The unemployment rate is at 0%! Who wants to work?

You heard me right, the unemployment rate is at 0%! Nobody needs work, everyone is employed. This means there is no need for anybody to file an unemployment claim and everyone is happy because nobody is looking to improve their situation by looking for jobs paying more or jobs that have more benefits.

leonardo decaprio with champagne

Proof that the employment rate is at 0%

I have 3 different ads running, two on Craigslist and one on Linkedin. I have the ads in different categories as well. I have a catchy subject, detailed information about the position, benefits given and a wage about 33% higher than I have ever advertised for. I have had these three ads running for 2 weeks and I have had 0 applications. Zero, nada, zip. This proves that the unemployment rate is at 0%; nobody needs a job. If anyone needed a job, then I would be getting at least some inquiries about the job I am offering. Oh, I also forgot to mention that I have 2 jobs offered for two different departments in our company.

Snap, now I know why I don’t have any applications

Silly me, I just realized something. I am not offering a free gym membership, paid lunches everyday, unlimited time off, yoga sessions in the morning, wine and mingling time after work in our play area complete with ping pong tables, video games and a masseuse. I have also posted the hours you need to work which is only from 9-5 Monday through Friday with no weekends, but I know this is a lot to ask. It’s this non flexible schedule that is causing no one to apply. I have to have our phones answered for some stupid reason, thus I need actual people to answer them. Do you know that the Airbnb headquarters has an indoor tree house and part of a real PanAm passenger plane to play inside of? Alas, I couldn’t afford this perk. Unfortunately we don’t offer employee water slides either. Maybe I should offer some of the perks that Spotify offers. Spotify gives their employees 6 months of paid paternal leave and has egg freezing for their employees which by the way costs in excess of $10,000. I don’t know about you, but I want my free range eggs frozen. You never know when you will need those chicken eggs.

frozen egg

When will the unemployment rate go up?

I’m hoping that the unemployment rate will go up past 0% because we would really like to have some people join our team, but I realize that having to do actual work for a living is a hard choice over playing in an indoor tree-house and having a crying room should your politician of choice not be elected. Maybe I should change my help wanted ad to something like this:

Help Wanted – Work when you feel like it, get paid what you want

  • Flex hours – you tell us when you feel like working
  • Flex pay – you tell us what you want to be paid and we will double it. We pay via Paypal so that you can purchase items on Amazon while you work.
  • Work environment – If you don’t mind, we ask that you work in our state of the art tech center complete with snake slide, espresso bar and kegs on tap. (not to be enjoyed until after 12 each day)
  • Qualifications – The ability to use your cell phone to access such work related apps as Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. The skill to issue grievances about your work environment and ability to convey how unfair corporate America is.
  • How to apply – Please apply online and include us in the 50 other companies that you are also mass applying to from your cell phone while you drink your soy latte at Starbucks. Please do not change the position that you are applying for with these 50 other companies so when we see you applying for a web developer position with our company when our ad is clearly for a shipping clerk. That way, we will know that we have other companies to compete with.
    scrooge in bed (possibly crying about the unemployment rate)

Now that I have figured all of the reasons I have had no applicants, I can change my whole way of listing my ad. I will change my entire work environment, find an angel investor and come to that realization that I will keep the work environment dear in my heart and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the employees of my Past, the Present, and the Future. The touchy feelings of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that my employees teach!

My Amazing Tesla Model 3 Delivery Experience

My Tesla Model 3 delivery experience was fantastic, and I will tell you why. I haven’t purchased a new vehicle in almost 20 years. Most of the time, you haggle with a car salesman over price, then after much arm twisting to try and get you to go with the extended warranty, undercoating and expensive sealers, you finally get your car; not with Tesla.

Model 3 tesla

Step by step sequence of Tesla Model 3 delivery

When you get a phone call letting you know that your Tesla Model 3 is ready for pickup, you are given an appointment so that they can get your car ready for presentation as well as have all of the paperwork and one of the team members available to explain the working of the car to you.

