Judging from the number of times he's told the story, it must be one of Art Buchwald's favorites. The tale as related by the Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist involves a businessman who, wanting desperately to win the megabucks lottery in his state, got down on his knees and prayed. "God, please let me win the lottery," he implored, offering a number of reasons why he should be so blessed.
When he failed to win the prize money after his initial supplication, the businessman went to his knees a second time, pleading with God to make him the lottery winner. Again failing to reap the lottery reward, the businessman again knelt, and, raising his arms heavenward, begged, "God, please . . ." Then came a voice from above. "Do me a favor! Buy a ticket!"
This year, according to Automotive Information Council (AIC) figures, 20,000 tire, battery and accessory dealers, 24,725 new car dealerships, 180,000 auto repair shops, 70,000 service stations, 2,800 mass merchandisers and 1,500 other retail outlets competed for consumer business in an automotive service and parts industry which reaped $83.2 billion in 1983.
In other words, about 300,000 outlets had, at sometime in the past, "bought tickets" to participate in what has been a growing market. You get the point.
Of that $83.2 billion market in service and parts, tire dealers claimed 21.2%, third behind franchised new car dealerships and auto repair shops. TBA dealers rang up $17.6 billion in 1983, according to AIC figures, their …