Well, So Much For That Tagline

We’re all accustomed to the advertising tagline from the Kraut carmakers which touts “German engineering” as the selling proposition for buying one of their overpriced cars.

That doesn’t seem to be the case, as evidenced by this J.D. Power survey of not so long ago:

It’s a large sample (80,000), by the way (the full methodology can be found here).

Basically, apart from all the Kraut shenanigans involved with cartels and illegal manipulations (diesel emissions coff coff etc.), it all boils down to the Germans making their cars evermore sophisticated but in doing so, more fragile and prone to breakage.

Where have we heard this before? Oh yeah, pretty much everywhere.

And people snigger when I say how much I’d prefer to drive something like a Merc 280 SL than any of their newer models…

Right In My Wheelhouse

I am approached almost daily by marketing people/companies who want to put ads in this website.  Most — okay, all — of them run and hide when I tell them my conditions… but I have no problem with putting up an ad hoc  ad like this one (because I believe in its cause):

If this isn’t worthy of our support, what is?

Mention my name, and nothing will happen — because this isn’t a paid endorsement.  See how that works?

Dead Horse, Beating Of

In this case, the dead horse would be me — or rather, my plans to fly on that fucking Oz airline to their poxy country.  But that’s not what this latest breathless missive is about, oh no:

Hi Kim,

This month, I have some exciting news to share about the investments we’re making to improve your experience with us.

Firstly, our new A220s took to the skies last week. Featuring sleek new comfortable interiors, they offer a more sustainable way to fly across Australia and beyond. We’ve also improved the Qantas App so you can now track your checked baggage on any Qantas operated flight.

This is just the start of the investments and improvements we’re making, and I look forward to keeping you updated.

“Digital Officer”, hey?  Then you’ll have no problem interpreting this digital signal, then:

I’m so glad that Qantarse is getting all those shiny new planes which make flying more “sustainable” (do they even realize how full of shit they sound?), as opposed to simply “more economical”.

It’s just too bad that I’m never going to sit in one.

Back when I was in the customer loyalty business, I remember setting targets as to how often we would try to entice a customer to shop with us — as I recall, after four or five fruitless attempts, we’d give it up as a lost cause.

I’m curious to see how long it will take OzAir to come to that conclusion with me.

Nazzo Fast, Guido

Look, nobody knows better than I that the essence of marketing is to expand demand for a proven product.  But then I see this:

Springfield Armory has refreshed the popular TRP line of professional-level 1911s. The TRP is based on the Springfield Armory Professional 1911, which was originally chosen for use by the FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team, and now the line has been refreshed to offer six new .45 ACP models with a wide range of new features.
The TRP platforms are specifically designed and built for demanding 1911 enthusiasts. Each pistol begins with a forged frame and slide for strength and durability. Each pair is the hand-selected for slide-to-frame fit and numbered to marry them with their matching components throughout the build process. The result is a premium fit, with refined blending and rock-solid performance.
Providing an additional touch of custom detail, all TRP pistols feature sighting plane serrations along the top of the slide. The result is an attractive touch that offers the shooter an enhanced sight picture and maximum light diffusion. Also on top of the slide is a tritium three-dot sight system for a clear sight picture under any lighting environment.
Springfield Armory chose VZ Grips and their combat-ready Hydra series of grips for the new TRP pistols. The deep relief channels provide aggressive purchase without being overly sharp, while exposing the layers and patterns of the G-10 material. In addition, all TRP pistols feature 20 lines per inch (LPI) checkering on the frame for an enhanced grip with either wet or gloved hands.

And then the kicker:

TRP Classic 5 inch and TRP Classic 4.25 inch have an MSRP of $1,899.
The TRP Rail 5 inch Black, 5 inch Coyote Brown and TRP CC 4.25 inch Black and TRP CC 4.25 inch Coyote Brown have an MSRP of $1,999.

So basically, it’s a budget Nighthawk, except in that baby-shit Coyote Brown — the gunny equivalent of the putty-colored automobile.

I’m sure the Government alphabet-agencies are just going to love them, because WTF they have the budget to afford these things.  So will all those wannabe “operators” because they’re always up for the Latest Thing that all the cool kids have to have.

Me?

Clearly, I’m not in the target market for the TRP.  And that’s fine by me.

Privacy? What’s That?