They stagger delivery times so that they can:

  • Get you to sign the paperwork
  • Go over the registration details
  • Walk you through the basic operation of your car
  • Answer any questions
  • Let you drive away with your new car

When you go to the Glen Allen Service Center in Virginia, you will see that their lot is full of Model 3’s, ready to be prepped and delivered. I hear that there are even the dual motor versions ready for delivery because a young lady stopped me and told me that hers was ready for pickup next week with the dual motors.

Step by step delivery experience

First, I entered the Tesla Glen Allen VA service center and told the gentleman sitting in the service area that I was here to pick up my Tesla Model 3. He told me to have a seat and he would let the delivery team know that I was there. Another couple was there from Chesapeake VA who was getting ready to have their appointment. That was it, not a long line of people waiting to pick up their car.

I got up and walked around the showroom looking at the Model S and the Model X while I was waiting to be called back. I think I waited around 10-15 minutes before I was called back.

“Mr. Trotman, would you follow me please?” said the guy who was handling my delivery. I walked into a separate room and there sat two beautiful Model 3’s on their own carpet. It was plugged in with a full charge. On the counter behind the car was a small placard with my name on it as well as the delivery paperwork. I walked around the car admiring this vehicle that I had only seen in a picture. It was sort of like a blind date or dating online. She was beautiful, even if I had only seen a “head shot” of her!

Signing the paperwork was very simple as all of the choices for options had been completed online a month earlier as well as the loan application, my insurance and title papers. I think the paperwork took a total of 5 minutes.

How do I operate this contraption?

interior shot of Tesla Model 3

Next, a young lady introduced me to my car and let me walk around it for a little bit admiring it. After a few moments of checking out the curves of the car and seeing it up close for the first time, she had me sit in the drivers seat and started to explain the center display console. For a newbie Tesla owner, there was a lot to absorb, but she took her time and explained it all, answering my questions when needed. She stated that corporate had wanted these deliveries to take 5 minutes, but there was no way she expected new Tesla owners to live with that, feeling short changed on all of the information that they wanted to know.  I think this part alone took about 30 minutes as I needed to know how to operate the car, charge it, what it would and would not do, getting my phone synced to the car as well as explaining the app on my phone.

Next, she said “Congratulations!” and opened the overhead door to let me drive out into the gas guzzling world. We told her that we wanted to drive it around the residential neighborhood behind the service center first before venturing out on the interstate. She gave us directions on where was a good place to take it for it’s virgin drive.

We drove around the neighborhood getting out so that both my wife and I could drive it. After feeling comfortable with the basic operation of the car, I hit the pedal and floored it. The car jumped immediately into action with absolutely no sound at all, only the sound of the tires against the pavement. We were thrust back into our seats and both looked at each other with wide eyes and big grins. This was going to be a FUN car to drive! That was my Tesla Model 3 delivery experience. I hope that yours is just as fun as ours was.

 

Tesla model 3 delivery

https://www.tesla.com/model3

https://www.tesla.com/findus/location/service/richmondglenallen

https://www.facebook.com/gill.trotman.7

Check this out before you throw away that power tool

No parts are available.

Don’t you hate to hear those words when you are trying to repair your power tool? Many times, this means the end to your tool that you have trusted on for many years, but for certain types of repairs, it doesn’t have to be.

power tool parts

The type of repairs that you can possibly fix

The parts that you see above are parts that most of the time can be fixed.

