was allowed back to work. "Okay, I'm going to let you drive," the doctor said, "but you have to wear compression socks and you have to take a blood thinner."
He adds, laughing, "I'm not what you think of as a typical truck driver. I'm not obese or use a CPAP. I'm five-foot ten and 170 pounds. I am very healthy. My blood pressure is 110 over 70 with a heart rate of about 70."
Ken says that he now gets out of his truck every few hundred miles and walks around even though he likes driving his truck so much that he doesn't want to stop. The 52 year-old says he considers himself lucky to be alive and repeats, "I had no idea what was wrong when I couldn't breathe."
Ken's experience highlights what may be a blind spot among drivers and their doctors. While blood clots are well studied and understood in air travelers and pilots who sit for hours in a plane, there is almost no clinical literature on truck drivers despite them being in similar conditions.
For Dr. Jack Ansell, professor of medicine at Hofstra-NorthShore/LIJ School of Medicine, this is surprising. "I think most people are familiar with the increased risk of having a blood clot if they fly very long distances, don’t move around and often maybe have some other risk factors associated with it," he says. "That's been well documented."
For drivers, however, he says that because they represent a smaller universe of patients than flyers, it has not been studied. Their cases are also not as dramatic, and thus may be overlooked by researchers. "In air flights you have people getting off planes and passing out from a pulmonary embolism. These are dramatic events, [in areas with many onlookers] as opposed to a truck driver who eventually develops a blood clot in his leg and goes home and sees his doctor. It just doesn't become noticeable by the medical profession."
Ansell, a hematologist who focuses on clinical problems of blood clots, says that despite not being able to find any significant studies in medical literature, he expects many drivers suffer from blood clots. "There is absolutely no reason to not expect the risk of having a blood clot in the leg to be higher in truck drivers, although I can't cite any evidence or study of that. I would expect that their risk is clearly increased over the average person because they're immobile and have other risk factors.
"When you go on the internet and raise the issue [of blood clots] you can see that there are many responses from truck drivers: 'Oh yes I had a blood clot in my leg,' 'I had this, I had that,' meaning that it's out there, it's just not cataloged well … In the medical literature it's so well documented that immobility and keeping still over long hours is a risk factor and that's an accepted aspect of this disease. You can easily relate that to the long-haul driver's life."
In the United States, there are an estimated one million blood clots diagnosed each year,  according to Randy Fenninger, CEO of the National Blood Clot Alliance, a patient advocacy group. (Ansell is a member of the group's Medical & Scientific Advisory Board.) Of these, about 300,000 become pulmonary embolisms. About 100,000 deaths occur from clots, mostly from these embolisms, says Fenninger. Moreover, about 70% of clots originate in hospitals, due mainly to prolonged immobility and disruption of blood vessels caused by surgeries, leaving about 30% of clots, or 300,000 annually caused by other factors including occupational environments.
How can truckers prevent DVT?
Ansell says: "Try to get up and walk around, get out of your truck for five minutes if you can every hour, every two hours. If you can't, then every three hours. I realize that people don't tend to follow that type of guidance. At a minimum, I think individuals who are driving should exercise their legs at the wheel."
He recommends flexing the foot at the ankle, a movement called 'dorsiflexing.' "Dorsiflexing means going up and down with the foot and that tends to pump the muscle such that it moves blood around. Squeezing the calf muscle – not squeezing with your hand – but contracting the calf muscles or bending the leg at the knee back-and-forth while you're driving is beneficial. Sitting still, particularly in a cramped position is the worst. Move your legs around, get the muscle pumped."
Ansell says that although it has not been clinically studied in drivers, wearing graduated compression stockings – which can be bought in drugstores – may be helpful as they compress the muscles. "They have been shown to reduce blood clots in those who fly long distances."
He concludes: "This is a field that probably should be looked at with some type of survey to really understand it better."

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

How Salespeople Stereotype New Car Buyers
Interesting article thanks to Bozi Tatarevic and Links provided:

Sept, 2016  The r/askcarsales subreddit is a great source of information about car buying and the inner workings of dealerships. Flaired users are verified to be actual salespeople, which makes for highly qualified car buying advice. They’ve helped a great number of people save money and help calm the adversarial nature of the buyer-seller relationship.

Buying a car is a big decision. We all like to think that we are unique in the choices we make and how we go about negotiating a sale, but buyer stereotypes do exist. When one subreddit user posted a question about typical buyers for each brand, many of the salespeople jumped in to offer their opinion on the type of buyer that shops each brand. Some of the opinions might cross into racial profiling territory, but many are just hard truths about the customer base each brand has built up.

The first portion of the discussion focuses on cultural stereotypes and how each type of buyer negotiates. One verified salesperson mentions that Indian people like to negotiate, stating that “Indians will beat you to death.” He adds that he doesn’t take Indian customers, claiming that the negotiations take hours. This almost certainly constitutes racial profiling, and while it isn’t as brash as the incident where an Indian man was accused of trying to buy a vehicle for the Taliban, it could very easily get the salesperson and the dealer in trouble.
Cultural stereotypes and profiling continues throughout the thread. It is mentioned that Mexican buyers tend to skip over talking about the payment and negotiate instead on the total purchase price. (This method is actually the smartest way to go about purchasing a car, as it allows you to see the whole picture and not get caught up in four square type games.)

