Member Blogs > Barner BooksTiny Books - When America Was Great!

  • Fri, 03 Jun 2016 10:56:00    Permalink

    Little Tiny Books - Tell a BIG Story

    Books take on many forms and sizes.   They even take on multiple purposes.

    Today it's a miniature - but one with few words, and a HUGE story of the past, and even today.   The simple Matchbook.

    Here's one from the 50's - THE WOODSTOCK GARAGE.  Famous named town in Upstate New York -- our Ulster County neighbor.

    This book features a Ford Emblem


    Wasn't America Great Then - and does this symbolize "Making America Great Again" which is a popular political slogan that  people find quite appealing.

    So What's the Story with this sweet matchbook?

    The Ford of the 50's.   I remember it well.  HUGE engines, using lots of cheap gas, and well serviced by the many small independent garages that abounded simply because they broke down ALL THE TIME, The nemonic for FORD - Fix or Repair Daily - F.O.R.D. was quite rightly earned.  Ford wasn't unique, because all the brands and models had problems.   Think about the Corvair (a Chevy) that was remarkable in that it could actually flip over when be driven on a straight away.

    The Ford of that great time had a lifespan of about 30-40,000 miles.   When used car shopping you'd think twice about picking one of those cars up because it was going to spend a lot of time off the road.  And when it was on the road, you knew that if you were in an accident, you would most likely end up in a hospital, and with some degree of predictability, could end up dead.   They cars were designed to appeal to our taste but not to our head.

    Incredible advertising, free matchbooks, and an economy that was growing post world war II made Ford a lot of money (as well as the other manufacturers) and they knew that they could keep doing it by building cars that were designed to FAIL.

    Upstarts that they were, the Japanese entered the market with a different idea.   Build a car that would spend time on the road and not in the shop.   They weren't instant success stories, because we were great, and didn't like the idea of buying cars from another country, particularly one that pissed us off as much as Japan did.  But eventually we did.

    We learned a very simple lesson:   Their cars were better.  They were safer, more economical to buy, and far easier to maintain.   When you went to trade it in, they were worth more, because they still had plenty of life left.  70,000 miles which was junk yard time for the American behemoths was the Japanese car becoming broken in.

    It took a long time for our American Made Car Companies to realize that what they had been selling wasn't really what people wanted.   Several manufacturers failed, and the Federal Funds ultimately were used to try to keep others alive and improve (which with a lot of kicking and screaming they did).

    During this great time there weren't a lot of rules.   Cars were death traps.  They didn't work well for the purpose they were being designed.   They also consumed a huge amount of fuel to operate.  When America was great, the government didn't mess with businesses and force them to change.  The Businesses were also so large they didn't realize that America treasured opportunity and competition -- and they simply didn't offer that any longer.

    Inside the book are matches.   They were given out readily to people because most adults smoked.

    In the 50's the Cigarette Manufacturers did everything they could do to provide attractive cigarettes, create and fulfill the huge demand for products.

    Santa Claus delivered Cigarettes at Christmas time and our Movie and TV stars and shows used them as very relatable props.   Kids were introduced to them by their parents and everyone else in the world and some even got to enjoy the sensation of pleasure from the Candy that was marketed and sold that looked just like the grown up cigarettes.    They were advertised everywhere kids were as well as their parents.   Smokers were treated with complete equality--they could smoke anywhere and at anytime.  Those who didn't smoke--well they would just have to suck it up.

    America was great then.   People could buy what they wanted and companies could do whatever they wanted to do to promote their goods.   

    When we started to pay a little more attention to the fact that hospitals were filled with coughing people, that our lungs couldn't handle the smoke, and that our relatives, friends, loved ones, and even children were becoming sick and dying because of smoking.

    When America Was Great our government didn't interfere with our right to be sick and didn't do anything to protect the public from itself.     It believe the Cigarette manufacturers that all was fine and they best not interfere.

    Just like the Banking, Financial Companies, Insurance Companies, Oil Companies, Chemical Industry, Pharmaceutical Companies, Coal and Nuclear Energy companies all feel that there are simply too many regulations.  They'd like to get back to a time that "America Was Great" again because all these regulations and standards really get in the way of making a buck and providing shareholder value.


    Well, that's a whole other story!!!!

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