  • Armatures- the top left part is an armature, the rotating part of a power tool. As long as the spindle is in good shape and not stripped (the end gear), then this can be rewound by a motor rewind shop. There Eurton Electric in California does these type of repairs. They can rewind your armature for you. Make sure that this tool is worth this repair though.
  • Power Cords- many times, there is a special connector that fits into the tool, a pre-molded boot that may be NLA, but usually you can find a suitable cord with a similar pre-molded boot that will fit. We have those here.
  • Switches- These are also available from Eurton Electric.   If you can’t find the exact switch, many of these can be modified to fit your tool as long as you check the amperage of the switch to be sure it is strong enough.
  • Brushes- These are the easiest to find. Many local real hardware stores will have these. Don’t bother going to Home Depot as I don’t remember seeing them there. If they do not fit exactly, you can always sand them down to fit.

Other fixes that do not require parts

Today I had a customer bring in an old Craftsman Multi-Tool. It was about 15 years old so I wanted to make sure that there were parts available. I went on-line to Sears website and there were no parts available, there wasn’t even a part breakdown. If this guy needed parts then all he had would be a door stop, not a multi-tool.

craftsman multi tool image

He said, “I was using it, and it just quit.” Well when a tool does that, usually it means that the circuit is not complete in the tool. I told him I would open it up to see what was wrong. First, it was full of dust. I blew it out with compressed air. Still didn’t work. Next I tested the power cord to see if there was an open circuit. Power cord was ok. Now it is time to break into the tool. I removed the cover over the switch, power cord and motor assembly. That is when I noticed that one brush was not making contact with the commutator of the armature. The spring had snapped. This was an easy fix. I simply took one of the coils of the spring and bent it so that it was putting tension on the brush assembly. I plugged it in. Still nothing! Next I pulled the field out. This is where I noticed that the field wire from the brush had lost it’s terminal. The terminal probably flew out and broke the brush spring. I was able to simply solder the wire onto the field connector and voila, his tool sprung back to life.

6 things that are easy to repair in your power tool

  • Brushes- go find something close at your local power tool repair company or a good old hardware store.
  • Broken wires- replace the broken wire or solder the wire permanently to the part that it fits on.
  • O-rings- If the original o-ring is not available, any o-ring supply house will have a suitable replacement o-ring.
  • Bearings- Any decent bearing house will have your bearing you need.
  • Pumps- If we are talking belt driven pumps for a stand alone pump, then you can simply replace the pump with one of comparable cfm.
  • Motors- Stand alone motors for air compressors, pressure washers, table saws and the like can be swapped out with a motor of the same or greater HP, voltage and rpm’s.

If we are talking about very specific parts like gears and shafts, unless you are a machinist and absolutely love this tool, it’s time to say goodbye to this old friend.

Don’t buy that power tool until you read this first.

What do you look for when you are buying a new power tool?

Do you buy it because of the brand name? How about the color or that all of your power tools are Acme tools? Do you buy it because it is the cheapest? Many people buy it based on the advertisements they have seen, but no one manufacturer hits it out of the park on every tool they make and if you believe that, well their advertising has paid off!Power Tools in a grid
You see, every manufacturer feels the need to capture the entire power tool market. Instead of focusing on what they make best, they just keep pumping out tools of all sorts. Don’t get me wrong, many of their tools are good, but do you want a “good” tool or the best tool for the job?

I have been repairing power tools and selling replacement parts for them for over 20 years. I see what works and I see what breaks on a regular basis. The worst thing is to have a power tool break in the middle of a job or that weekend project, only to find out that there are no replacement parts for the tool. You’ve got yourself a nice boat anchor.

Key points when looking for a new power tool

There are several factors to consider when buying a power tool and I list what I feel are the most important below.

