Opinion

The road ahead…

While it’s hard to believe 2013 is already behind is, we are very excited about the RV industry and its continued positive momentum for 2014. And, judging

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RV industry blows past Curtin’s prediction, or did it?

(Jan. 28, 2014) — We should be excited that an esteemed academic got his numbers wrong — or did he?

On March 8 of last year, the RV Industry Association submitted a press release in which its long-time researcher, Dr. Richard Curtin, with the University of Michigan, predicted that total RV shipments would rise to 307,300 units by year’s end, an increase of 7.5 percent over 2012.

A report issued yesterday showed the RV industry blew past Curtin’s early prediction by an astonishing 14,000 units — a 12.4 percent increase over 2012’s totals.

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What’s the point of a 32,198-word service agreement?

(Jan. 24, 2014) — It doesn’t matter if people bank at BBVA Compass, Capital One or Wells Fargo, common sense is no longer a part of the banking equation, and personal service is being replaced by mind-numb robots controlled by bean counters who can’t see past the bottom line of a profit and loss report.

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Who is cuter – Baby Marcus or the Gerber baby?

(Jan. 23, 2014) — CNBC posted this picture of Marcus Lemonis on The Profit’s Facebook page today with the caption, “It’s The Profit Throwback Thursday time, a young Marcus Lemonis crawling his way to becoming the business turnaround king.” I’m envious of the hair.

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Yippee! I get to pay unemployment tax!

(Jan. 23, 2014) — I found out today that I, as the owner and only employee of RV Daily Report, must pay unemployment tax to the State of Arizona every month. So, every month going forward, I must hand over 2 percent of my wages to the state, which will be used to pay unemployment benefits should I ever lay myself off or fire myself.

There is a benefit to all this nonsense though. The tax agent at the Arizona Department of “Economic Security” did tell me that I could lay myself off for a couple of weeks in December and collect unemployment benefits. But, she cautioned that my tax rate might rise the next year should I have any claims.

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Why don’t RV shows offer pet sitting?

(Jan. 21, 2014) — Participating RV dealers really need families to stick around and walk through the displays, don’t they? Shows offer food so that hungry shoppers aren’t tempted to leave. What other value-added services could an RV show provide to keep families on the show floor?

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We’re letting down our entrepreneurial students

(Jan. 13, 2014) — According to the survey, 17 percent of all middle school and high school students say they work at least one hour weekly. With little exposure to the workforce, few youth have any experience at all in the workforce or that would help them build a business later in their lives, Gallup noted.

In other words, less than one in six high school students works more than one hour a week for a business. While the other 83 percent may be engaged in some sort of altruistic volunteer work experience, I suspect most are sitting at home in front of some sort of video screen allowing their minds to be entertained.

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Should online commenters remain anonymous?

(Jan. 9, 2014) — Should people be required to reveal their names to post an online review? I would argue they should not, and here is why. There are some business owners who are just unreasonable SOBs. They could care less about their customers and about providing reasonable service or quality products. They are the type of people who would use their brother-in-law attorney or some other friend to harass and sue an individual for libel for posting a negative review of the business.

But, business owners would probably argue that they can’t fix a problem if they don’t know who the customer is, and that is true. It’s also true that despite trying as hard as they can to make someone happy, there are customers who are unreasonable SOBs as well. Is it fair to the business that these people have free reign to trash a company’s reputation by standing behind a wall of anonymity? No, that’s not fair either.

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Social media is leaving RV industry in the dust

(Jan. 6, 2014) — When it comes to social media and online engagement, much of what the RV industry does today is garbage. It’s irrelevant, unnecessary and actually annoying people. They are tuning out what companies often put out for consumption.

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Oregon court ruling may pose problems for campgrounds

(Dec. 31, 2013) — “€œHis truck was there, his tent was there, and for a week that was going to be his residence,”€ said Wolf’s attorney. “His kitchen was outside over the fire. He would have a folding chair. That would have been his living room. So I would suggest that the entire camp space, not the campground, but that space that he had rented, is his residence.”

