Monday, January 12, 2009

An Update on Kansans and Their Chryslers

About two weeks ago, I posted an article from Time magazine that discussed Overland Park Jeep/Dodge, a Chrysler store here in Kansas City. The thesis of the article was that things were not so bad in Kansas City - and that OP Jeep would be able to weather the storm.

It intrigued me that Time would seek this dealership out - so I contacted the owner of the dealership. (I know...I am really letting this whole journalist thing go to my head! Just call me Cub Reporter Hancock.) The owner, Frank Thompson, was portrayed in a positive light in the article. It mentioned that Mr. Thompson placed his entire commissioned sales force on salary as the downturn started to make sure his people could survive this nasty bump in the life cycle of the industry.

Mr. Thompson revealed that he had won an award from Time back in the early 90's and that they called him in October to check in and find out how his dealership was doing. He mentioned that the reporter was really trying to find and report on bad news. Thompson said he would only cooperate with the story if the reporter promised to tell the truth - that the market was still functioning and that the end of days was not upon his suburban Kansas City dealership.

The scientific method tells us that we should create a hypothesis and then test that hypothesis against our experiences in the world. And I suppose that (in this case) the staff of Time magazine did just that - create a hypothesis and test it against observations in the real world. But the journalists at Time also met a businessman with the steadfastness to confidently say "Look twice."

And thank goodness for that.

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