  • What have other people said about the tool? Are 80% of the reviews good. As you know, you can’t please everyone, so look for a tool that gets good reviews from most people.
  • Will you be using this tool every now and then or is this tool going to help you earn a living? If so, then you need something that is built well enough to stand the rigors of the jobsite. Think about what would happen if it fell off of a sawhorse. Will it withstand some rough handling?
  • Does the tool feel good in your hands? If you are a lefty, then they do actually make left handed circular saws and a few others, so look into these.
  • Look online at tool repair part companies such as ours, www.mastertoolrepair.com and look at the older models of the brand and type of tool that you are looking to get. Are most of the parts still available or are most of them NLA (no longer available). If not, then when it breaks, you will have to buy a new one.
  • Normal wear an tear items like brushes, belts, nose guards for trim nailers and blade clamps for reciprocating saws have to be easy to get to and replace.
    Four Power Tool Parts

Air Compressors and Pressure Washers

For other tools like air compressors and pressure washers, you really need to know how often you intend to use these. There are basically two types. Homeowner grade and pro grade. No which one you are getting. Are your workers going to check the oil in an air compressor or should you buy an oil free air compressor because you know they will never check the oil? Don’t buy an air compressor based upon the highest pressure it produces, this is a marketing scam. Look for the cfm it produces at a certain psi. Something like 5.4 cfm @90psi is how you want to compare them. Oil bath units last longer. Again, look for replacement parts to make sure that the company has a history of providing parts.

Pressure washers start at around $225 for a homeowner unit to well over $1,000 for a day in, day out unit. There are basically 3 types of pressure washer pumps. Wobble, Axial Cam and Triplex. Wobble pumps are entry level and usually if they go bad, you just replace the entire pump. Axial Cam pumps are better and Triplex pumps are the best. Of course, you know that you get what you pay for. The psi rating is important as well. All of them require a gas engine or electric motor to power them so make sure that this part of the pressure washer is reliable.

Well, this should get you going. Don’t buy a tool just because of the color or the brand. Do a little research first and you will end up making a great purchase that will get the job done and last for years to come.

Have you lost the art of daydreaming?

A child is daydreaming in a classroom.I read somewhere that if you were in the midst of trying to discover where you wanted to go in life, then you should look retrospectively on your imagined life. Sounds kind of strange doesn’t it? So many times, when we try and think of what we want to become or do in life, we subconsciously place all kinds of limitations on it. We don’t realize many times that we are doing this. We somehow use the successes and the failures of our past to place mental leashes on our dreams. Since we live in the real world, that play world that we lived in as kids slowly disappears as life slaps us in the face. Bit by bit, we stop dreaming during the day; sure we dream at night, but daydreaming  just stops. My teachers used to write to my parents on my report card that I daydreamed too much in class.

I will admit that I did daydream in class. I had so many things that I wanted to become and had quite a vivid imagination. Imagination is very underrated. It is necessary for the advancement of almost any discipline or task we put our hands to. If it wasn’t for imagination, the wheel would never had been invented, much less self driving cars.

After thinking of the challenge put before me, I knew that it was going to take some effort since I hadn’t done this in quite awhile. Most of my daydreaming of late had taken on a very pragmatic nature. Dreaming like I did when I was a kid was going to be a task.

Ground rules for daydreaming

First off, there are some rules you have to keep in mind or rather non-rules. Keep these in mind as you start daydreaming.

  • If money were not an object
  • If there were no time constraints
  • Throw every pragmatic or logical assumption out the window
  • Let your dream have absolutely no boundaries
  • Nothing is silly or stupid
  • Don’t judge your dream even before you get started
  • To hell with thoughts like “it’ll never happen so why dream it”
  • Don’t be afraid to even include friends and associates that you have enjoyed working with in the past in your dream
  • Once you have come up with your dream, write it down amping it up even more

To get you started, I am going to share my wild, no holds barred dream. As I said, this is a retrospective dream, looking back on my imaginary life. Here we go, don’t judge me!

My daydream – an example

“I can’t believe where I am today. At one time, I felt as though God had forgotten why He created me, but now I see that it was to prepare me for where I am today.

