Car Salesmen Should Battle for Free Time
I am curious as to how the advocates of Saturday opening in Detroit "Shopping for Car in Detroit? Not on Weekends" (Jan. 20), would respond if they were forced to forsake their long family weekends and operate under the disgraceful working conditions imposed on automobile sales people in Southern California.
How would you like working seven days a week including nights, Saturdays and Sundays----all without the slightest idea of what the family income would be at the beginning of each month? Does anyone honestly believe that a high-caliber, enlightened young man would accept such personal exploitation in the next decade?
I wish the dealers and sales people of Detroit good luck as they gird for battle against this bureaucratic assault, and reversion to our commercial dark ages.
Alcoholism Isn't the Issue
NBC Chairman Grant Tinker is partially right that banning beer and wine commercials from radio and television ("Tinker Defends TV Beer, Wine Ads," Jan. 10) aren't a "solution of any kind" to the problem of alcoholism . Alcoholism, however, is not the major issue raised by citizen groups endorsing Project SMART (Stop Marketing Alcohol on Radio and Television) and currently pressuring Congress and the President to ban such ads from the broadcast media.
Alcohol-related problems impacting communities and all levels of government and the pressing socioeconomic need to reduce their incidence and prevalence are the targets of SMART. Surely, if Congress and a Republican President in the early 1970s were able to get cigarette advertising off the networks, then they can now respond properly to recent U.S. Surgeon General reports, among others, that Americans in the 15-to-24 age category die mainly from alcohol-related causes of death: accidents, homicide and suicide.
It is understandable that the NBC chairman, who recognizes a tremendous source of income, doesn't want to tinker with society's most common legalized drug (ethyl alcohol). But the SMART campaign to protect the public's health and safety also includes an alternative to pushing booze--provide equal or balanced time for public health and safety messages on the potential hazards of alcohol use, especially by high-risk groups targeted by the alcohol industry.
It goes without saying that no single strategy to control and minimize alcohol-related problems will suffice. Nevertheless, it is high time that policy-makers took a good hard look at an alcoholized society hypocritically attempting to reduce the supply of illegal drugs while at the same time refusing to enact responsible alcoholic-beverage control measures designed to reduce the easy availability, over-consumption and predictable related problems of a potentially addictive drug.
RAY CHAVIRA, Chairman
National Policy Committee,
Americans for Substance Abuse Prevention
Likes Old-Style Phones
Regarding "Not All Phone Users Buy Freedom" (Jan. 21), I'm happy to say that I own three "older," colorful, reliable Ma Bell phones. Rotary style! No "Mickey Mouse" phones for me!
NANCY VALENTINE HOSKINS
U.S. Has a Works Program
In his article, "U.S. Needs to Return to New Deal Principles to End Economic Injustice," (Viewpoint, Jan. 20) Lester Thurow seems to suggest President Reagan should bring back the Work Projects Administration and the Civilian Conservation Corps programs to provide employment.
I'd say the President has already spent great heaps of taxpayer bucks to create a similar program. It's called an expanded defense build-up and it provides salaries ranging from six figures per annum for aerospace executives all the way to survival-level pay, plus free room and board, for recruits in basic or boot training.
Fare Proposals Are Unfair
All of the recent hullabaloo in the airline industry points out one thing: securities analysts should take a course in domestic airfare construction before making their dire predictions. Newly proposed fare changes by American Airlines and its competitors are really not likely to cause a decline in their revenues and certainly not for the reasons set forth.
Low-cost/low-fare airlines such as People Express and Continental have "simple" fare structures characterized by low, unrestricted one-way fares. Other airlines such as American, United, Delta, et al., have "complex" structures marked by much higher unrestricted one-way fares and two types of discounted, restrictive round-trip excursion fares.
As the analysts know, business travelers paying full fares are the meat and potatoes of the airlines, especially those carriers not sporting the label "low-fare." Due to the restrictions, these frequent travelers can rarely use the least discounted fare (seven-day advance purchase; minimum stay over a Saturday night) and never the most discounted fare (14-day advance purchase; seven-day minimum stay).
What would the proposed changes bring? First, a hike in the price of the less-restrictive excursion fare. The few business travelers qualifying for this fare would pay more for the privilege. The more restrictive fare would be eliminated and replaced with a fare far more difficult to obtain for frequent travelers and vacationers alike. It would require a 30-day advance purchase, a Saturday night minimum stay and a 21-day maximum stay. And the kicker is a 25% penalty for cancellation or any reservation changes once the ticket is bought.
If these fares stick, companies will clearly be paying more, not less, to fly their personnel about while some pleasure travelers may get a somewhat better deal, but with frankly onerous conditions. As a former reservations agent for three different airlines, I can say assuredly that it is the rare reservation that remains unchanged. Indeed, the only possible danger I see for the makers of these new fares is vacationers being pushed into the seats of the low-fare airlines by the unreasonable new conditions, particularly the cancellation charge.
In my capacity as a domestic fare analyst for one of the largest U.S. travel agencies, I have seen all manner of ideas, some good (like the frequent flyer programs) and some idiotic (such as the failed effort to black out all discount fares during the Olympic period). The new proposal strikes me as a shrewd measure that would tighten further the full-fare lock on business travelers while providing a low-fare siren song to the leisure market.