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Machinery Pete: Talking ATVs and jobs

Greg "Machinery Pete" Peterson
Machinerypete.com

 Interesting timing.

Last Saturday (May 22nd) I stood at a large farm retirement
auction in southeast Minnesota shooting video of a 2006 model Polaris Ranger
700 twin EFI 6x6 ATV with only six original one owner hours on it as it sold on
the auction.

I was most curious to see not only what this ATV sold for,
but also the whole vibe of the auction crowd in regard to this Polaris ATV.
I've been quantifying sale price data on all types of equipment for 20+ years
now. Here's a piece of equipment for sale, it went for X. Easy. But not as easy
to quantify human emotions and what role they play when it comes to assigning
value.

Two days before the auction last Saturday Polaris announced
they would be closing their parts plant in Osceola, Wisconsin, and moving the
operation to Mexico. More than 500 jobs in the small western Wisconsin
community will be lost. The news was well publicized here in southeast
Minnesota, not far from Osceola, WI.

Hmm, I wonder how this Polaris Ranger 700 ATV will sell on the
auction now?

Turns out very well. $8,500 is what it wound up going for.
Pretty impressive for a four-year old machine, even with only six hours on it.
More interesting to me was observing the huge auction crowd. This Polaris ATV
was clearly the most talked about item on the sale. The crowd jammed in around
the ATV as Todd Houghton's auction truck rolled into position.

I heard no one, repeat, no one, talking about job layoffs.

All I heard was: "what will it sell for?"
"what's a new one cost?" and "have you seen one that nice?"

I've always thought that Polaris ATV's had strong resale
value. I've got approximately 300 auction sale prices on Polaris ATVs in our
Machinerypete.com website today, more on Polaris snowmobiles in our

"Miscellaneous" category. $8,500 for the 2006
Ranger 700 6x6 with six hours last Saturday is just more proof. Click on the
link below to view auction prices I've compiled on Polaris ATVs:

I'm 44 years old. When I stop to think about how much has
changed in the last 20-30 years I'm amazed. Like it or not, it's a global world
and we're living in it. Jobs have been shipped out of the country, overseas and
all over the world. Got a question on your cable bill or your credit card
statement? Call that 800 number and the person you talk with is probably in
India.

Nothing against India, China, Mexico or any other country.
In fact, hats off to hard working folks there for coming up with new business
options and solutions. The drive to produce goods and services more cheaply is
never ending. I understand the business end. Sales and profits are down. Costs
need to be shaved.

But still.

Every time I read about corporate layoffs and job shifts to
other countries I wonder if there isn't a different path available, one not
dictated by Wall Street. A way forward that places more emphasis on employees
and the true value they represent to any business. Makes me think of this
letter to the Editor in the Minneapolis Star Tribune last month from Marvin
Windows and Doors President Susan Marvin, the different path forward I'm
talking about:

"Polaris is working to try and help its 500-plus
employees at the parts plant in Osceola, WI. Some jobs may shift to other
plants here in the U.S., in Spirit Lake, Iowa and also in Roseau, Minnesota.
There are also efforts to try and sell parts of the Osceola operation to
suppliers, which could then keep a good number of jobs at the Osceola
plant."

Here's hoping those efforts are successful.

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