It started long ago. All of my life’s experiences created skills that were necessary to prepare me for this. I thought that I was only created to do one thing, but God showed me He created me to do many things, not just one thing. I was always interested in Rocketry. Little did I know that I would discover anti-gravity. This allowed man to escape earth’s gravitational pull without the use of millions of pounds of thrust. We were able to lift more payloads to space using the space that once was used for propellant to hold mission critical payload. After we escaped earth’s gravity, my team, using photon power, propelled the spacecraft to light speed, enabling man to explore new worlds that were once impossible to reach.

photon rocket in outer space.

Anti-gravity also has commercial success as hover boards, passenger planes and other gravity bound products that suddenly “took off”. Tires on cars are a thing of the past. With my profits from anti-gravity, I was able to finally create Walt Disney’s Epcot. It is a place where the most creative minds live and work to create things that benefit mankind. It is not an amusement park, it is what the original plan for Epcot was supposed to be.

The friendships that I created came out of retirement to pull together to make the vision a reality. Steve Story is our corporate attorney who oversees our legal department. Phillip Shucet has found civil engineers like Gary Mackey to create the structure and thoroughfares in Epcot. Jim Tomlinson heads up the hospital. Mike Padden heads up our architectural department. Laurie, my wife makes sure that my creative thinking time is undisturbed. She heads up the ice rink as well as the culinary school.

We now have hologram vision, another invention of mine that beams the picture from your TV into your living room. Fortunately the FCC keeps bad content from jumping into people’s living rooms!

I have a weekly TV show called “Don’t Stop Dreaming”. I found out in my 60’s that acquiring stuff wasn’t important, acquiring dreams was more important. I had stopped asking “What if…” but one day I decided to rekindle my imagination and let it go wild. It had been so long that the rusty gears took awhile to get going, but once they did, they started spinning like a top. Something in my life had jammed the gears, but now they were making up for lost time. I couldn’t stop the ideas from flowing. It was as if God was birthing new ideas in me every day. I said that I wanted to be used and was I ever! There were a lot of obstacles along the way, but with God’s help and a faithful team of dreamers, doors kept opening. A half century ago, I felt as if God had whispered in my ear that He was going to use me for something extraordinary, and let’s just say, it has been far more extraordinary than I could have dreamed.”

Ok, that was my dream. What is yours? You may have no idea. First you have to learn to daydream again. Learning to daydream, using your imagination is not as easy as it once was when we were younger. It’s going to take a little bit of practice. I do this best when I am in a quiet place with paper and pen.

Now, go start daydreaming!

How to beat Amazon

Does Amazon or eBay impact your business?

If you own a small business like I do, you know the dent that Amazon and eBay are putting into your sales. I have been racking my brain, trying to figure a way to keep my piece of the pie. I’m experimenting with this idea, not a new one, but may work to keep those people that use all of my work and effort putting together page after page of helpful information to assist them in buying machinery on my site as well as my brick and mortar store; only to have them take the model or part number and leave my site or store and search for the lowest price on their phone.

Amazon LogoIn my business, people aren’t buying apples or eggplants without part numbers, they are buying products that have a specific product number, model number or part number. This makes it VERY easy to compare my prices against everyone else. Now some of you may be saying, so what, the lowest price wins. My reply to you is, if Amazon always wins, then EVERY single store other than Amazon will go out of business because NOBODY can compete on price like Amazon. Jeff Bezos and his crew don’t care if they have to buy the market and lose a few billion dollars to own an industry. They have deep pockets. If it isn’t Amazon, it’s an Ebayer who has somehow managed to distribute one of our same lines that are living in a doublewide trailer selling things at 5% over cost because he has no overhead. (and no possible way of growing either) There is an old adage in business. “If you live by price, you die by price.”