I am no lawyer, but such a ruling seems to put campground owners in a very uncomfortable position. If they lease space to an RVer or camper, what kind of restrictions can they place on campers when in their rented “homes.” Can campground owners really dictate whether their guests have guns, can smoke, play loud music, or enforce a quiet hour?

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What a difference a vacation makes

(Dec. 31, 2013) — Last year, I put on 30,000 miles on my car driving to 27 states for various RV meetings, trade shows and interviews. I also spent about 50 nights in hotel rooms of greatly varying quality. When complaining about it last fall, someone reminded me that there are companies build these things that travel down the highway AND have their own bed, kitchen, bathroom, TV, refrigerator and even storage. So, resolution No. 2 is to get back into the game and to get another RV.

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Nothing is ‘too small’ for the feds to regulate

(Dec. 16, 2013) –If there is a familiar refrain when federal compliance issues are being discussed, it usually goes something like this, “We’re too small for the regulators to pay any attention to us.” Sometimes business owners will also say, like a very well-known Ohio retailer said in a private meeting,

“I’m doing the right thing and I have all the local judges in my pocket, so I don’t have to worry about all this compliance stuff.” If there ever was a story to give anyone operating illegally a reason to reconsider, it was in The Wall Street Journal Oct. 29. According to the story written by Kimberley A. Strassel. The FTC has decided to make the world safe from greedy piano teachers.

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Why is running a business a ‘privilege?’

(Dec. 11, 2013) — I just don’t see how running a business is a state-bestowed “privilege” granted to people who want to invest their own money and put it all at risk in hopes of building a thriving business that grows large enough to hire residents of the state to work at the company. Shouldn’t it be the other way around?

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Florida dealer proposes the Affordable RV Act

(Dec. 10, 2013) — This law has been proposed, because until now, typically only financially responsible and working people have been able to purchase RV’s. This new law will ensure that every American can now have an “affordable” RV of their own, because everyone is “entitled” to an RV.

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Silos come down in Australia

(Nov. 27, 2013) — Earlier this week, the Caravan RV and Accommodation Industry of Australia (CRVA) announced it would be merging with the Recreational Vehicle Manufacturers Association (RVMA). This is the equivalent of seeing the RV Industry Association, RV Dealers Association and National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds come under the same umbrella here in America. How refreshing that would be.

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New initiative underway to improve citizenship

(Nov. 25, 2013) — OK, I’ll ‘fess up. I want to be part of a big idea that gets this nation back on course. I was one of about 40 people spending all morning at a session hosted by the Franklin Project to talk about a major initiative to improve citizenship in the United States.

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White House admits record taxes to be collected in 2014

(Nov. 15, 2013) — The White House released its monthly treasury statement a few days ago in which it predicts it will bring in $3.023 billion in taxes next year — that’s $29,673 for every full-time worker in the country, or $9,543 for every man, woman and child currently living in the country. I’m just baffled at this figure, especially when the U.S. Census Bureau released figures a month ago showing the real median incomes for a family household in 2012 was $64,053.

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Warning: Kicking the same old can too long can damage your health

(Nov. 14, 2013) — The only reason I’m doing a “semi-rant” in an industry publication is that if we don’t resolve “governing by crisis” and put our financial affairs in order, it will eventually and negatively affect our industry. We’re “bullet resistant” as an industry, not “bullet proof.” Regardless of what happens on the spending/debt limit issues in January and February, within reason, our industry is going to continue to healthily grow. I just don’t want to see us get forced to “settle for a field goal.”

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© Maksim Kabakou - Fotolia.com

Spammers are relentless; online users need to be, too

(Nov. 13, 2013) — We made the switch the weekend of Oct. 26. In the past seven days, our spam control system has rejected 4,689 spam comments. That’s about 28 an hour from various robots and people in third world countries trying to get links for drugs, boots, jewelry and just about everything else posted to stories on our website.

What is even more disturbing and eye opening is the number of intrusions that have been blocked by hackers looking to access our website to get user information. We have blocked more than 20 IP addresses in the past week alone.

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