Are There Too Many Options?

America was founded on the premise that her citizens should have options, and not only options but, the freedom to choose among them. The founding fathers were primarily concerned with religion and politics but, the idea pretty much sums up the free market system, as well.

Which is exactly the problem. Sometimes there’s just too much to choose from.

While grocery shopping the other day I spent 20 minutes in the toothpaste aisle. It’s not that there are too many brands to choose from, it’s that each brand has an entire array of products.

There’s toothpaste to whiten, freshen, and protect; to ward off sensitivity, plaque and gingivitis; to battle germs, prevent bacteria and strengthen enamel. There’s regular, there’s gel, there’s some swirly combination of both. And then there are the flavors: Cinnamon, mint, citrus breeze, root beer, licorice, and, for those rare diehard carnivores, pork. There’s even one the brains at MIT allege can forecast the weather (I kid you not: http://www.geeky-gadgets.com/mit-media-labs-build-weather-forecasting-toothpaste%E2%80%94with-flavors-5-1-2010/). Is it any wonder my brain short circuits if I even consider moving past “Regular Tooth Paste”?

But the real question is, why do I find it so annoying to wade through the broad selection of toothpaste but on the other spectrum, excessively liberating to have just as many, if not more, choices when buying a car?

The view from my office in the Butler Acura showroom includes any number of Fords, Acuras, Hyundais and Kias, one super clean Mini-Cooper, a Dodge Ram and a handful of Ford F-150s (to see what I see visit: www.butlerman.com.) They are new and previously loved, sedans and hatchbacks, trucks, crossovers and SUVs. They represent a host of options, colors, and possibilities. I love having the ability to see each and every one of them and, unless they’ve been sold by the time I get around to them, I plan to test drive them all. I’m looking forward to it.

So far, my “research” has put me behind the wheel of an Acura MDX, Acura RDX, Ford F-150 King Ranch, and a sweet 2011 Ford Mustang. This weekend, I drove one of Butler’s new powerful 2011 F-150 Lariats, you know, just to get a feel for the latest class of Ford trucks. In seeing my temporary ride, and knowing me the way she does, my mom smiled and nodded. “You have a good job,” she said.

So, I guess it comes down to passion. Obviously, someone (at Crest, Colgate and, apparently, MIT) is in love with toothpaste. For that person, the more toothpaste options, the better… even if he’s still driving the same car he’s had since high school. I, on the other hand will revel in every new car and truck that rolls onto our lot, while continuing to stick to Regular Crest. In doing so, both us are confirming our right to choose, upholding our freedom of choice. Being American.

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Best, Worst, and Weirdest Car Names Ever

 

The infamous Chevy Nova

Remember the story about Chevy and the Nova? The auto maker’s efforts to market the car in Latin America failed spectacularly . Turns out “no va” in Spanish means “it doesn’t go”, and nobody wants a car that doesn’t go!

The story is usually cited to illustrate the difficulties in translation when it comes to naming vehicles. But I’m not concerned with what American model names may mean in other languages so much as in what they mean – or don’t mean – in America.

Here’s a pretty comprehensive list of the best, worst and weirdest car names: http://www.forbes.com/2004/07/12/cx_dl_0712feat.html. But there must be others out there… can you think of any?

Are You Right-Brained or Left-Brained?

A friend of mine recently bought a sports car. He knew he wanted a used car, and he knew he wanted luxury and performance. But that’s all he knew when he went into the process; he had no brand loyalty or, even brand preference. He researched. He test drove. He compared numbers, and not just the ones having to do with price.

Ultimately, the car he ended up buying was the one he’d originally dismissed for fear it would be too expensive. While he’s over the moon with his purchase he’ll also tell you his choice made sense. It was driven by reason.

What impressed me about his process was that it was so methodical, so logical, so left-brained. I have never gone about buying a car like that. In my world, a certain budget must be adhered to and… that’s about it. For me, the decision is all emotional. I either love it or I don’t and the rest is not up for discussion.

That attitude is shifting in that the desire to be more environmentally friendly is coming into play, as are considerations like fuel economy and seating capacity. Daisy Dog and I don’t take up too much space or cover a tremendous number of miles so, the latter two are still flexible. But even if they weren’t, I just can’t see myself, unless it were absolutely necessary, buying a vehicle that didn’t bring me joy. I need to love the feeling of driving it. I need to appreciate its lines. I need to adore, yes, even the color (See “Silver” blog: http://butlerautogroup.wordpress.com/2010/12/23/9/). It’s not completely irrational… but it’s close. My process is driven by the right-side of my brain.

Which side governs yours?

Get to Know Paul Welch, Butler Kia’s Service Manager

Paul was born and raised in Los Angeles but he sure seems more like a Southern Oregon kinda guy. After moving to Oregon in 1978, he spent 13 years as a mill worker in Klamath Falls, then transitioned to Boise Cascade until the Medford mill was destroyed by fire in 1996.

Paul credits his car smarts to growing up 14-miles outside of town… he says back then, if you wanted your car to run, you learned how to fix it. He still builds and races hot rods, including a vintage ’66 Ford Coupe, and shares that hobby with his son. Paul and his wife Judy, who’ve been together since sophomore year of high school, also have a daughter. Altogether, they make quite the group: Paul’s one of 6 kids; Judy’s one of 9!

Get to Know Curtis Hancock, Butler Service Manager

Curtis has literally spent half his life at Butler Automotive Group. Born and raised in Ashland, he played Center and Middle Linebacker at Ashland High School (he says his team saw just 3 losses in 3 years). Shortly after graduating Curtis started washing cars for Butler. A couple years later, he joined the Army National Guard, service that allowed him the freedom to continue his employment. Along the way, Curtis married Jennifer, a neo-natal intensive care unit nurse. Together they’re raising five kids! Curtis describes his clan as a “boating family” and says they love spending time on their houseboat at Lake Shasta. He also adores coaching Ashland Pop Warner football, and being an officer with the Ashland Football Club. And, as if that weren’t enough to keep him busy, he and Jen recently took up ballroom dancing. His favorite dance is Tango.