Another business down the street selling similar products to mine was seeing a phenomenon that he didn’t know how to combat. A customer would come into his Lawn Equipment store and ask for a gear for his riding mower. The employee would look up the make, model, serial number of the mower. They would both pour over schematics (parts diagrams) and finally locate the broken part. After this 20 minute search, the customer would state, “Just give me the part number so I can think about it.” The employee would give out the part number only to never see the customer return. After a while, his boss kept asking why these people never purchased anything. He said, “We had the part in stock and if we didn’t we could have ordered it for him. Why didn’t he buy it?” The employee replied, “Well, they just ask for the part number and then never come back.” His boss finally realized what was happening after searching for that part number on the web, only to find that Amazon was selling this part at a cost that made him spill his coffee all over his keyboard. “When did Amazon get into the Lawn Equipment business?” he said to his staff. His staff told him that they themselves were purchasing most anything for their personal use on Amazon. Sure enough, after a little searching under many different categories, he found that the top selling products from any category he could think of was being sold on Amazon.
“Geez, how are we ever going to sell anything if everyone
riding lawn moweris doing this?” he lamented to his staff. That was the moment that he decided to never give out part numbers again. He was more than willing to help customers, but he starts everyone discussion at the parts counter with, “I’m more than glad to find the part for you, but I expect you to purchase this from me as I do not give out part numbers.” Ever since then, the customer either leaves or gladly supports his local business.

I have an online store

99% of our business comes from our online store and only 1% comes from walk-in customers nowadays. I have seen my profit margins slip every single year as more and more companies start an online store thinking only of profit and not of providing a service. They compete on price alone and figure they will win, only to realize that Amazon is going directly to the manufacturers and agreeing to purchase millions of dollars of the product if they will give them the top 200 selling products to sell. Amazon is glad to sell at a loss with free shipping to boot! Amazon is stealing all of our lunch money so that we can only buy things in one place. Did you know that Wal-Mart is considering scaling down their retail business and going into health care due to Amazon and the other online companies starting to cut into their profits?

My Plan of Action

Ok, so here is my plan. From now on, we are not going to show part numbers on our site. We will, of course, have a list of all of the manufacturers and model numbers along with a plethora of information and parts diagrams. We will continue to have a customer service team that will answer your email questions and talk with you on the phone to help you find that part or unit to keep you going, but we will NOT provide part numbers so that you can search it again to find the cheapest price out there. The last time I checked, my employees don’t want to work for free, my landlord wants his rent check and the lights don’t stay on if I can’t pay the light bill. For those of you that know your part number, because you already used my site or one of my fellow online peer’s sites to research your part number, you won’t find the part number on our schematics. Yes, you can find the part by searching by part number, but we won’t hold out a billboard saying, “Hey, here is the part number and here is my price. Now, go shop me against everyone else in the world to get it cheaper.”

Amazon Tombstone

If every business would start to do this, maybe we could put a dent in Amazon and these crazy Ebayers. It’s worth a try. What do you have to lose?

Tesla Model 3, Model S and Model X Sounds!

Have you ever heard a Tesla Model 3, Model S, or Model X?

This is just an idea for Elon Musk and his Tesla team, but I digress. After 11 months, Tesla finally delivered my Model 3. This is the understudy to the Model S, but it is quick, even with the standard motor. It goes 0-60 in 5.1 seconds. This is the same speed as 1995 Chevrolet Corvette LT1. Not bad for a base Model 3.  Being this is my first electric car, I found myself going faster than I should have due to no engine sound.

Tesla Model 3

As I was accelerating with no audible sound at all,  I got this idea. Flipping through the 15″ dashboard screen noticing ALL of the controls and settings that are accessed through the screen, I said to myself, “Why not download all of the coolest car engine sounds there are out there, synchronize it with the accelerator pedal and send it through the speaker system?” You would be able to pick your engine sound and volume of course and as you accelerate, you get that familiar sound of the engine, and not just any engine, a Ferrari,  Dodge Hemi or any other engine! Can you imagine the first ride of a passenger? You simply turn it on before you leave the parking lot and they think you have some massive engine under the hood. After a few miles, you simply dial down the volume to 0 and they look over at you like, “Hey your engine just died.” All you say is, “Gotcha! This is a Tesla dude!”

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