Volume 36, Issue 8, August 2001

Q & A ... August, 2001thebusiness
Industry Advice, Insights and Answers

Without doubt, the best part about writing articles for USGlass magazine is the interaction that they generate with all kinds of people from within this fast-paced and unpredictable industry of ours. I get any number of e-mails and phone calls and even a letter or two every month. Several are quite insightful, and some of them deserve to be shared. Here’s a sampling:

Question … What is your view and position relative to the anti-dumping suit that is being pursued against certain Chinese windshield manufacturers? (Chin Chow, San Francisco.)

Answer … Being from the west side of Chicago, I understand “turf protection” and the practice of ganging up on the new guy to keep him out of your territory, but this one seems a little odd to me. The group doing all the complaining is comprised of companies that have ties to foreign producers including those in China. And numerous rumors and innuendoes indicate that one even installs a lot of the glass made by one of the producers named in the complaint!!! Usually I’m against anyone coming into the market with under-priced products because in the end, usually nobody benefits. However, while I do have a great deal of respect for some of the companies that are involved in the litigation, the playing field at the present time is not a level one. I guess I’m not sure who it is that is actually getting dumped on so I’m as confused as everyone else with regards to this issue. 

Question … I have a hard time believing the stories you tell in your articles are true. Are they? (Al Minasian, San Mateo.)

Answer … Yes, every word is true … except for the parts I make up. Often, the names and actual events are modified a bit to protect someone or make a story more meaningful, but most of the time there is a true fact or two buried in them somewhere. By the way, is there any truth to the rumor that you and your partner Steve are actually closet Cub fans???

Question … As an architect, I’m confused over the “argon gas” issue. I hear all kinds of accusations and horror stories about units improperly filled or not filled at all. Do you think some manufacturers are leaving the gas out and charging for it anyway? (Bruce Spangler, Minneapolis.)

Answer … As an industry insider, I am qualified to answer this question, but as an architect, you are most likely not capable of understanding or dealing with the truth so let me just say this … all of the manufacturers I know are reliable, trustworthy and really nice people who always make sure the argon for which they charge is actually in the unit they ship. And in case one of their guys forgets to put it in or doesn’t get enough in, the tooth fairy comes by when the plant is closed and fills each one of them up so it’s just right.

Question … I know this is not an actual industry question, but can you explain why Corvette owners wave to each other when they pass each other on the street? What’s the deal? (Tony Lampl, Chicago.)

Answer … I too have witnessed this and know the answer. You see, the Corvette is the only true American sports car and those who own them understand and appreciate superior automotive engineering, as well as style and beauty. Once you’ve owned one, nothing else will ever do, and when they wave or signal to each other while passing on the street, it’s their way of complimenting each other for being so insightful and well-informed. 

Question … I’m applying for a job in the glass industry hoping to work for the American division of a very old and well-known English company. Although I don't know much about the industry in general, I do know this company is a good one and I really want the job. I've studied English history, mastered the metric system and conquered the English monetary system, but I can't figure out for the life of me which ranks higher in English nobility...an earl or a duke? Can you help? (Brad Brimworthy, Toledo.)

Answer ... I know the company of whom you speak and it is a fine organization. Also, while your question is a tough one, I remember an old song from my youth that provides the clue needed here. You see, in the song there was a "Duke of Earl." Therefore, the Earl would be higher ranked if for no other reason than the song proves the Earl had his own Duke. However, I think you're wasting your time. Go to work for the Chinese. You'll never master their language or their history, but they make really good, cheap windshields and no matter what some semi-informed judge decides, they ain't going away.






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