I want to tell you what makes us really scratch and shake our heads at LCT Magazine and wonder about the business sense of some operators. Occasionally, we encounter an operator who manages to bungle an offer of free publicity, either through an article, a profile, an interview, or just some exposure in LCT.
I assigned a small fleet business profile to one of our writers of Operator X, one of many I had met at our Show. I thought his company would be fodder for an interesting profile. Our writer interviewed and started working on an article about Operator X only to be told that since Operator X recently went down from seven to three vehicles because of the economy, he didn't want the article to state his number of vehicles. He wanted the article to reflect the average size of his fleet over the years. If we couldn't withhold mentioning his three vehicles, then he didn't want a story.
Imagine that; a small fleet business profile with no fleet size! Obviously, his demand was a dealbreaker, let alone for his request for us to deliberately and knowingly fudge or gloss over the facts. Since he wasted our time over complete nonsense, we grant him the rare distinction of being blackballed. Call it the Shrinking Operator of the Year Award.
So let's break this down: Operator X is suffering from the recession, causing his fleet to decline from seven to three vehicles. What he faces is not unique; nor is it embarrassing in a severe recession and industry downturn like this one. So, he gives up a chance for a profile in LCT Magazine? Do you suppose the exposure might bring him some business, as is often the case with anyone profiled in our magazine?
Here's our wise word up to chauffeured operators: If you can't own up to basic facts and "handle the truth" in a Jack Nicholson kind of way, then just hide out and miss out on an opportunity. Spare us the deceptive drama.
(And on a related matter, if we catch any operators fudging fleet sizes for the Top 100 List this year contrary to public records, guess what? "Outta here, you freaky fleet bitch.")
My prediction: Operator X could likely be washing someone else's vehicles this time next year instead of running his own.
Martin Romjue, LCT editor
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