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FOOTNOTES / JAMES BATES

A Term With a Ring to It

April 19, 1993|JAMES BATES

The latest business cliche ringing in everyone's ears: the wake-up call.

Intel's decision to locate a plant in New Mexico is being called a wake-up call to California.

Likewise, Hughes Aircraft's decision to move 1,900 engineering jobs to Arizona is a wake-up call to the California Legislature, Assembly Speaker Willie Brown and Gov. Pete Wilson to act fast to improve the business climate.

Since the beginning of the year alone, the popular press has listed more than 500 references to wake-up calls of one kind or another.

Others being awakened include the telecommunications industry, Connecticut, Los Angeles, the Baby Bells, aerospace, the food industry, gasoline users, Canada, banks, big-city mayors, the advertising business, American business, corporate America, the nation, Europe, journalists, the auto industry and the Boston Red Sox.

Shot in the Arm

In the three months since he's been in office, the evidence is growing that President Clinton has already helped the California economy by inspiring some new ventures.

One of the first was the Seal Beach-based "Slick Willie Wire," which promotes itself as "the only newsletter that hopes to be out of business in four years."

In Beverly Hills, a company has started selling through the mail a calendar counting down the remaining days in Clinton's term.

In fairness, not every new venture reflects badly on Clinton. Newly formed in Stanford, Calif., is the "George Stephanopoulos Fan Club" honoring the President's youthful communications guru.

An Everyday Situation

Here's further evidence supporting the theory that America's survey and polling industry is out of control.

Trends Research Institute in New York asked 850 people about one of those dilemmas we all face now and then: "If you were involved in the bombing of the World Trade Center, would you go back to a truck-rental agency for a $400 deposit?"

Not surprisingly, just 2% said they would follow the example of suspect Mohammed Salameh, who went to get his deposit for the van that was blown to bits in the February explosion.

Some 97% said they wouldn't do it, with 1% unsure. In addition, 91% of the respondents said no amount of money could tempt them to return for the deposit.

But 6% said they would return for the deposit if it totaled at least $1 million, according to the institute.

Briefly . . .

A "Futon Expo" is scheduled in San Diego later this month. . . . Making the rounds is a phony gift certificate "good for one visit" to the office of "suicide doctor" Jack Kevorkian. . . . Team Marketing Report newsletter reports the average ticket price this year is $9.15 for the Dodgers and $8.02 for the Angels, both below the $9.57 average for Major League Baseball. . . . A Chicago author who writes on how to get organized is promoting April 30 as "Clean Out Your Files Day."

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