College Football and the Morons at GMAC

6 January, 2009

My father had a couple of sayings which I heard again and again while growing up:  “The key to happiness in life is to find something you enjoy, and then find someone stupid enough to pay you for doing it,” was one.  Another was, “Take responsibility for your life.”  And, of course, “Attention to detail is the key to success in life.”

That said, I think I may have gained an understanding of just why the American automotive industry is in the tank.  And watching college football showed me the problem.

I am watching the GMAC Bowl.  If features Ball State (12-1) versus Tulsa (10-3) (yeah, I really am that desperate to watch a football game). 

On the middle of the field is a large X.  Above it, “10th ANNIVERSARY”.  Across the X, “GMAC Bowl”.  Under the X, “1999 – 2009”.

Does anyone see the problem here?  If 1999 was the 1st, then 2000 was the 2nd, 2001 was the 3rd, 2002 – 4th, 2003 – 5th, 2004 – 6th, 2005 – 7th, 2006 – 8th, 2007 – 9th, and 2008 was the 10th GMAC Bowl.  This is the 11th GMAC Bowl.  Which explains the 10th anniversary logo on the field.

Now, I’ll freely admit that just becaue GMAC is a bank (owned by General Motors) doesn’t mean that they are good with numbers. But come on, folks.  I majored in freakin’ history andcan figure this one out.  Had I any money, investments, or loans with GMAC, I guarantee you I would be changing to a different banking institution as quickly as possible.

This is a rather picayune observation.  So they screwed up a detail.  Big Fucking Deal.  It is, though.

(((Wife))) and I have two vehicles.  She has a Ford minivan.  I have a Mitsubishi sedan.  We have had numerous vehicles over the years, many of them Fords.  Two have been Mitsubishis, one Honda, one Oldsmobile, a Toyota, and a couple of Subarus.

Overall quality has been about the same for every vehicle.  None have been perfect.  The American cars, though, seem to always have niggling little problems (with Fords it is the electrical system).  Problems that seem to show a lack of appreciation for details.  None of the Japanese cars (or the VWs I had before (((Wife)))) have had these detail problems.

 “Attention to detail is the key to success in life!”  Calling the 11th GMAC Bowl game the 10th Anniversary just shows a continuation of the same theme.  GMAC, you need to pay attention to the details.



  1. Not like an American company to understate.

    I used to be a “buy American” kind of guy, until I started seeing outsourcing, moving companies overseas, execs making all the money, and who builds plants in America, providing jobs for Americans? The Japanese. Fucked up. The same BS reared it’s ugly head this summer with that “drill here, drill now” crap. Everyone kept saying “WE have to drill”. We? There ain’t no we, there’s Exxon and some other companies and yes, they’re based in America but they’re not American companies. There’s NOTHING in their business plans about putting America and its people first, just themselves. American companies? I don’t know if there are anymore. Do you?

  2. When politicians and Mr. Businessman start talking about “we”, I figure they must mean themselves and the turds in their pockets.

    Remember the cars of the ’70’s? One has read that a GM engineer was at a meeting of the big wigs and was complaining that the way he was instructed to work was no way to make cars. He was told that they weren’t there to make cars, they were there to make money.

  3. Philly: I’ve never really been a ‘but American’ type (except for small companies (which actually are American): Burt’s Bees, Stetson, etc.). (((Wife))) and I buy Ford because it is what we are used to — we know where all the button and knobs are (when I rent a car, I try to get a Ford for the same reason). So, for your last question, yes, there are American companies, but only the small ones.

    Sarge: One of the difficulties the railroads faced through almost the entire 20th century was that they misunderstood their job. Most of the management viewed their job as running trains. But the real job of any company is to make money. Railroads make money (presumably) by providing transportation services. The railroads that understand that are successful. The ones that don’t become fallen flags.

    The problem with this model is that investors punish companies for treating their workers well (witness Costco) or for providing a product that is better than necessary. The only way to restore that balance is through regulations (the kind of regulations the Republicans (and many Democrats) hate claiming the regulations hurt workers (WTF!)).

    Maybe if GM realized that they exist to make money by providing products or services people want. Cheap gas and cheap money perverted that big time.

  4. I may have told you, I live in Altoona. All you have to do is take a look around and you can see the wreckage of the company mentality.

  5. Billy,

    The first GMAC Bowl was held December 22, 1999. The game moved to January in the 2006/2007 season, so there was no “2006” GMAC Bowl. Tuesday’s game was the 10th GMAC Bowl.



  6. Mike: Thank you. That makes sense.

    It doesn’t change my point, though. Had GMAC left the years off of the logo, there would have been no confusion. Again, attention to details.

    In my work, I write and edit brochures and a web site. Trying to grab a readers attention, be factually correct, and still keep possibilities for confusion to a minimum ain’t easy. I have learned (the hard way) that no matter how clear something looks, someone will find a way to misunderstand. That’s where the attention to detail comes in (not to mention multiple eyes).

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