Very few things get under my skin as much as bullshit like this:

A recent study from Consumer Reports engaged 709 volunteers who provided archives of their Facebook user data. Astonishingly, Consumer Reports discovered that 186,892 different companies transmitted data about these users to Facebook. On average, data from each participant was shared by 2,230 companies, with some users’ data being shared by over 7,000 companies.

Think you’re outside this little net?  Think again, Winston Smith:

This examination highlighted a lesser-known form of tracking known as server-to-server tracking, where personal data is transferred directly from a company’s servers to Meta’s servers, alongside the more visible method involving Meta tracking pixels on company websites.

A surprising finding was the pervasive presence of LiveRamp, a data broker, appearing in the data of 96 percent of study participants. The list of companies sharing data with Facebook extends beyond obscure data brokers to include well-known retailers like Home Depot, Macy’s, Walmart, and others, such as Experian and TransUnion’s Neustar, Amazon, Etsy, and PayPal. Notably, LiveRamp did not respond to a request for comment on this matter.

The study’s data came from two main collection types: “events” and “custom audiences.” The latter involves advertisers uploading customer lists to Meta, including email addresses and mobile advertising IDs, to target ads on Meta’s platforms. ‘Events’ describe real-world interactions, like website visits or store purchases, facilitated by Meta’s software in apps, tracking pixels on websites, and server-to-server tracking.

I’ll sum up all this in a simple sentence:  if you’ve bought anything online in the past three years, your personal data is everywhere.

Of course, there are the weasels:

Emil Vazquez, a spokesperson for Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta, defended the company’s data practices, stating: “We offer a number of transparency tools to help people understand the information that businesses choose to share with us, and manage how it’s used.”

Oh sure.  Forgive me for being skeptical about the motives of said weasels, and the companies they work for:

However, Consumer Reports identified issues with these tools, including unclear data provider identities and companies that service advertisers often disregarding user opt-out requests.

I don’t even know what to do about all this — nothing can be done, seems to me.

But the best part of all this — and the reason for my hopelessness — is that of you think that Government isn’t getting their snouts into this data trough, I have a fucking bridge to sell you.

Corporations, no matter how big, always fall straight to their knees every time some government department demands a blowjob.  And this circumstance is no different.

Carnies and Hucksters

Longtime Reader GT3ted sent me an email of the latest Sotheby’s auction catalog — the topic of this coming Saturday’s post, by the way — and when I commented that the prices seemed unusually-astronomical, even by Sotheby’s standards, he replied:

Yes, I thought the suggested bid ranges were high as well, But remember these are the the typical auction company’s “Projected” bid ranges which are often optimistic. And Sotheby’s does seem to have a better-than-usual lineup this year. The whole point of the catalog is to bring in as many Big Dollar buyers as possible since they need multiple buyers to run up the prices. Or at least the appearance of multiple bidders.

The Winter Arizona / Scottsdale Hype is strong thanks to “Bidenomics” / a soaring stock market and nervous investors looking for a place to park some equity before the possible collapse of the more traditional equities market place.

The world of high-end auctions is still just smoke and mirrors run by used car salesmen and ex-carnies all looking for the next greater fool, just at a much higher level.

It’s a very cogent statement.  But even among them what has more money than common sense, this (for example) seems egregiously overpriced:

Now let it be known that I loves me some 70s-era Bronco, but I would humbly suggest that even a handbuilt-from-the-ground-up item such as this isn’t worth anything like two hundred big ones.

It’s not an original — it’s a Kincer creation — and there’s another outfit that handmakes “classic” Toyota FJ45s, at similar nosebleed prices, and still another that does likewise with 1970s-era Mercedes G-wagens.  While I understand that hand-built cars involve an astonishing amount of labor — in some cases, hundreds of hours — I would suggest that it’s a fool’s gambit to try to recoup (and even profit from) the job.  As any amateur restorer will tell you, one never recoups the cost of restoration, and I just can’t see that restoring old cars as a production enterprise makes it worth the work and expense…

…unless, of course, the target market is not the brand’s loyal devotees but (as Ted puts it) Big-Dollar Buyers (“whales”, as the casino industry derisively calls them), for whom the car is not an object of desire but an investment.

And all investments, as any fule kno, carry risk.

Caveat emptor imprudens.

All that said, there are some juicy cars indeed in the Sotheby’s catalogue, but you’ll have to wait until Saturday to see them.  Just ignore the prices, and drool.