This second poster also mentions that Indian buyers tend to be hard negotiators but takes a lighter approach, mentioning they are likely to bring friends to spectate the negotiation. On the religious front, the poster states that some Muslim buyers are against paying interest but wants them to explain how they hold credit cards and home loans. Another user chimes in and states that some of his Muslim buyers do pay all of the interest up front in order to match their beliefs, but also states that many use their religion as a negotiation tool.
More salespeople then offer their own personal anecdotes, stating that certain cultures do negotiate harder than others and that their tactics are easy to identify. They mention the frequent statement of “What is the last price?”, which I have often heard from my own countrymen. (They may not be too far off on that front.)

The posts take on a less cultural note as they move on to SUV and minivan buyers, stating that many buyers are afraid to buy a minivan because they don’t want the “soccer mom” image. So, they end up in a less functional minivan that vaguely resembles an SUV. One poster states that men are often the ones who push for the minivan, since they can see the function and practicality of it.
When the thread dips into specific brands, Subaru buyers are at the top of the list. One of the first Subaru-friendly groups mentioned is engineers. A couple of the posters state that it isn’t hard to spot the engineers, as they often show up with a clipboard and tape measure to look at the vehicles on the lot. Environmentalists and astrologists are also big Subaru shoppers, as salespeople have experienced everything from do-it-yourself solar panels on Foresters to buyers who refuse to complete a purchase because Mercury was retrograde.
One user does mention that Subaru knows their buyers and has an official factory method with which to signal your sexual orientation (along with your occupation and favorite outdoor activities). A set of badges is available from their Badge of Ownership website.

The last part of the discussion centers on negotiation and states that potential Subaru buyers are likely to contact every dealer within 1,000 miles in order to save $500. As a Subaru owner, this is about the only stereotype that fits me — I contacted dealers as far as 1,500 miles away, which ultimately helped me save about $2,000 on the purchase of my WRX. The rest of the stereotypes fit somewhat with mainstream opinion — that teachers, engineers, and driving instructors who enjoy outdoor activities are also common Subaru buyers.
The Ford Mustang GT gets a mention as being a magnet for 18-year-olds with no credit and part time jobs (or carry provisional licenses). The Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution is mentioned in the same breath as being attractive to the teenage crowd. Mustangs are mentioned again further down the thread: many salespeople say they are aware of foreign students who come in with no social security number and are likely to pay full MSRP (as they plan to export them to China or other markets lacking that model or trim).

The board’s Porsche guru chimed in with a fairly detailed breakdown of the buyers he sees at his store. Surprisingly, he states that about 40 percent of Porsche buyers are enthusiasts who want one of the best-driving cars on the planet, and buy the car solely to enjoy it, be it on the occasional track day or a nice Sunday drive. Another 40 percent are there just for the status —their main concern is with the car’s badge and the prestige that comes with it. The remainder are on opposite ends of the spectrum, with 10 percent going to true motorsport drivers (who likely hold a racing license and strip out and cage the cars as soon as they leave the dealer) and the other 10 percent being investors who buy rare models to flip or export to other countries.

One Fiesta owner then chimes in and states that he owns a Lime Squeeze Fiesta sedan, asking the dealers to stereotype him. One of the dealers correctly guesses that he is fresh out of college and a first time buyer, while another takes a stab at his lifestyle and states that he probably owns a musical instrument, voted Obama, has a dog, and had probably smoked hookah in the last six months. TTAC’s own Fiesta owners fall into at least one of those categories, but I’ll leave you to guess who matches up where.
Another user pops into the thread with a seemingly random list of cars that includes a Focus wagon, Subaru Forester, Fiat 500, and a Honda Fit. One responder is able to correctly guess that she like small cars with good handling, a small turning radius, and fuel efficiency, that she lives in a big city with limited parking, has a small pet, and enjoys the outdoors and cycling. The only misses are the gender and the possibility of working in food service.
An owner of various Isuzu and Geo products, along with a few domestic trucks and a Fiesta ST, asks the salespeople to stereotype him as well. The responders guess that the inquirer likely owns a shirt with no sleeves and is a fireworks enthusiast who has at least one car on blocks in their driveway. The inquirer confirms that they do have a car on blocks, but it’s sitting in their garage, not the driveway.

Finally, the discussion turns to the Hyundai Veloster. While some may see it as an attempt to tap the youth market, many of the salespeople claim that it belongs to a weird niche that attracts buyers in their 40s that enjoy Hawaiian shirts and are looking spice up their commute. A couple of people chime in and state that they have seen such buyers — their workmates and family — stating that it helps them cling to their last ounce of youth.
Whether you see these statements as racial profiling or hard truths about how the car marketplace works, it appears that quite often we are not the unique snowflakes we believe ourselves to be when buying a car. Our cultures and communities often dictate how we approach a car-buying transaction, while marketing campaigns often push us to select vehicles that fit our lifestyle.